Giveaway: The Art of Fermentation

Last week, I promised an exciting giveaway was in the hopper. And tell me — do I deliver, or what?

I would enter this giveaway, if I could.

The winner, who unfortunately cannot be me (did I say that already?), will receive a beautiful, brand-spanking-new copy of The Art of Fermentation, by Sandor Katz.

This is the bible of fermentation, friends. This summer I borrowed a copy from Suzanne, just long enough to read up on my beloved half-sour pickles, but returned it before she could hold it against me in our friendship and also before I could read it cover-to-cover (and yes, I would totally do that, on a Friday night — because that’s how exciting or shockingly anti-social my life is, depending on your age and personal obsession level with fermentation).

If you have any interest in making/understanding fermented foods — everything from cultured veggies to kombucha to yogurt to tempeh — seriously, I think he covers EVERY. THING. — then you want this book.

The only caveat is that, if you win, you have to let me borrow it.

(ok, not really — just if you live in Indianapolis)

No, really, I’m totally lying. You don’t have to ever show it to me, you just have to let me call you with all of my fermenting questions.

Enough, seriously — you really don’t have to do anything. Except fill out the form below (for real this time).

I’m rooting for YOU.
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To enter this giveaway, simply fill out and submit the following form before Friday, September 21, at noon EST. The information goes directly to Chelsea Green Publishing, and you will automatically be added to their e-newsletter list (unsubscribe any time). One entry per person; the winner will be selected at random by the publisher, notified via email, and the book will be shipped directly from Chelsea Green.

[This giveaway is now closed : ( ]

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I am super-grateful to the folks at Chelsea Green Publishing for agreeing to and facilitating this giveaway. I’ve received nothing in exchange for hosting, just the burning jealousy joy I’ll feel for the lucky reader that wins! Also, Kaitlin — you rock!

Tea strainer **giveaway**

I’ve hosted a grand total of 2 giveaways on this little blog.

The first was eons ago, I fell in love with a milk frother, so much so, that I bought one on Amazon to give away (how’re you liking it, Rebecca?). This was long before I had a single PR pitch in my inbox, before anyone offered me anything at all to review, ever. It was simply an obsession that I wanted to share, and it felt good to do it.

And it’s not like I’m getting showered in freebies now — but occasionally I do get an offer for a product or book to review, and such is the situation that led to my second giveaway. I wrote an honest review about a book I was really excited about, and a lucky reader got a copy.

But — I’ll admit it — the whole process just felt a little weird to me. I felt pressure to write a positive review — and even though no one asked me or directly influenced me to do that, I felt it just the same.*

So I’ve decided that, for the time being, I’m no longer doing those. But what I can & will do is find random cheap stuff that I can buy, and give it away to whomever might be interested.

Case in point: today’s tea strainer. The source? My favorite Fall-Off-The-Truck Store, Angelo’s. I paid $4 for it. No, I am not PioneerWoman (but how I love her in all her unmatched hilarity), and will not be giving away Kitchenaid mixers or trips to my ranch (you did know I had a ranch, didn’t you? I just like to keep it all to my lonesome is all). But, on the bright side, you probably have a 1-in-15-ish chance of winning my $4 discount tea strainer, versus a chance somewhat equal to getting struck by lightening whilst finding a needle in The World’s Largest Haystack (I believe that’s somewhere in rural Ohio, by the way).

Come on. You know you want to win, even if it’s just a little tiny something. Don’t you.

I love this strainer. How completely adorable is it? (though, admittedly, not this adorable). And, true to its word, the tea leaves stay in the stainless basket. It even comes with a little stand to catch the drippings after steeping. It likely cost way more than $4 on its original shelf. Probably even, like, $10. And it kind of looks like a witch’s hat, which is seasonally appropriate.

Who knows. Maybe I’ll start giving away items I dig out of the bin at Goodwill. That’s the underwhelming reach of my generosity. And pocketbook.

To Enter this Mind-Boggling Giveaway:

1) leave a comment, telling me what you would buy if you had $4 burning a hole in your pocket.

2) for a second entry, follow me on twitter, and tweet the following: “I just entered an amazing FOUR DOLLAR GIVEAWAY from @katyshecooks [insert link to this post]!!!!” If you want the tweet to count as an entry, you must leave a comment here w/ a link, or else I’ll never know. I’m just not that organized.

3) can’t think of another way to self-promote at the expense of your energy. So, just review numbers 1 & 2.

A winner will be selected, at random, via random.org, randomly, at 9pm (or maybe 10? whenever I remember to do it) on Sunday, October 16. Winner will be notified by email sometime in the early days of next week.

Also, no choice on color. All they had was yellow.

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* This is totally my issue. Many, many bloggers do giveaways with honesty and generosity and without having to spend their own money at junk stores. You should definitely be reading their blogs, not mine.

** Congrats to OrdinarySarah, who’s lifelong dream was realized the day I told her she won the strainer. Ok, maybe not lifelong dream… but apparently she did dream that she was at my house, asking about the strainer, the day before she won it. This did not in any way influence the contest, unless random.org is able to be controlled by the dreams of pregnant women. Thanks to all of you who confessed your love of $4 coffee drinks, I’m right there with ya.

Book review (& giveaway): a nutritionist connects the dots between food & childhood ailments.

As the mom of an allergic child, I have long been frustrated with what seems to be a gaping hole in pediatric medical care: the connection of food to illness. While most any doctor will tell you a child needs to have a “balanced diet” to remain healthy, that’s where the causal relationship typically ends in conversations at the doctor’s office.

For instance, when my infant son had severe eczema, I had to repeatedly (even forcefully) ask for a referral to a pediatric allergist for testing. Our doctor just kept saying that it was “dry skin” — that we needed to find the right lotions, bathe him less often, bathe him more often, change laundry detergents. But in my gut I knew it was food.

And there are other illnesses and/or disorders that many parents find improve by a change in diet: everything from autism to chronic ear infections. But the unfortunate truth is that much of this dietary knowledge comes primarily from online communities, obsessive research, and independent observation — not from the traditional medical community. Which leaves many parents feeling like they are going rogue with their children’s healthcare.

I was cautiously optimistic when offered a review copy of a new book by licensed dietician Kelly Dorfman, What’s Eating Your Child? The Hidden Connections Between Food and Childhood Ailments. If a licensed nutrition specialist was writing a book about this, I wanted to read it. Could this finally be a mainstream publication addressing the connection between diet and sick children?

Indeed it is. This book is an important step in the right direction — if for no other reason than it’s written (and well-documented!) by a professional in a scientific field — with a forward by a pediatric allergy specialist. These MDs, LNDs, and MSs give credibility to a topic that often gets pidgeon-holed into a category of psychosomatics and granolas, ripe with pejoratives.

Medical credibility or no, the most important thing the book does is empower the parent. She encourages parents to become “nutrition detectives,” becoming keen observers, note-takers, scientists on behalf of their child. Many of her own clients end up in her office as a last-resort — they have seen every doctor, specialist, psychiatrist (yes, food can be a culprit in behavioral disorders) for their problem and have nowhere else to turn. They have been given Rxs for everything from reflux to ADHD, but their gut tells them to keep searching before handing their kids the drugs (or they’ve used the drugs, with no improvement).

It might seem like a large task — and sometimes it is. But the book goes a long way to get a parent started. Each chapter details a different case study, along with her thought process during treatment and the end result. Does your child have no appetite? It could be a zinc deficiency. Does your child have reflux? Dairy is often the culprit. Does your child have bumpy skin (otherwise known as “chicken skin”)? It could be a deficiency in EFAs (essential fatty acids).  From chronic ear infections to high anxiety to constipation, the cases are covered. The book addresses picky eaters, too — limited diet is often a sign of allergy (but even if no allergy is present, the book offers practical ways to broaden your child’s diet).

The book gets a little long, and many readers might choose to skip chapters that do not relate to their child. But there is information to be gained in each chapter — nutritional information is given in such a way that it is generally helpful — not just in feeding our children but in feeding ourselves. I was happy to read that the author addresses pesticides as potential allergens, admits that popping supplements is not always a magic pill solution, and paints a true and demonizing picture of HFCS and sugar.

My major criticism of the book is that, while full of the usual disclaimers, it can give the impression that finding solutions to some of these problems is easy — like the mystery flick where, once solved at the end, seemed to be obvious all along. But most of us don’t have 20 years experience in the field of nutrition, two decades of gathering clues. We are simply busy parents who are trying to help our children while keeping our heads above water — and elimination diets are not easy, especially with children who have been eating the same way for years. I also wish the solutions didn’t rely so heavily on supplements rather than dietary change — but I understand that that is often the fastest, easiest way to get necessary nutrients into deficient little bodies.

That being said, I would recommend the book (and have already, more than once!) to any parent who seemed concerned about his child’s health, and is looking for solutions beyond medications that simply treat symptoms. The book can get a parent into the right frame of mind, and give her a starting place on the road to solution. Which hopefully, in the very near future, will by default include a nutrition-detective pediatrician as well.

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Giveaway

**UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Gina, of comment #27, who “hated squash and chinese food, and still doesn’t like slimy foods.” Thanks to everyone who entered, followed, tweeted, updated, and shared their most-hated foods as a child.

If you are interested in winning a copy of What’s Eating Your Child, you have three ways to enter (each person can have a maximum of 3 entries):

  1. Leave a comment below, telling me the one food you most hated as a child.
  2. Tweet this giveaway. You might write “Hoping to win Kelly Dorfman’s *What’s Eating Your Child*– a book giveaway from @katyshecooks: http://bit.ly/kOtyT4”
    Leave a link to the tweet in a separate comment below.
  3. “Like” me on Facebook. If you already “like” me, you can post a link to this giveaway in a status update. Tell me which you did in a separate comment below.

You can enter anytime between now and Monday, July 11, at 8:59pm EST. A winner will be selected from the entries, using random.org. I will email the winner on Tuesday (make sure your email address is correct when leaving a comment) to get a shipping address — the winner has three days to respond, or the world might end (and another winner will be chosen).

Fine print: Other than the free review copy of the book, I received no compensation for hosting this giveaway.


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I linked this post up to Simple Lives Thursday, at GNOWFGLINS — a great blog resource for natural solutions to myriad household challenges, in the kitchen and elsewhere.