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Hat tip to Marion Nestle whose blog alerted us to this piece by Marissa Guggiana (President of Sonoma Direct Meats) in the Spring 2010 issue of edible Marin & Wine Country.


Now, slaughtering animals might not be considered polite dinner conversation, but perhaps it should be. The fact of the matter is that finding affordable, humane, environmentally friendly, and regulation-compliant ways for small or local farmers to be able to kill and process their animals for consumption is a huge problem. According to Ms. Guggiana, the lack of local slaughtering options in Northern California is at a crisis point.


This is important because animals deserve to be treated humanely.
This is important because local food is not quite as local if it has to be shipped many miles for processing.
This is important because shipping animals and resulting products many miles to large processors can decrease quality and increase risk of contamination.
This is important because without reasonable options for processing, local meat industries will collapse.


So, what can you do? First, you can support your local farmers. Buy from them. Talk to them. Ask them about the main challenges that their businesses face. Second, the article invites you to contact the folks involved in these efforts at: or Tell them you want to help in some way. Tell them Dan’s Plan sent you.


In honor of Memorial Day weekend, during which a lot of BBQ is thrown down, we present to you a link to some BBQ recipes and a piece from NPR’s series,“I believe.” Enjoy!


I believe in barbecue. As soul food and comfort food and health food, as a cuisine of both solace and celebration. When I’m feeling good, I want barbecue. And when I’m feeling bad, I just want barbecue more. I believe in barbecue in all its regional derivations, in its ethnic translations, in forms that range from white-tablecloth presentations of cunningly sauced costillas, to Chinese take-out spareribs that stain your fingers red, to the most authentic product of the tarpaper rib shacks of the Deep South. I believe that like sunshine and great sex, no day is bad that has barbecue in it.


I believe in the art of generations of pit men working in relative obscurity to keep alive the craft of slow smoking as it’s been practiced for as long as there’s been fire. A barbecue cook must have an intimate understanding of his work: the physics of fire and convection, the hard science of meat and heat and smoke — and then forget it all to achieve a sort of gut-level, Zen instinct for the process.


I believe that barbecue drives culture, not the other way around. Some of the first blows struck for equality and civil rights in the Deep South were made not in the courtrooms or schools or on buses, but in the barbecue shacks. There were dining rooms, backyards and roadhouse juke joints in the South that were integrated long before any other public places.


I believe that good barbecue requires no decor, and that the best barbecue exists despite its trappings. Paper plates are okay in a barbecue joint. And paper napkins. And plastic silverware. And I believe that any place with a menu longer than can fit on a single page — or better yet, just a chalkboard — is coming dangerously close to putting on airs.


I believe that good barbecue needs sides the way good blues need rhythm, and that there is only one rule: Serve whatever you like, but whatever you serve, make it fresh. Have someone’s mama in the back doing the “taters” and hush puppies and sweet tea, because Mama will know what she’s doing — or at least know better than some assembly-line worker bagging up powdered mashed potatoes by the ton.


I believe that proper barbecue ought to come in significant portions. Skinny people can eat barbecue, and do, but the kitchen should cook for a fat man who hasn’t eaten since breakfast. My leftovers should last for days.


I believe that if you don’t get sauce under your nails when you’re eating, you’re doing it wrong. I believe that if you don’t ruin your shirt, you’re not trying hard enough.


I believe — I know — there is no such thing as too much barbecue. Good, bad or in-between, old-fashioned pit-smoked or high-tech and modern; it doesn’t matter. Existing without gimmickry, without the infernal swindles and capering of so much of contemporary cuisine, barbecue is truth; it is history and home, and the only thing I don’t believe is that I’ll ever get enough.


Jason Sheehan – James Beard Award-winning restaurant critic

How to BBQ from Fine Cooking

Worth is NOT defined by weight

It is unfortunate that our society seems to value individuals who are lean and strong over those who are overweight. In the media, “heros” are typically depicted with a physique that appears to represent great physical prowess. On the other hand, overweight individuals are often cast or stereotyped as “jolly” or “sassy” characters who serve as comic relief but rarely, if ever, play the role of the hero. In addition, it seems that public ridicule of the overweight is still widely acceptable. For example, in the TV show “Lost”, the character Sawyer constantly made fun of the obese character, Hurly, with an endless string of weight-related nicknames including: Avalanche, Babar, Deep Dish, Hoss, International House of Pancakes, Jabba and JumboTron. Despite Hurleys protests, Sawyer continued his jests throughout the show, which corresponds with a recent study that showed that being obese attracts bullies.


At Dan’s Plan, we help people achieve their ideal weight, which is different than thinking that everyone should try to achieve an “ideal.” To us, your “ideal weight” is a the weight where you feel your best; you feel efficient and lean, but strong and hearty. This is a weight that is in, or close to, the normal classification for your height according to Body Mass Index (BMI) standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), which means you have your lowest incidence of body weight related health risks (e.g., diseases, disorders, co-morbid conditions, etc); in other words, you’re more likely to have less health issues than when compared to people who are underweight or overweight. However, weight doesn’t necessarily equal health but it is a useful health maker, it’s easy to measure, and many people care about it.


In our collective experience, we have worked directly with overweight individuals who are incredibly inspiring heroes and leaders. We don’t think that everyone who has a body weight above “normal” needs to lose weight. This is a personal decision for an individual and we want to help people achieve this goal, if they chose to pursue it.

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