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Clam chowder

The cornerstone of Christmas Eve dinner at our house for more than 40 years, my creamy clam chowder has survived many experiments and diet plans. Whether you go for the high octane version with sourdough bread bowl, or the Keto option, this cozy delight gets us all ready for a cold ride to church. Sometimes we save the strawberry shortcake for after, sometimes not.

Keys to greatness: The bacon base, the herbal accents, and just the right thickening for that great–not too thin and not too thick–texture that everybody likes.

Keto Option: Our clam chowder is a great Keto deal from the get-go since we use bacon and heavy whipping cream and add butter for even more richness and fat. But since potatoes and wheat flour are Keto no-no’s, another solution had to be found to thicken the chowder.

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Enough food?

Back in the 1970’s, a Department of Agriculture scientist told me that food science was so advanced that there would no longer be a problem raising enough food to feed the world. There was one valley in Peru that could grow enough peas to meet the whole world’s demand. There were optimal climates and conditions for other crops around the world. There was every reason why enough food could be grown as long as people worked together to grow the right food in the right places. He was an idealist.

But it’s not just about agriculture, is it? It’s also about distribution, economics, climate change, and of course, politics.

Now, we’re well into the 21st Century. The latest UN Report (video) on climate change and world food is fair warning that many will die and go hungry because of climate change. Large areas of the world are becoming deserts.

There’s lot that anyone can do to impact world food supplies: supporting sustainable agriculture at home—like in your backyard, getting involved in a climate change movement, helping organizations that provide food for hungry people—at the local food bank or in desertified regions, and so much more.

Add a food-related cause to your personal portfolio of good deeds—or go all-in about food. The planet will appreciate it.

Here at DRB, as we become more aware of the big picture about food, we try to strike a balance between celebrating home cooking, eating well and eating healthy, sustainable agriculture, and the complicated issues that keep so many people from getting the food they need for life. We hope you are getting a balanced diet of information about food and our world.

Bread, glorious bread

A tough topic for a Keto fan. What do I do about bread made from wheat flour—with all those carbs? Bread in all its forms is so basic, so universal, so loved. And the bread we know best is made from wheat flour. High in carbs and protein. The must-have food for probably every culture throughout history. Leavened or unleavened. Flat or raised. Three ingredients or many. But if you eat the typical American diet, you’re eating way too many carbs and carrying way too much weight. Ketoistas are going to have to do without the bread we love or find a palatable substitute for wheat-flour bread. What to do? Let’s start here with some background and a global perspective. Here’s a bread primer from The New Yorker:

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Egg McDad

Nearly went out to my local coffee shop for one of their breakfast sandwiches (a commuting standby when I was going into the office every day) when I realized I could make one at home. Using a leftover sausage patty, a fried egg, and a slice of American cheese, I came away a couple bucks better off and very satisfied with my solution.

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Grandma’s Irish soda bread

My Irish grandmother, Annie Allen, arrived at Ellis Island in 1909, a twenty-one-year-old with two little boys, four and two, in tow. I can’t imagine. She joined her husband, who’d come ahead two years earlier and had never met his son Sam. Grandma set up house, had two more kids, and lived a long life in her own home, cooking, baking, and tending her garden until she passed in her late 80’s. As a young lad, I enjoyed her “Irish Cake” sitting with her for tea, a ritual she held to every afternoon around four whether I was there or not. Grandma’s Irish Cake is a variety of Irish soda bread, loved by many. We never captured her exact recipe, which I can be sure, came straight from County Down, where Grandma probably learned it from her mother, Mary Anne McKee.

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