I Can Taste It!
[Re Side Dishes: "Noodle Bar(re)," April 18]: I always love reading that Sally Pollak and Hannah Palmer Egan are out there, getting to taste and then report on new, as well as already established, dining spots. But I also want to help, because I can't help myself!
I have a correction to suggest, and that pertains to the use of the word "tonkatsu" instead of "tonkotsu" as a style of ramen broth. Tonkatsu refers to a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet, usually served with tonkatsu sauce, while the tonkotsu style of ramen noodle broth is a rich, almost milky, long-cooked pork broth. Both pork tonkatsu and tonkotsu ramen are delicious, and I'm glad to see more of it in the world!
I wish Si Aku Ramen great success, and I hope to make it there to check it out!
And Egan's review of Banchan ["Capital Korean," April 18] — oh, my goodness — makes me want to drive there now! I love Korean food, and it sounds like this will be a big hit!
'Small Is Beautiful'
Paul Heintz's sobering article could've been written decades ago ["Selling the Herd," April 11]. Farmers have suffered a long time; now the chickens are definitely coming home to roost in countless newly empty cow barns.
The story has a parallel in the maple business. Dairy farms are not the only casualties of American culture's idolatry of bigness. Small- and medium-size maple sugaring operations now face such a significant decline in the price of bulk maple syrup that it threatens their financial sustainability. Those of us sugarmakers who prefer small-scale sugaring, have smaller maple woodlots and prefer not to do our own retail marketing in small containers now wonder if our investment is worth it. Buyers of bulk syrup give the big producers a premium for volume, which small producers don't receive. It's the same kind of built-in unfairness to the little guy that small dairy farmers endure.
But who really cares? Most people are significantly out of touch with the inherent financial instability faced by people who work the land in a non-big-ag model. It's a cultural issue as much as an economic issue. A change in the attitude of consumers is urgent: Buy local, and honor growers who work the land sustainably.
Economist E.F. Schumacher wrote eloquently decades ago that "small is beautiful" and challenged the big-business model — but now, more than ever, the hawkers of all things big are buying obeisance to bulk. Until we all begin to invest in CSAs and local producers, we will not seriously attend to Wendell Berry's timeless wisdom, which we now ignore at great peril: "A significant part of the pleasure of eating is in one's accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which food comes."
Thank you for publishing the good news on the retirement of Peg Flory ["Conservative Senator Peg Flory to Hang Up Her Spurs," March 28]. As an almost 20-year voting resident of her district, I contacted her numerous times on legislative matters by email and phone message and not once ever received a response from her. If you weren't a member of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce or the Vermont Republican Party, she ignored you. She cared more about politics than people. So glad to see her go.
Wood Have, Could Have
It's such a shame the powers that be did not take the wood from the clear-cutting on the old Burlington College property on North Avenue and turn it into firewood for low-income folks [Off Message: "Cambrian Falling: Trees Felled at Burlington Development Site," April 10]. Doing some good out of the destruction would have made it a tad more palatable to most of us — especially those who have a long-standing personal connection to the property. Another opportunity to try to ease the pain of development has been lost.
Mayor to Blame?
Why is the Democratic mayor of Burlington stealing from the GOP playbook? Gone from the landscape are legions of trees [Off Message: "Cambrian Falling: Trees Felled at Burlington Development Site," April 10]. Construction is eclipsing Burlington's once-recognizable skyscape. Warplanes are en route to deafen our children. If the developer-in-charge continues to wallow in the Republican mire, the human and environmental tolls will be irreversible. Please, Miro Weinberger, stop selling Burlington!
Indie Dem for Scott
As well reported by Seven Days, on Wednesday, April 11, Gov. Phil Scott signed into law three important and historic pieces of gun-safety legislation [Off Message: "As Scott Signs Historic Gun Laws, Protesters Call Him a 'Traitor'"]. I believe this legislation will save many lives in the years ahead. I believe it will help to keep guns out of the wrong hands. I do not believe it will infringe on the rights of responsible and sensible gun owners.
To my mind, the governor showed great political courage. I thought he gave a superb speech, despite the disgraceful and disruptive behavior of many of the pro-gun, blaze orange-wearing partisans in attendance. A good friend of mine was there with her young, school-age children, and she had to leave — her kids were terrified. (I recognize that this shameful behavior is not at all representative of the many civil and responsible gun owners in the state.)
As I have reflected on the governor's excellent speech, it has occurred to me that what I was watching was statesmanship — stepping above what is politically popular or easy, and doing the right thing regardless of its possible political costs. I admire this greatly! I had come to think of Scott as an easygoing, decent man. What I saw was a strong and purpose-driven man determined to do what is right.
I consider myself an independent Democrat. Right now, I am intending to vote for Scott for governor in November. Many of my Democratic friends are thinking the same. I urge my fellow independents and Democrats to do likewise.