Homogenized Shomogenized?

“HEY, YOU GUYS!” I shout Rita Moreno style above the clanking bottles at the bottom of my sagging grocery bag. “Chocolate milk from Twin Brook Creamery!”

The quaint glass pints with the image of Bessy reminded me of a simpler time when friendly milk men delivered wholesome milk that kids gulped straight from the quart.

A time before a host of funky chemicals necessitated scouring labels for words like GMO’s, Rbst, high fructose corn syrup, saccharin and search for assurances from purveyors like Twin Brook Creamery that their cows were happy, healthy and roaming free.

Twin Brook Creamery is a local, dairy farm that offers chocolate, regular white milk and cream — it’s available at limited locations that aren’t convenient for me to visit with my four kids on a regular basis. So when I do I stock up.

The kids herd into the kitchen and it isn’t long before rich chocolate milk clings to their upper lips like outlaw moo-staches from a spaghetti western.

“Mom, how come you never buy the white milk?” My eldest daughter Sophie asked.

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Running on the wild Cedar River with sockeye salmon

Sophie Ossorio, left, and her mom Carolyn get a chance to check out a big sockeye salmon at the weir next to the Renton Community Center. — Image Credit: Carolyn Ossorio
Sophie Ossorio, left, and her mom Carolyn get a chance to check out a big sockeye salmon at the weir next to the Renton Community Center. — Image Credit: Carolyn Ossorio

 

“We’re here to meet Paul Faulds for a tour of the new salmon hatchery,” I yelled into the faceless intercom. Rain drizzled onto my sleeve.

Somehow we had followed a winding gravel road that led us into a cell phone dead zone, without people, nothing but trees and wilderness. It felt like we were marooned in an episode of “Lost.”

“Hold a minute.” A voice said through the intercom decorated with only one red button.

“Kids, this is the last of our food supply,” I said, passing five equal shares of a Nature Valley granola bar.  I noted the irony that the idea of being stranded had instantly made us all hungry despite a big breakfast.

“Don’t worry, Mom.”  Sophie said, popping the last bits of granola into her mouth.  “I read about a lady who wandered off a trail, broke her leg and survived for four days eating banana slugs.”

I was relieved when Paul, the Landsburg mitigation manager, pulled up in his white truck, sliding his key card through the checkpoint.

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Chewing the Fat With Chef Tom Douglas

The kids and I chop the potent onion and garlic we picked up at the local Farmer’s Market.

There is definitely a difference between mass produced and local produce — like wild from tame. The cilantro was jalapeno green, wet and damply alive like flora in a rainforest.

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The fresh garlic looks prehistoric and nothing like its plastic jugged cousins of pre-peeled bulbs available at Costco. The husk surrounding the garlic cloves has a purple hue with little bits of dirt still clinging to the tendrils.

I watch my daughter, Sophie strip the seeds from her pile of poblano chiles. She’s 10 years old and a budding culinary master.

Today we were on another culinary adventure or what we like to call our “food experiments” – -in homage to Albert Einstein’s famed “thought experiments” of which E=MC2 was the result.

The E=MC2 of today’s “food experiment” is Chef Tom Douglas Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with grilled chicken skewers.

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Kids and Native American Art

“Mommy, I’m hungr—“ Patrick’s cry for ice cream was cut short by the slow, steady drum beat. Seagulls circle around Pier 57 in downtown Seattle.

Patrick scoots down on his knees transfixed. I watch my 4-year-old boy squirm his body toward the steel barrier trying to get his neck between the bars for a closer view of a Native American man in ceremonial dress.

A native vocal undulates like a bird taking flight and my head starts nodding in time with the slow, even drum beat.

“Mommy, I want to climb up on your neck so I can see better!” 7-year-old Amelia paws at my clothes.

A half-man, half bird rattles the head of a raven high in his right hand. His back is adorned with a fan of feathers and two raven feet. A red weasel pelt dangles down his soft honey colored leather pants. As he dances he brandishes a wing of feathers that he waves toward the crowd and up to the sky. The overall effect is mesmerizing and the crowd stands at attention.

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Grabbing hold of ‘real world’ in downtown Renton

LEFT PHOTO: Sophie Ossorio, at right, lent a helping hand to Sachin Ajith, left, and David Israel at POP! in downtown Renton. RIGHT PHOTO: Amelia Ossorio, at right, spent a recent Saturday with owner Mary Clymer, learning all about happy delusions.— Image Credit: Carolyn Ossorio
LEFT PHOTO: Sophie Ossorio, at right, lent a helping hand to Sachin Ajith, left, and David Israel at POP! in downtown Renton. RIGHT PHOTO: Amelia Ossorio, at right, spent a recent Saturday with owner Mary Clymer, learning all about happy delusions.— Image Credit: Carolyn Ossorio

 

“Good luck,” I say, flashing Sophie a thumbs up.

As a parent, there are milestones you prepare for — the first day of pre-school or teaching your kiddo how to ride a bike without training wheels.  And then you have to just let go (gulp) and hope for the best.

But her first job interview . . . at 11?

It wasn’t exactly a job interview. She was going into POP! for a continuation of a “real world” learning lesson — one begun at the Springbrook Trout Farm.

Maybe you remember the article I wrote at the beginning of summer about fun things to do with your kids in Renton?

After meeting Bill Briere, the owner of the Springbrook Trout Farm, my mom got a part-time summer job.  A fringe benefit of working there was the kids got to hang out and visit grandma, learn how to catch and gut fish like aficionados.

“We got tipped!” Sophie and Amelia galloped into the car, jubilantly waving two crumpled dollar bills.

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