In 2005, Garrison Keillor, that curmudegon of a Minnesotan, wrote a column in <a href=”
“>Salon stating:

“Today, home canning has gone the way of the typewriter, the vacuum tube and the TV variety show. The Ball company sold off its jar division and now makes satellite sensors or something, and groceries stock fresh tomatoes all winter, imported from Mexico, which cost a buck apiece and taste more like tennis balls than tomatoes. But at least you don’t have to stand in a steamy kitchen and ruin your hairdo.”

How great is it that locavores everywhere are proving him wrong this month? As Jen Maiser mentioned late last month, this year’s September Eat Local Challenge is focussed on “canning, preserving, and putting food up for the winter.” As the blogs I frequent roll up on my Google reader, I can see that several Bay Area Bloggers have risen to the challenge.

Sam at Becks and Posh starts off her Eat Local Challenge canning project by first making me jealous that she invested in a pressure canner and then giving a hysterical list of “Don’t”s for novice canners. As in:

” –Don’t embark on a canning project unless you think you will get extreme satisfaction from a loud popping noise in your kitchen that almost sounds like someone has been shot but is, in fact, just indication that your lid has concaved, your vacuum has sealed, you can safely remove the screw band and that the operation was a complete success…”


“Don’t install the disk of your food mill upside down. It is possible, but not recommended.”

Hee. She also appears to be swearing, cursing, and using lots of bad words. But she doesn’t recommend that either.

Elsewhere, Cookiecrumb at I’m Mad and I Eat who, rather than canning, has just pickled some serranos and jalapeños, and explains:

“I covered them with a boiling mixture of vinegar (local), salt (uh-uh), sugar (nope), cinnamon (as if) and cardamom (yeah, right). Water from Marin County. No idea if this mixture is chemically balanced for the hot water bath, but it’s yummy just the same, and who cares. “

For my part this time around, I’m doing my passive (but LOCAL!) part by discovering and indulging in cold jars of certified organic sour dills from Happy Girl Kitchen. You can buy them as singletons at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market and slurp on them as you do your shopping or, if you’re a glutton like me, you can grab a whole jar and snack on them late at night while watching The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T and wondering if drinking pickle juice really does give you strange powers.

Saints Preserve Us! 13 September,2007Stephanie Lucianovic


Stephanie Lucianovic

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for,, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED’s Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED’s Emmy-award winning show “Check, Please! Bay Area.”

Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater’s Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called “hilarious” and “the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn’t think he or she wants to read a popular science book.”

Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade.

Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor