Beet Read: The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry

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Written by Rachel Clark
In the best tradition of cozy, armchair cooking memoir, The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn taps culinary gold. Part diary, part travelogue, part love story—all marinating in the thick, heady fumes of the Cordon Bleu cooking school — this book might send you off to Paris. Or at least off to pour another cup of steaming hot cider as you nestle down under your blanket, all cozied up with this wonderful memoir.
Now that the gardens are put to bed, and the days are shortening, it’s the perfect time for the kind of book that tempts you with dreams. Flinn was a corporate workhouse for many years…she was, that is, until she lost her job. When a new friend asked her, “What do you really want to do with your life?” her answer was almost immediate: “Move to Paris and attend the Cordon Bleu cooking school.” Except she knew almost no French, and she’d hardly cooked in her life. But she allowed the possibility of the dream, inquired into how one applies to the school, and before she knew it, she was slaving under a fierce French chef — “The Gray Chef” she nicknamed him, for his  tempestuous moods — attempting to endure his anger when he shouts her down after tasting her overly sweet sauce: “You’re wasting your time!”
A popular and delightful memoir that some have compared to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love — but more mature, wise, and well-crafted — The Sharper Your Knife is the perfect book to cozy up with this November. Please join us to discuss The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry (Viking Books 2006) by Kathleen Flinn on Sunday, November 30 from 6:00-7:30 pm. Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. The Sharper Your Knife by Kathleen Flinn is available through your local library.  If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used book stores or visit Book People of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the MFC website at www.moscowfood.coop.

The Beet Box is One!

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A year ago we set out on this journey to create a blog for our Co-op. We wanted to share recipes, tips for living a greener life, recommend books and teach you about our local producers- the lifeline of our community. Whether you’ve followed along from the beginning or are just finding us now, thank you! We appreciate the feedback we’ve gotten, we love hearing when you make something from our blog and we hope to continue doing so. Please let us know what things you’d like to see featured here as this project belongs just as much our community as it does our store. And now on to stuff our mouths with (organic) cupcakes…

Here are a few favorites from the past year:

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Clockwise from the top left:
Heirloom Tomato Flatbread
Coconut Flour Pancakes
Meet the Makers: Orchard Farm Soaps
Easy Fridge Pickles

What’s been your favorite post from the Beet Box?

Meet the Makers: Julene Ewert

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“You’re pretty much all whimsical,” Ian (9) says to his mom, Julene, when she’s asked to describe her work in a few words. Her brightly colored paintings line the mantle in her studio and it’s clear to see that Ian is correct. A circus themed mixed-media creation is one of Julene’s favorites. She uses vintage ephemera collected  from thrift shops and books from the recycling center as a background for a lot of her work, taking nostalgic pieces and reviving them in collages. This particular piece of work uses maps and pages from an old accounting ledger.

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With roots in Troy, ID, Julene thinks the Palouse is a great place to run her business. “There is great energy here and it’s a really supportive place for artists.” Julene has been in the design field for over 20 years. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at University of Idaho with a dream to work for Hallmark.  She began her design and advertising career in Colorado where she created ads, billboards and book covers. And when she eventually made her way back to the Palouse in 1998, she began working with local clients who she still designs for today. Locally she works with the Palouse Choral Society and the Hemingway Review, among others and lends her talents to teaching classes at Rendezvous for Kids, the Troy Public Library and Moscow Day school for kids and adults, alike.

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When it comes to her process for creating, Julene is dedicated to sketching (almost) every morning. It’s during this time that she can create characters, flesh out ideas and clear her head. She said she sometimes has a plan for what she’s going to create, but other times lets the colors and vintage paper items lead the way. Julene says that she’s inspired by “the things that make you happy as a kid” and that her son, Ian is the biggest inspiration.

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She’s been making greeting cards since 1993 with materials like ribbons, paint, paper and metal and translated that into bigger paintings and drawings. She now has a representative who takes her cards across the globe, which has given her access to sell in places like Nieman Marcus and Harrod’s department store in London. Her brightly colored designs have remained true to her heart over the years she has most recently been picked up commercially by Pier One, Home Goods and World Market and will hopefully have items available for purchase this holiday season. Julene has been guided by the quote, “She believed she could, so she did,” and clearly the belief in herself has lead to all her success.

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Julene is also an inspiration herself. Her son, Ian is following in his mom’s footsteps and has begun an art business of his own called Tiny Treehouse Art. He makes collages and abstract paintings, as well and shares a booth with Julene at the Moscow Farmers Market. You can find Julene’s cards here at the Co-op, as well as other shops and departments stores around the country, and she let us know that one of her next big projects is creating a children’s book with an author from Troy. To learn more about Julene and he work click here.

Food for Thought Film: Blackfish

This month the Co-op is partnering with the University of Idaho Department of Fish & Wildlife Sciences to present the award winning film Blackfish. Blackfish is a 2013 documentary directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in January 2013, and was later picked up by Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films. The documentary focuses on the captivity of Tilikum, an orca involved in the deaths of three individuals, and the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity. The film includes shocking footage and emotional interviews that examine orcas’ unique personalities and behaviors, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the impacts of sea parks that capitalize on training marine wildlife to perform for audiences.

We are pleased to announce that several former SeaWorld trainers from the film will be attending our screening and hosting a question and answer session immediately following the movie. Although this will be an open forum, there will be a focus on the impacts of the film and how viewers can get involved if they’re interested. Discussion will continue the following day with events taking place on the University of Idaho campus.

Blackfish will be shown on Thursday October 16th at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center with doors opening at 6:30 PM. Screening is FREE!

UI Events open to the public Friday, October 17th:

• Panel Discussion & Workshop w/ former SeaWorld Trainers 9:30 – 11:30 AM in the UI Law School Courtroom

• Research seminar “Emerging Science on the Effects of Captivity on Orcas” with Dr.s Jeff Ventre and John Jett, at Fish & Wildlife Sciences from 12:30 – 1:30 PM

5 Spot: What Makes a Co-op A Co-op?

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By Sarah Quallen, Co-op Volunteer Writer

Since, according to my five-year-old son, the Moscow Food Co-op is my favorite place to go and my favorite thing to do is to go to the Moscow Food Co-op (they’re two different things, I swear), I frequently get asked: What, exactly, is a co-op? Well…

1. A co-op is a business. It sells foods and goods, and it is not a not-for-profit (did you notice that double negative?) So. A co-op is usually incorporated, and does make a profit.

2. But a co-op exists for the benefit of its members, and many co-ops are community driven and support local charitable and social organizations. A good example at the Moscow Food Co-op is “A Dime in Time,” which donates your bag refund money, should you choose to give, to a new organization every month.

3. Co-op owners are co-op members. If you belong to a co-op, then you are an owner who has the right to vote for board members, who then vote on policies and business decisions like hiring management.

4. Unlike business investors who invest to make a profit, people who invest in or begin a co-op do so through a shared need to get services or products they were unable to get elsewhere. And, since members are owners, there are financial rewards as well. At Moscow Food Co-op, members get a 10 percent discount on case purchases and receive discounts on items throughout the store during regularly-scheduled “member days.” At the end of the year members often earn dividends.

5. Most co-ops choose to comply with seven basic principles as a guideline for structure, according to Co-op, Stronger Together’s website. These principles are: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; economic member participation; autonomy and independence; education, training, and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community. One can see with ease that the Moscow Food Co-op successfully follows all of these principles.

The next time someone asks me, “What is a co-op?” I can answer them with aplomb! Now, so can you.

5-Spot: Things That Make the Co-op Unique

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Written by Sarah Quallen, Co-op Volunteer Writer

 Moscow’s a pretty special place: it has a low crime rate, there are a ton of activities to do in the area, Moscow-ites are bound to run into a familiar face – or four – wherever they go, and, of course, there is the Moscow Food Co-op. The Co-op has its own appeal, and much of it has to do with what it does differently than other grocery stores and co-ops.

 1. Compost. Yup, the Moscow Food Co-op composts. While a lot of businesses recycle, composting has yet to take off in the business world.

 2. The size of our co-op is impressive, especially relative to the size of the town. Because of its considerable available space, the Moscow Food Co-op is a full-service grocer, deli, and bakery. It has a selection that’s difficult to beat, which is particularly useful if one has special dietary needs.

 3. Yes, the Farmer’s Market is fab, but our local farmers can use every opportunity to make their produce available to consumers, which is why the Tuesday’s Grower’s Market is such a wonderful component to the Moscow Food Co-ops offerings. This is not competition, it is what a co-op is all about: working together to bring local business to local businesses.

4. Co-op Kids. Mama’s and Papa’s. Wine Tasting. Cooking Classes. The Moscow Food Co-op’s “clubs” or activities contribute to its uniqueness. It is not merely a place to shop, but a place to meet people, a place to socialize, and a place to learn. Which brings me to the best “unique” part of the Moscow Food Co-op:

 5. Its Community. We are what makes the co-op unique. We contribute our voices, our personalities, our desires, and our education to a community of people that help others, that respect differences, and that just plain ol’ enjoy life in a small town – and we tend to do it all at the Moscow Food Co-op.

Meet the Makers: Mountain Blue Eye Jewelry

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About ten years ago, Stacy Boe-Miller began channeling the creative energy that’s always been inside her. She had been making jewelry as an outlet, but when people other than her family members started commenting about how much they liked her work, she thought she might be on to something. While on a hike with her husband, Brant and their oldest son, Noah, now 13, she was inspired by the mountain blue-eye grass in the wild, and with a bright set of blue eyes of her own, the name of her business was born.

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With three children, Noah, Juan and Ruby, making jewelry has allowed for both the creativity she craves and the flexibility she needs. And after moving to Moscow in 2011, Stacy has realized this is a great place for local artists. “Moscow is an amazing place to be an artist– it’s such a supportive community.” With the support of her family, especially her sister Daleen who is a woodworker, and her friends in the community, Stacy has been able to watch her line of jewelry grow and learn new skills along the way.

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In a day and a half Stacy and her sister learned soldering skills from Frank Finley at the Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, MT. She had purchased books and watched videos before, but it was the hands-on learning that really made a difference. Stacy says, “Learning to solder and take a plain sheet of metal and turn it into jewelry that someone will wear is so satisfying. It gives me the confidence to call myself a jewelry artist.” While it can be difficult to purchase supplies locally, Stacy gets beads from Lapwai when possible and also supports other small businesses on Etsy- an online marketplace for handmade goods. Since she has an Etsy shop of her own, she knows that you’re more likely to get better customer service and find what you’re really looking for with smaller shops.

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Besides the Co-op, you can find Mountain Blue  Eye Jewelry at Blackbird at the Depot in Potlatch, BookPeople and the Prichard Art Gallery in Moscow and a couple shops in South Dakota and Wyoming. And you can look for Stacy next summer at the Moscow Farmers Market where she hopes to share a booth with her sister. Stacy says that seeing strangers wear her jewelry is so satisfying and that if you love what you do and you happen to make money while doing it, then you’re really lucky. Her husband always asks, “Is this your bliss?”, and for Stacy, she says it truly is.

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Keep your eyes peeled for new pieces from Mountain Blue Eye in the Co-op and if you’re interested in custom jewelry, Stacy can be reached at mountainblueeye@gmail.com.

Food For Thought Film Series: FED UP!

For our September screening of the Food for Thought Film Series, we will be showing the popular new film, Fed Up!

Fed Up, an official selection for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, is an eye-opening documentary that serves up some hard-to-swallow news: “In 2010, two out of every three Americans were either overweight or obese,” and it is believed that “generations of kids will now live shorter lives than their parents.”

 Filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and TV journalist Katie Couric lead us through an examination of obesity in America. They discuss how processed food remains cheap and accessible; school nutrition budgets have been slashed while fast food is served in many U.S. schools, and the remarkable amount of sugar being added to most products including those labeled “low fat” or “fat free”. The film also personalizes the problem by introducing us to real people and the frustration and failure many of them are experiencing. University of Idaho dietician, Marissa Rudley, will be in attendance on behalf of Vandal Nutrition with some great information regarding community resources and an interactive sugar display.

The Moscow Food Co-op will also be partnering with Backyard Harvest to host a Fresh Food Drive before and after the film. Backyard Harvest is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to increase low-income families’ and seniors’ access to fresh, healthy foods and the Fresh Food Drive is just one of many ways they are doing this. Movie-goers are encouraged to bring fresh food items to donate in exchange for free entry into the movie. Join us for a night of fun Wednesday September 17th with doors opening at 6:30 PM – hope to see you there!