corn

Welcome to Black (Cape) Friday at Dateline Earth. Or... get your vampire on! Just don't buy anything

Happy Buy Nothing Day!

We're making it something of a tradition at Dateline Earth to refrain from the consume-a-fest that occurs the day after Thanksgiving. Instead we'll  remind our friends about Buy Nothing Day, which was conceived just up the road in Vancouver to say -- and this was long before the recession -- that retail therapy ain't the way to happiness.

But if we can't have Black Friday, we'll have Black Cape Friday. Check it out: I just started reading Tom Standage's "An Edible History of Humanity," which already is laying out concepts that will help me understand one of the most important of environmental issues, food.

Maybe it's that I still have grain on my brain because of our fretting of the other day about what climate change will mean to food supplies. Or maybe it's that the latest in the "Twilight" movies is out, meaning the vampire-focused among us are beating a path to Forks, Washington, a few hours from Rain City.

In any case, I just have to share this passage, which comes in a chapter in which Standage traces the development of maize -- corn -- from a plant that wasn't really very much used as a food source. Yes, be patient, kids -- this passage actually is about vampires:

Maize could only become a dietary mainstay with the help of  a further technological twist, since it is deficient in the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, and the vitamin niacin, which are essential elements of a healthy human diet.