Peninsula Macrobiotic Network Newsletter  
Number 115 December 2005 / January 2006 Peninsula Macrobiotic Community
 

Welcome
to the
Newsletter
of the
Peninsula Macrobiotic Community
in Palo Alto,
California!

For information on our organization, click on About Us.

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green onions
 
     Al, Eileen, and Bola
Get a great meal, join the fun, and make new friends at the Gourmet Vegetarian Dinners in Palo Alto, with interesting people like Al Lampell, Eileen Cummings, and Bola Odulate!
 
How do I attend the Gourmet Vegetarian Dinners?
 
Chef Gary Alinder, since 1987
Every Monday, 6:30 PM
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto
305 North California Avenue
at Bryant
1/4 mile East of Alma
Sit Down or Take-out, $13
Reservations Required:
Call 650 599-3320 by
Monday 9:30 AM.
 
Open to everyone. Communal seating--new people easily integrate into our friendly group, which includes many singles. Make new friends on Mondays!

   
 
Coming Events
 
Monday, December 12
David Allen speaks on An Introduction to the Meridian Flexibility System.
 
Monday, December 26
No Dinner, Happy Holiday!
 
Monday, January 2
No Dinner, Happy Holiday!
 
Monday, January 23
Ken Becker speaks on Will the Real Macrobiotics Please Stand Up!
 
   
 
 
Lucy Pokorny O'Connell, a regular at the Monday Dinners for many years with her husband Lyle, passed away November 11. (Lyle passed away in 1999.) They were very supportive of our Dinners, friends with everyone, and a pair to remember.
A Grateful Editor
What a sparkling personality radiates at the Sunshine Health Shop in the person of the owner, Lucy Pokorny. The gal just bubbles with joy, and anyone spending an hour or so in the happy surroundings is assured of leaving the premises with the cares of the world cast aside for a happier outlook on life...
Millbrae Smart Shopper, 1965
Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
James Barrie
   
 
News and Announcements
Special Event on February 6!  T. Colin Campbell, PhD will speak after dinner on The Lost Art of Nutrition. Many in our society, perhaps most, do not appreciate the simple fact that we are what we eat. We pay a huge price for this misunderstanding. Many believe that the single most important disabling budgetary factor in our society is the rising cost of health care, more aptly known as disease care. Central to this difficulty is our abject misunderstanding of nutrition, what it means, how it can be used, how we study its effects, and how national policy on its effects on health is developed. Using conservative figures, it is easy to argue that the leading cause of death in the U.S. is our misunderstanding of nutrition. As a result, we rely on drugs as a means to health instead of food as a means to health. In brief, the present system fosters wealth for the few at the expense of health for the many.

Dr. Campbell, with his son Tom, is the author of the recently published book The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health (see http://www.thechinastudy.com). The New York Times has recognized the study (known formally as the China-Oxford-Cornell Diet and Health Project, a 20 year partnership which surveyed diseases and lifestyle factors in rural China and Taiwan) as the "Grand Prix of epidemiology." In The China Study, Dr. Campbell details the connection between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and also its ability to reduce or reverse the risk or effects of these deadly illnesses.

Help publicize the Monday Dinners! An easy way to spread the word about our weekly community gathering is to click on the Tell-A-Friend link in the upper left of this page. Just fill out the form with the email addresses of up to two friends, along with any personal comments you'd like to add, click Submit, and a pre-written email with the details of the Dinners and a link to this website will be sent instantly. Make a date with someone you haven't seen in a while! All it takes is a few seconds, and you, your friends and the Monday Dinners will benefit--everyone wins!

Best Wishes for a Safe and Happy Holiday Season, and a Happy New Year! Dinner will not be served on Dec 26 and Jan 2.

Every Monday night, a collaborative miracle takes place in Palo Alto. Each Gourmet Vegetarian Dinner provides not just delicious food, but also networking in a vibrant community, support for those seeking a healthier lifestyle or dealing with a serious condition, education in macrobiotic and other health areas, and a firsthand taste of The Great Life. We have found a formula which has produced magic for 18-1/2 years now!

Your help is needed to support our organization. Donations to the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community (PMC) are accepted in any amount. $10/year is suggested to support the newsletter; larger amounts are applied to both the newsletter and other expenses, primarily insurance, and will also give us additional operating flexibility to handle rising costs. See From The Editor for details on contributing by mail. Donations, including $10 amounts to support the newsletter, are tax-deductible, as the PMC is a nonprofit organization.

Monthly Vegan Potlucks! Sunday, December 18, 6:30 PM, hosted by Harold Stephenson in Palo Alto, call 650 856-1125 to let him know you're coming and to get directions. Also on Sunday, January 15, 6:30 PM, hosted by Chuck Olson in Santa Clara, call 408 296-6944. Please call to verify dates. To host a fun potluck in your home, call Harold Stephenson at 650 856-1125 or Diane Wohler at 650 853-0636.

The good word has been spreading about Vegetarian Gourmet, an excellent and inexpensive Chinese restaurant with a large menu, at 637 South B Street (at 7th Avenue), San Mateo 94401, 650 373-7878. Open for lunch and dinner Mon-Sat until 9:30 PM (M-Th) or 10:00 PM (F-S), closed Sundays.

A Taste of Health presents Holistic Holiday at Sea III, February 26 - March 5, 2006. Cruise the Western Caribbean on the Italian luxury liner Costa Magica, and dine on organic, natural, macrobiotic foods. Includes lectures and workshops by Michio Kushi, Patrick McCarty, Denny Waxman, and many others. From $1145 per person. Visit http://www.atasteofhealth.org or call 828 749-9537.

Thanks to Josie and Michael Weaver for their generous help in producing and mailing the newsletter! Be sure to read Josie's excellent article on Winter Squash in this issue.
   
 
Winter Solstice Celebration
 
December 19, 2005
 
Sparkling Punch

Watercress Soup with
Garlicky Croutons

Tofu "Turkey" Croquettes with Creamy Mushroom Gravy

Wild Rice Pilaf

Glazed Sweet Potato Spears

Mixed Green Salad

Pecan Tart with Tofu Crème

Herbal Teas, Grain Coffee

$16

More Dinner Menus...

 
Cooking and Classes
Patricia Becker teaches a cooking class entitled Seasonal, Local Cuisine. Treat yourself in the New Year with a fresh view of life based on eating in harmony with nature. You will learn easy, delicious recipes taught by Patricia, whose love of teaching personal and group cooking classes began 20 years ago. Her expertise shines in making easy-to-understand nutritional balance. This is a FUNdraiser for Common Ground Organic Garden Supply and Education Center, $100. Saturday, January 7, 10 AM - 1 PM, includes lunch, at a home in Menlo Park. For information or to register, call Larissa Keet at 650 948-4036.

Chuck Collison, Assistant Chef of the Monday Dinners, is a personal chef and runs a meal service in Marin. Call 415 258-0528.

James Holloway, frequent Guest Chef at the Monday Dinners, does personal home cooking in Palo Alto, in macrobiotic and classical styles, call 650 852-9182.

Anne Mark does takeouts and life style recommendations, Palo Alto, 650 843-0255.

Meredith McCarty--Cookbook Author, Diet Counselor, and Nutrition Educator--teaches cooking classes on three consecutive Saturdays in Mill Valley:
January 14Healing Recipes from the Longest Living People on the Planet
January 21Comfort Food Classics & Organic Wine Tasting
January 28Chinese New Year Feast
Classes run from 2:00 - 4:30 PM, at Homestead Valley Community Center, 315 Montford Ave., Mill Valley (off Miller Ave. near Whole Foods Market). Secondary parking is in the Marin Horizon School parking lot around the corner on Melrose. $65 per class or $150 for the series. To register, pay on-line at http://www.healingcuisine.com (click on Classes), or call 415 381-1735 and send a check to Healing Cuisine, P.O. Box 2605, Mill Valley, CA 94942. Thank you to Whole Foods Market (Mill Valley, CA) for contributing to the costs for these classes.

Carolyn Peters is a private chef and caterer for creative healthy cuisine, including macrobiotic styles, in San Francisco. Call 415 810-3496.

After-Dinner Events
Speakers receive a gratuity from the audience; please show your support and appreciation with a donation ($5-10 suggested).

Do you ever experience aches, pain, lack of energy, or other physiological problems? Do you want to improve the flexibility and strength of your body and mind? On December 12, David Allen, Certified in Meridian Flexibility, will present An Introduction to the Meridian Flexibility System. The system is a powerful program of 16 stretching exercises rooted in yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that improve physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental fitness. It is based upon the principle that muscles stretch best if you contract them while simultaneously elongating them, and that stretching muscles along our energetic meridians produces concomitant physiological and psychological effects. With full, natural breathing, habitual tightness and even old trauma can literally be stretched right out of your body. David will introduce everyone to the basics of Meridian Stretching, demonstrate stretching exercises, and explain the many benefits of the system. Join us for an evening of fun and discovery!

David is graciously putting on this presentation as a service to our community, with no gratuity expected. Any donations he receives will be forwarded to the PMC.

On January 23, Ken Becker, President of the PMC, will speak on Will The Real Macrobiotics Please Stand Up! Probably the most misunderstood lifestyle around, most people don't really know what macrobiotics is. Do you? Or do you just think you do? This talk will explore the roots of macrobiotics and how you can wrap your hands around its true nature. More than just an introductory talk, the heart & soul of macrobiotics will be explored, with practical suggestions on how to apply its great teachings in your own life in a way that works for you.

Ken Becker has studied and practiced macrobiotics since the 1970s. He studied intensively with Michio Kushi and Michael Rossoff, and became a macrobiotic teacher and counselor himself. He is a lawyer and, as a businessman, was one of the owners of Imagine Foods. He used macrobiotics to recover from his own serious health conditions.
What To Do With All That Winter Squash
Acorn, butternut, spaghetti, delicata, turban, Hokkaido, kabocha. Ah. The names of winter squash range from ordinary to exotic. Winter squash is a very forgiving and versatile food for the season. It is plentiful, it is delicious and when you bring it home after buying it you don't have to use it right away. It keeps for a few months if kept in a cool, dry, dark location. If exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees F, a squash will suffer damage, and if exposed to excessive heat, a squash begins to break its starches down too quickly, which affects its taste and nutrients. Store a squash unwrapped with part of the stem still attached to help hold the moisture in, unless it has been cut open. Wrap cut squash in plastic and store in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. A cooked squash can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days, or it can be frozen for longer periods.

Nutritionally, winter squash is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, namely vitamin A and potassium with smaller but significant amounts of other nutrients like magnesium and calcium. Squash is smooth, warming, sweet and easy - the kind of food that comforts and brings a little warmth in the winter. What follows are a few ideas for what to do with squash on an everyday basic level. These are what you might call mini recipes ideas to help you get started. At the end of this article is a full recipe for Stuffed Delicata Squash, a dish that is suitable to be a main course for a holiday dinner.

Easy Ways To Prepare Winter Squash

Baking winter squash brings out its natural sweetness. Meredith McCarty recommends a simple way to bake squash: wash the outside, then bake the whole thing in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes to an hour. Let it cool, and then slice it in half and scoop out the seeds. A medium one-pound winter squash can yield up to 3 cups squash purée. You can compost the seeds or you can dry and roast them for a healthful snack.

Eat the purée plain along side savory greens. For a gingery side dish, add freshly minced ginger (2 TB), lemon juice, and a bit of sweetener (the equivalent of 1 - 2 TBs of maple syrup, depending on the sweetness of your squash) and a little flax oil to 3 cups of squash purée.

Make a quick soup by thinning the squash purée with vegetable broth (roughly 1 cup of broth for every cup of purée), add 1 tsp of curry powder and up to a cup of coconut milk, and you have a simple and sweet soup.

Baked spaghetti squash separates into strands and can substitute for semolina wheat spaghetti pasta topped with the classic tomato sauce or garlic and olive oil dressing. My favorite way to have baked spaghetti squash is to combine the insides of a baked spaghetti squash (this is up to 4 cups) with 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 TB umeboshi vinegar to taste, 1 cup steamed chopped carrots, 1 cup cooked peas (can be frozen). This is very tasty with seitan or baked tofu dishes. It also makes an easy potluck contribution.

You can also sweeten the squash to taste and add a bit of warming spices like nutmeg and cinnamon with a dash of vanilla and serve it as dessert.

Cut up a squash to steam or boil it. This requires a very sharp knife. Just cutting a squash in half can be a struggle, so be careful. Butternut squash has the thinnest skin and will lend itself well to this kind of preparation. Once cut in half, the squash is easier to deal with. Scoop out the seeds, peel off the skin, and then cut inch-size cubes for a stew or stir-fry or quarter-inch thick half dollar shapes for a gratin. Steaming and boiling times will vary from 10 to 45 minutes depending on the thickness of the cuts.
  by Josie Weaver
Stuffed Delicata Squash
Makes 6 - 8 servings. The yellow and green striped delicata squash comes in small and large sizes. Choose delicata squashes that are 3-4 inches long with no watery spots. Half a squash will be a serving. Because squash is a little bland, it is a good supporting ingredient in a dish. That's the idea in stuffing squash, especially when the stuffing is savory, like the one included here, inspired by a recipe in the now-famous cookbook, The New Laurel's Kitchen. Simple and elegant, this can be the main dish for a holiday meal. To make less work for yourself, make the stuffing the day before and then bake and stuff the squash on the day you will be serving it. Serve the squash with greens, salad, and cranberry sauce for a delicious meal.

Ingredients:
  • 4 - 6 small delicata squash, cut in half with the insides scooped out
  • 2/3-cup water or stock
  • 1 cup bread cubes (2 slices toasted and cut)
  • 8 oz. tempeh, cut into small cubes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 TBs olive oil
  • 2 stalks or ribs of celery, chopped to equal 1 cup
  • 1 teaspoon dry basil
  • 1/2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/8 tsp dry sage
  • 1/2 tsp salt (adjust to taste, especially if broth is salty)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans or hazelnuts* (optional)
Steps:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place squash halves faced down on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

While the squash bakes, sauté the onions in the oil until soft and translucent, but not brown. Add the celery and herbs and cook until the celery is tender but still a little crisp, about 5 minutes or so. Add broth, tempeh, bread cubes and stir, making sure that the bread is moistened throughout. Stuff the squash halves with the stuffing, then bake another 20 minutes to combine flavors and heat through before serving.

* If using toasted hazelnuts, toast hazelnuts in oven on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes, making sure they do not burn (they will start to smell really good just as they are done). To remove the bitter hazelnut skins, roll hazelnuts, while still warm, in a dishtowel, discard the skins, and then coarsely chop.

  recipe by Josie Weaver
   
Patricia Becker
There is a tremendous amount of enjoyment and satisfaction in growing something that you can cook and eat. It's the best.
   
Community Connection
 
  Passionate About
Growing Healthy
 Food
  An Interview with
    Patricia Becker
      by
 Denise
Huajardo
    Springer
 
Patricia Becker has been a member of the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community since 1991. She began volunteering at the second Dinner she attended, and became Manager within a year. As an active Dinner Manager for three years, she helped shape the developing organization. Patricia's other passions, organic gardening and growing healthy food, combine and overlap with macrobiotics to make her outlook on life particularly holistic. She is uniquely suited to her position as the Manager of Common Ground Organic Garden Supply and Education Center in Palo Alto. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Ecology Action.

Denise Huajardo Springer (DHS): How were you introduced to macrobiotics?

Patricia Becker (PB): In my parents' house there was a book on their top shelf called You Are All Sanpaku. They didn't know how it got there but I took that book and I read it. A friend introduced me to a bowl of miso soup. Next I was a nanny for a macrobiotic household in Colorado and then I got a cooking and teaching position at the North Star Macrobiotic Center [now defunct] at Harbin Hot Springs.
DHS: How did that come about?

PB: I wanted to get that job so I said to myself, I'm going to say whatever they want and I'm going to do whatever they want. They said, "Do you cook with spices?" and I said, "Well, do you want me to cook with spices?" And they said, "No." And I said, "Well, then I won't." And then they said, "Do you cook with nightshades?" And I said, "Do you want me to?" And they said, "No." And I said, "Well, then I won't." I just basically told them I would do what they wanted.

DHS: Where did you go next?

PB: I went to the International Macrobiotic Institute in Kiental, Switzerland and the [world-famous] Findhorn Garden and Community in Scotland. Some people I met at Kiental introduced me to WWOOF: Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms and I wwoofed in Australia and New Zealand. I was really focused on macrobiotics. Some of the people whose houses I stayed at had never heard the word macrobiotics but they were living [emphatic] their lives so macrobiotically. They were eating from their garden; they were sewing their clothes; and the whole family was eating together. It was a very holistic lifestyle, much more holistic than people who would say, perhaps, that they were macrobiotic because they were following the dietary guidelines. It really struck me that their lives were so integrated. One family had a wood fire stove. The wood would heat the house, cook the food, warm the water for the bathtub and dry their clothes.

DHS: What gets you excited about Common Ground?

PB: I love the authenticity of the organization and the Executive Director's authenticity and passion. I love my job. I am most passionate about growing healthy food. I use a lot of my skills. I oversee something, direct it, make it more attractive. There was room for Common Ground and me to grow together.

DHS: How has Common Ground encouraged your personal growth?

PB: By dealing with a broader range of people - developing interpersonal skills and sensitivities to other people - and fund raising to keep pace with the expense of doing business in Palo Alto.
DHS: It's great to be with an organization you can grow with. Can you tell me more about your work and passion?

PB: Common Ground helps to inspire and inform people about how they can grow some of the food that they put on their dinner plates. It is a center to serve the community with classes and workshops. You can learn how to grow herbs or a salad garden. We promote gardening methods we have been researching for over three decades and which are used in over 133 countries. The methods are good for any soil and climatic conditions. We have supplies to support that: seeds, plants, soil amendments, natural fertilizers, books, environmentally friendly pest control, a reference library and volunteer opportunities.

DHS: Does growing your own food enhance your practice of macrobiotics?

PB: I think anybody who's interested in macrobiotics has an appreciation for the power of food. To appreciate the food on the plate, you dig in a little bit deeper and say, "Maybe I could grow something - a little bit of parsley or some of this kale." Seek the enjoyment in it. There is a tremendous amount of enjoyment and satisfaction in growing something that you can cook and eat. It's the best.

DHS: How do you spend your free time?

PB: Anusara Yoga. I'm putting out so much energy during the day to see that needs are being met that when I'm done, I have to be sure that my needs are being met. I have to recharge my batteries. Dancing has the potential to do that in the right circumstances, in other words with experienced dancers. Yoga gives me an internal recharge. John Friend, the teacher and developer of Anusara Yoga, said that the practice is building community. I don't need more community! [Laughs.] I have Common Ground, Monday Night Dinners, Dancing, Hidden Villa and they're all interconnected.
DHS: What are your thoughts about your future?

PB: I really love teaching cooking classes and giving people consultations because I feel like I have an understanding that can be helpful. I want to share it with people who want to know rather than just spouting off to people who haven't really asked. I think that might be woven into my future and I'm very passionate about keeping Common Ground alive. In a way they're tied together because it's about growing healthy food and healthy food is part of macrobiotics. It's just coming at it from a different perspective.

DHS: How are you providing security for yourself in later life?

PB: I keep doing what I love to do and building sustainable, healthy relationships and community. The right doors keep opening; I keep getting support from the universe. It's worked so far and I expect it to keep working. If I compare people in this area on the basis of success and financial security with most of the population of the world, I feel like I'm very fortunate and will be as long as I live.

DHS: What's your outlook on life?

PB: Scott Nearing glowed into his passing, his transition. This is a temporary realm. These thoughts comfort me. I want to live and die peacefully and happily. I really think it's a misnomer that you die of disease. I believe you choose how you die. You can believe that perspective and that's what you create. Whenever I see healthy vibrant people who are older, it inspires me and reinforces my belief.

DHS: Do you blend in your knowledge of macrobiotics to inspire people at Common Ground?

PB: They're tied together because it's about growing healthy food and healthy food is part of macrobiotics. It's just coming at it from a different perspective. For instance, we have a volunteer class host on Saturday. She came in and I said, "How are you?" She said, "Oh, I've got poison oak." She was drinking an orange juice or one of those sweet drinks and I said, "Don't drink that!" She said, "Why not? I heard Vitamin C is really good for it." I said, "No, don't drink that. It's sweet. It's going to make the whole thing go systemic. It's going to make it itch." I said, "Trust me, I know from experience. Here have an umeboshi plum." So I gave the whole five-minute explanation on umeboshi plum. She was there to get focused on the class but I had to do this sidetrack for her. She was open so she took an umeboshi plum. She'd never had one before. About half an hour later, she said, "It worked! The itching stopped." I said, "Oh my gosh, thank you." After the class was over she was waiting by my desk very patiently; I was talking to somebody. She said, "Can I have another one of those plums to give to my boyfriend?" I told her that it was also good for fatigue, if you drink too much or if you eat too many desserts. It's all woven together.

Denise Huajardo Springer is a freelance writer who attends the Monday Dinners with her husband Kim and young son Nathan.
From The Editor
Email Notification of Newsletter: To receive an email notification each time the Newsletter and Dinner Menus are published on this site (every two months), .
 
Mailing List Policy: To get a printed copy of the Newsletter and Dinner Menus delivered by postal mail, or call the phone number below. To offset the expense of producing the Newsletter and Menus, we suggest a contribution of $10/year or more. The date and amount of your last newsletter contribution appears on your mailing label. Write checks to "Peninsula Macrobiotic Community", and mail to Gerard Lum, 101 E. Middlefield Road #9, Mountain View, CA 94043, 650 903-0447.

We periodically review our mailing list. Those who have not made a recent contribution are subject to removal.

Tax-Deductible Contributions: We welcome and can use additional contributions to the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community, as income from the Dinners does not pay all of our expenses. We are a nonprofit organization, so additional contributions are fully tax-deductible. Send contributions to the address in Mailing List Policy above.

Back Issues of the Newsletter and Menus: Click here.

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