• Rants
  • 21 Consumer Products You Can (Likely) Live Without

    I haven’t written a rant for some time… I was slow to see the hit show Mad Men. I found it difficult to watch a bunch of white, sexist, racist, entitled, whiskey-swilling, chain-smoking, philandering men develop ad campaigns to sell Americans things they didn’t need. But then again, I think that was the point—to shine […]

  • Rants
  • Amazon Gah!

    Like most people who work in publishing, I am not an Amazon fan. I understand the lure of inexpensive books. But that low cost comes at a high price. Amazon sells books close to or below cost in order to attract buyers, collect data on them—the real prize—and then sell them everything else. Publishers get […]

  • Rants
  • How to Scale Back During the Holidays


    Some might say I go too far. When compared to the average consumer, I may seen downright nutty. But I believe that decades ago—before mass consumer culture kicked in—I would have seemed fairly normal. Well, let’s say normal as far as my consumption patterns go… As I have said many times, I’m not extreme, our […]

  • Rants
  • 14 Benefits of Cooking


    Yes, cooking requires time. But I’m not advocating a five-course meal every night. Dinner can be very simple: rice and beans with a side salad; a quick stir-fry; revamped leftovers. I don’t cook anything very elaborate. I simply try to eat a healthy diet—one devoid of processed food. (Read this post for 18 time-saving tips […]

  • Fermentation
  • Raid Your Kitchen to Clean Your Bathroom

    scrap vinegar brewing

    “Raid” is a bit of an exaggeration… I recently gave a workshop at the Menlo Park library on fermentation. I love facilitating workshops. The audience is so enthusiastic to learn about zero-waste cooking, fermenting, sourdough baking, produce bag sewing and so on. I thought homemade cleaners might make another great workshop but quickly realized it would last […]

  • Rants
  • How to Respond to Zero-Waste Naysayers


    Perhaps you’ve taken the Plastic Free July challenge. You’ve banned plastic wrap in your home, started carrying your reusable water bottle everywhere and maybe you’ve learned how to make yogurt. You feel very excited about your progress (as you should)! Then your friends and family criticize you and burst your bubble. Sound familiar? “You don’t make a […]

  • Rants
  • Food Politics and the English Language


    With apologies to George Orwell… I work at an English factory (a small publisher) and in my past wayward life, wrote marketing copy on the side. So I know how powerful language can be—powerful enough to entice you to part with your hard-earned cash to buy things you don’t actually need and that might actually […]

  • Rants
  • Everyone Has to Pay the Mortgage…


    …or the exorbitant rent here in the Wild West of gentrification (Silicon Valley), where rent control is as rare as a 45-year old woman with graying hair working in tech. And so I am thinking about changing my site to self-hosted one in order to—among other benefits—add affiliate banner ads to online stores that carry products I […]

  • Rants
  • My Zero-Waste World: The TMI Post


    In recent interviews, people have asked me if I follow zero-waste practices in aspects of my life other than food. The short answer: Yes but besides food, what else is there? The long answer follows. Food I’ve got this one covered in the 145+ posts on this blog. Essentially, to go zero-waste in the kitchen: […]

  • Rants
  • Pictures at an Aquarium (or Why I Went Plastic-Free)

    Monterey Bay

    Last week during spring break, my daughters, a friend and I headed down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. My journey to plastic-free living, followed by zero-waste living (basically the same thing) began with my concern over the plastic pollution choking our oceans and its inhabitants. I decided I had to get plastic out of my life. […]