Okay, that didn’t go well

A combination of a rocky WordPress upgrade, a corrupt database file, and somewhat lax backup practices means that I’ve lost all of 2009’s data. Anything I’ve posted and any comments received since December of 2008 are somewhere off in the ether. They are most definitely not in the database they used to call home.

I’ll rebuild the posted information over the coming days and weeks, but, man, what a pain in the butt.

The new theme is kind of cool, though. The header picture will become a stream of more relevant shots when I get around to figuring out how to do that.

I’m in the midst of a new project, too, so this is actually a good time to transition the website over into an ongoing document of our family’s attempt to spend an entire year eating everything from scratch — no cans, no boxes, no partially hydrogenated anything. Here’s the summary:

Our family eats well. Even Friday pizza night  often involves homemade tomato sauce and freshly risen pizza dough. Still, like a lot of families, especially families with kids, we frequently rely on processed food from cans, jars, boxes or the freezer case, food with lengthy lists of unpronounceable and sometimes scary ingredients, food jammed full of high fructose corn syrup and too much salt and fat. Crap food tarted up with whatever vitamin or antioxidant is fashionable at the moment. While we are as time strapped as any modern family, we wanted to try to reduce or eliminate that dependence on convenience foods.

Scratch will document our suburban family of four’s attempt to spend a year cooking from scratch. No processed foods. No boxes. No cans. No jars. No high fructose corn syrup or partially-hydrogenated anything. Everything from homemade stock for soup to not-so-obvious items like breakfast cereal, peanut butter, and snack chips will have to be prepared from scratch, preferably from local or seasonal ingredients. Unlike other books on similar topics, our family lives in a densely populated suburb. We cannot grow our own food except by outwitting the Homeowners Association. We shop at the grocery store like everybody else. And the focus of Scratch is not the evils of the global food systems but the challenge of changing a modern diet of convenience foods while still getting the kids to basketball practice.

By taking cooking from scratch to the extreme, Scratch will track the real costs – both monetary and time involved – of preparing food by hand. The book will explore what it is really like for an ordinary suburban family to cook from nothing more than basic ingredients – the benefits, the frustrations, the things that a family can reasonably do at home, and those things that should be left to professionals. The challenge also will provide an opportunity to address obesity, increasing food allergies, type 2 diabetes and other diet-related illnesses – all products of the modern diet of processed foods. It will be instructive, enlightening, and if I know my family, parts of it should be very funny.

Thanks for sticking with me. I’ll try and at least get video & article links up soon.

Join the Conversation


  1. that does sound awesome. are you planning on keeping us posted about the progress or will you present everything at the end?

  2. I’ll be blogging about the experience. I’m still working on getting the publisher on board, which is why there isn’t much up yet. But once the details are worked out I’ll be posting an ongoing journal of cooking everything from scratch. Having done it for several months now, some things are much easier than you think they might be, some are much tougher, and you develop an entirely different relationship to food. It becomes much more precious when you can’t just run down to the store to get more of something.

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