Sunday, September 21, 2008

On the air

Today I made my debut as a host for The Yiddish Hour, a radio show broadcast on KBOO 90.7FM, our local community radio station. I didn't mention it beforehand because I was kinda nervous and didn't really want anyone to listen, in case I totally messed up (at KBOO the music program hosts are also engineering the show, so I'm responsible for all the technical stuff as well as the program content).

The Yiddish Hour is hosted by a revolving crew of folks. It was begun 30 years ago by Jack and Reva Falk, along with some other folks, and it's been on the air every Sunday morning at 10 am ever since. Despite its name, the show is not Yiddish-centric; we play anything connected to Jewish music, be it Ashkenazic, Sephardic or whatever. We also do interviews with local folks in the Jewish community, and sometimes read recipes connected to certain holidays (hamentaschen for Purim, for example). We tend to avoid politics and concentrate on culture.

I'm a professionally trained singer and I taught music to groups of kids and adults for 12 years, so being "on" isn't really issue for me, nor is talking into a mike. Hosting a radio show is just another kind of performance. I was more worried that I'd have technical issues with the equipment, since this is all new to me and there's a lot to remember. However, it seems I did fine, two small glitches notwithstanding. The few people I did tell about it said I sounded good, which is always nice to hear. And now I've been bit by the radio bug and am really looking forward to my next show, which will be in two weeks, Sunday, Oct. 5. Interested listeners can tune in locally at 90.7 FM, and you non-Portlanders can listen live online by going to
KBOO's Web site (for reasons of copyright, we cannot podcast our show; you have to listen to it live).

If you can tune in on Oct. 5, I'd love to hear from you. And if you can't, hope you can tune in some other Sunday. I'll try to remember to post when I'll be on next, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ruminations on food, Part 1

Since I write for a living, I find it hard sometimes to make the time and mental energy to keep up my blog posts, but that doesn't keep my mind from percolating away. For some time now I've been meaning to post about my interest in food. In response to queries from several friends and acquaintances, here are some thoughts about why I'm focusing on food instead of music as I look for full-time work.

Note that in the last paragraph I didn't say "new-found interest." Food is something that has dominated my thoughts for as long as I can remember, in both positive and negative ways. But perhaps it seems odd that a professional music nerd should be making a career switch to a field so unrelated as food sustainability and food security. I don't think there's any real connection between music and food, other than my interest in both, and this is not an attempt to find one. It's just some thoughts I've been ruminating on regarding my 40-year relationship with food.

Like most women, I have struggled with negative body image issues since I was a child. Over time I've come to understand the factors that went into my warped sense of physical self. I won't bore you (or me, for that matter) with an exhaustive exploration, though. Suffice it to say that I grew up brunette, smart and not anorexically thin in southern California. Not being blond, skinny and vapidly stupid was a negative, as I saw it, until I hit my teens and realized there were better things to aspire to.

The most indelible memories I have of food as a child centered on my mother's well-intentioned but totally misguided decision to take me to a nutritionist when I was nine. I was chubby, not obese, and miserable, and she thought I'd feel better about myself if I "took control" of my eating habits. This was a time when people were made to feel guilty and ashamed of their weight, as if it was some kind of moral failure to be larger than normal. And of course in sunny SoCal, "normal" was a pretty skewed concept. Anyway, I was under strict instructions to weigh and measure everything I ate with a food scale and keep a food journal. You can imagine how this went down for a nine-year-old. Nuf ced.

More later.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Now we're cooking with gas

This weekend marked the fifth anniversary of our moving into our house, and to celebrate, we did something I've been wanting to do since before we moved in. We replaced the stove/oven. For those of you who haven't seen our kitchen, it's a 1950s nightmare with drop ceilings, fluorescent lighting, horrible yellow laminated counters with little sparkles all over them, and a stove/oven that was really something to behold. Here's what I mean:

The burners pulled out, like a Murphy bed, and everything worked, but still, it was pretty grim cooking with this monster, particularly anything that required subtle changes of temperature.

Someday we'll remodel the whole thing, but that's a huge project that is beyond us at present.

Our dear friends A and E remodeled their kitchen recently and generously donated their old stove to us, and we were happy to have it. We had B, Beth's wicked stepqueen, store it for us for awhile til we had the money to install it, and now it's here, in the kitchen, and I cooked our first meal on it last night. Check it out:

And what did we have? Sauteed zucchini from our garden with chicken basil sausage, fresh sweet corn from the farmer's market and fresh blackberries and ice cream for dessert. Delicious. I'm really looking forward to cooking something amazing, and cooking for Passover next year will be such a joy. I'm just a domestic goddess at heart, I guess.

Thanks to A and E for making my gas stove dream come true, to D for installing it and B for storing it all those months and to S and R for helping us move it back and forth. We couldn't have done this without you. Oh, and also to pal Marty who's throwing me enough work to enable us to afford this adventure. Bless you all.

I am still mulling over my thoughts about food. Stay tuned.