Link Buffet: False spring

Philly folk often say that we don’t get much of a spring. Most years, the snow has barely melted when summer blasts in, leaving just a week or two of light jacket weather and cherry blossoms. This year we’ve gotten all of the damp, chilly, early spring temperatures we could possibly want and it is ruining all our lives. I had queued up this post to celebrate the beginning of my CSA this week, but it’s been so cold that the crops simply aren’t ready, and I’ll get my first shipment of vegetables in May.

If you’re not familiar with CSA shares, if you’re contemplating getting one, or if you’re just starting one and wondering how to use up all your vegetables, you might check out my CSA posts from 2013.  Most relevant for beginners: Why I CSA and End of Season Reflections. I won’t be blogging my CSA stewardship this year, but I will continue to pin new recipes to my seasonal Pinterest boards. I’ll also be adding photographs of seasonal fruits and vegetables to the Beautiful Produce Tumblr, so that’s something to keep an eye on if you just want to look at beautifully styled radishes and so forth.

Fennel, by Nitin Kapoor Photography.

Fennel, by Nitin Kapoor Photography.

I’m not an aural learner and consequently don’t care for podcasts, so I’m really glad that Gastropod included a text post to go with this wonderful episode about artificial flavor, and how companies are turning to carefully cultivated yeasts to produce natural flavors. I considered retyping that sentence, because due to the connotations of “artificial” and natural” it sounds very much like I’m describing progress–we want natural flavor, don’t we? But the line between natural and artificial is pretty arbitrary by FDA standards, and the process of creating natural yeast-produced flavors for labeling purposes is as mad-science-lab as any flavor crusader might imagine when they hear “artificial.” There are also lots of tidbits about flavor studies and some excellent links.

I just really like the idea of rebranding the Religious Freedom law debates as Cake Wars.

Too chilly and damp for outdoor eating today, but this is a fun romp through the art history of picnic paintings at NPR’s The Salt. I’ve been reading a lot of nineteenth century women’s novels, which often feature a picnic scene, and some of the article’s comments on lush picnicking landscapes rang true for those literary lunches as well: the picnic became an occasion for the well-to-do to bend the social rules a little bit, to play at being pastoral or rustic, perhaps to flirt and joke in ways that would not be permissible at the formal dinner table.

Women whiskey distillers: possibly my new life goal.

On the topic of alcohol: the last lesbian bar in San Francisco is closing. which brought up all the questions and ruminations I had when the only lesbian bar in Philly closed in 2013. It’s not that there are no other queer bars or queer spaces in town, but a space dedicated specifically to queer women seems like such an obvious niche that I’m perplexed no other bar has emerged to fill in that space in the last year. In New York, too, there seem to be fewer lesbian bars than in previous decades, and all the theories are sort of vague–do women really drink less than men? Do women really not like bars as much as men? What I’m saying is, I would love to read some well-supported research on this puzzle. If anyone is looking for a thesis topic or a business venture, there you go.

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