Lou Bendrick

Lou Bendrick is a former contributor to the High Country News Writers on the Range syndication service whose freelance work now appears in various publications.

Meat of the matter

What’s so eco about all those eco-meat labels?

In Checkout Line, Lou Bendrick cooks up answers to reader questions about how to green their food choices, and other diet-related quandaries. Free range: more sizzle than steak? Hi, Something I’ve been pondering a lot lately is the whole “free-range” meat market. After reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I have a lot of doubts as to whether meat labeled “all natural” and “free range” is actually those things. On the one hand, I want to support the market for sustainably raised meat, but on the other I want to be sure I’m getting what the label says and not factory-farmed animals. …

Like when hell freezes over, only the opposite

Why freezer burn matters, and how to avoid it

In Checkout Line, Lou Bendrick cooks up answers to reader questions about how to green their food choices and other diet-related quandaries. Lettuce know what food worries keep you up at night. Dear Lou, What’s the deal with freezer burn, that white discoloration that occurs when something is left in the freezer too long? What is it exactly and is there any problem with eating food that has freezer burn? Ross Conrad Dear Ross, Because I know you are a beekeeper (author of Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture — nothing gets by this intrepid reporter), I feel the …

School of fish

Amid collapsing fisheries and factory-farmed salmon, how to choose sustainable seafood

In Checkout Line, Lou Bendrick cooks up answers to reader questions about how to green their food choices and other diet-related quandaries. Lettuce know what food worries keep you up at night. Hello Grist, The food worry that keeps me up at night is how best to buy fish. Should I buy “wild caught,” with the world’s fishing fleets using giant nets that scoop up all sorts of sea wildlife in one fell swoop, drowning the fish they wanted to collect along with many varieties that they will just dump back in the water dead? Or “farm raised,” with the …

Farmers market etiquette

How to ask hard questions of the people who grow your food

In Checkout Line, Lou Bendrick cooks up answers to reader questions about how to green their food choices and other diet-related quandaries. What to do when it’s not so spelled out for you? Photo: Jennifer Dickert   Dear Checkout Line, Any suggestions on how to ask local farmers (or the person selling the goods at the farmers’ market who might not be the actual grower) if the produce was treated with Sevin or some other noxious but commonly used poison? Pam Ruedige Dear Pam, A question about asking questions! How delightfully meta! As you probably know, many small, local growers …

Nuts to you

The unshelled story on the nutty side of our food supply

This post marks the launch of our new food-advice column Checkout Line, by talented, funny, and food-obsessed Lou Bendrick. Ever get confused in the supermarket, wondering which “all-natural” label is legit? Ever wonder what you’d actually say to a farmer at a farmers market, or whether organic is better than local, or how you can stretch your dollar when you’re buying for the whole family? Lettuce know what food worries keep you up at night by writing us at groceries@grist.org. Dear Checkout Line, I love nuts, but I am always wondering what their origin is, since it rarely says on …

Can a crusade against crap toys ever succeed?

Is it just me, or is anyone else sick of fairies? Because personally I am sick to hell of wee folk and their tiresome fantasy ilk — unicorns with rainbow horns, mermaids with cotton-candy hair, and tarty princesses. Oh, I’m especially sick of the princesses. Is there some unwritten law that princesses have to dress like down-market 1980s bridesmaids? Can’t today’s little girls take their cue from Camilla Bowles in her classic tweeds? Illustration: Keri Rosebraugh I know I sound grumpy, but the current fantasy-toy craze is making my job as an eco-mom more challenging. Try finding a poofy ball …

Walton Ford brings testosterone to nature painting

Walton Ford. Photo: Jason Houston They, whoever the hell they are, say that great paintings work on many levels, and on the first, visceral level, a Walton Ford painting is gorgeous. Because his paintings are done on a large scale, it’s an in-your-face gorgeousness: You can’t miss the luster on a bison’s hoof, the plump pinkness of a zebra’s tongue, the detailed fur of a lion. I was a bit shocked to discover that Ford works in watercolor, a medium I’d always associated with washed-out seascapes. But this artist, who exudes a burly, masculine energy in person, does for watercolor …

Don’t let catastrophic visions get you down … well, not all of them

We greens spend a lot of time obsessing about how life as we know it is likely to end: in a slow, painful miasma of greenhouse gases; in the violent cross fire of a nuclear gang war; in mass ignominy, dead and bug-eyed in our folding chairs after endless rounds of fruitless policy discussions. But what the heck do we really know? Before the car was invented, people worried that the whole world would eventually be knee-deep in horse manure. Really, they did. Keep it handy, just in case. Photo: iStockphoto. Environmentalism, by definition, is about life and death. But …

So tell us … what’s your dirty little environmental secret?

I know this is going to come as a shock to you all, but someone needs to speak the truth. It seems that environmentalists have a bit of a reputation for being holier-than-thou — even, dare I say it, evangelistic. In our zeal to save the planet, we both scare and bore our fellow citizens, who see us as righteous beyond reason. Spring is here — is your conscience clear? This is bad form, and bad politics. So let’s try something new: Let’s share our humanity. Perhaps we can endear ourselves to the congregation by admitting our eco-sins — moral …