These are the mesquite muffins I made for Bill yesterday, to go with a big pot of chili. They're made with the mesquite meal I made last week, from the beans on our trees. The recipe is here. These are savory muffins (with chopped onions and green chiles), and could have a bit more bite if you used habanero powder instead of the mild ancho I used. If you have a favorite cornbread or cornmeal muffin recipe, you could easily substitute 1/2 cup mesquite meal for 1/2 cup of flour--and cut the sweetener in half. Mesquite meal is sweet. Commercial mesquite meal is probably finer and less gritty than my home-ground meal, made in a metate. Baked the muffins in my toaster oven, to keep the kitchen cooler. We liked them!
Garden update. The ridge of high pressure that's been keeping us dry moved off to the west this weekend, allowing a cold front to dip down and trigger some isolated showers. We got lucky twice, both Friday and Saturday, for a total of about an inch of blessed, blessed rain. The fall garden is up and growing: beans, peas, soybeans, zukes, winter squash, turnips, carrots, collard, kale, Irish potatoes. Summer's sweet potatoes, melons, and eggplant are doing okay (a bit heat-stressed). The tomatoes I held over from early summer are blooming, but iffy.
Book report. I took a couple of days to pack/ship Applebeck Orchard and Together, Alone. If you haven't seen the trailer for Together, Alone, you'll find it on the book's webpage. Please take a minute to check it out. I love the music and the photographs are very special to me. After the orgy of packing/shipping, I went back to the beginning of the Darling Dahlias and have done a substantial revision of the first half of the book. Not quite done with that: more today, then on to the next chapter. I'd like to finish by mid-October. I have some book travel at the end of next month, and would love to send the book off before I need to go zipping around Texas
Reading and reviewing. I've been posting reviews of some of my reading on Abouthyme.com. The latest: a review of Fresh: A Perishable History, by Susanne Freidberg. Great book, highly readable, informative. Check out the other reviews while you're there. I was significantly unimpressed by James McWilliams' Just Food, although I certainly agree with his position on industrial meat production and on fishing. He makes a few valid points about the locovore issue (it is impossible for cities in arid and semi-arid climates to feed themselves locally), but his writing is marred by his scornful rhetoric and his "straw man" style of argument.
Yesterday, I happened on Wendell Berry's very fine article in the September issue of The Progressive, "Inverting the Economic Order." I love Berry's phrase, "cultures of husbandry," by which he means sustainable communities of people who have at the center of their concerns a truly "human affection and care" for the land, other people, the earth. This is something we ought to have at the center of our health care debate, as well--and is lost in the midst of all the shouting.
Reading note. The fate of the land is finally not separable from the fate of the people of the land (and the fate of country people is finally not differnt from the fate of city people). Industrial technology does not and cannot adequately replace human affection and care. Industrial and financial procedures cannot replace stable rural communities and their cultures of husbandry.--Wendell Berry, "Inverting the Economic Order."