Monthly Archives: August 2011

chicken mcnugget “meat”

McNugget "Meat" butchery diagram
original watercolor and ink illustration, 9 x 11

A couple of days ago, I started researching retail cuts of chicken, to make a “Use Every Part of the Chicken” piece, to go with the lamb, pig, and cow in the series. In doing this, I thought it might be funny to include a “nugget” part of the chicken, so I quickly became sidetracked in trying to figure out the age-old question of “What part of the chicken DOES the nugget come from?” Of course, this question inevitably leads to the grandaddy of the nugget, the McDonald’s Chicken McNugget.

There was a report from inside the McDonald’s McNugget factory.  Information about the four (and yes, only four) shapes of the nugget. (That’s the “bone”, “ball”, “boot” and “bell” if you’re playing along at home.) Pictures of the McExtruder. The now debunked posts that Mcnuggets came from mechanically separated chicken parts. Dramatic standing McNuggets. Quite funny illustrations of a “McNugget” animal. And most useful for me, information about the many MANY ingredients in a McNugget.

Yes, yes, there is real white meat chicken in there. But that’s not all. Not even close.The troubling ingredient list has been explored in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Things like thirteen corn-based ingredients in a bite-sized chunk of chicken. Or tertiarybutylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a petroleum-based product, similar to butane(!), and used to preserve freshness.   Or that the dimethylpolysiloxane, added to the frying oil to prevent foaming, is a silicone-based ingredient commonly found in make-up and Silly Putty.

But don’t they look delicious?

happy independence day!


Happy Independence Day!
 A toast of Dogfish Head Festina Peche is in order…

Well, “Alyson Independence Day” anyway.* Two years ago today was my official last day of work as an Asylum Officer. A few months later, I embarked on this weird ride of meat diagrams and art peddling. I’m thankful for the friends I made and the numerous refugees I helped during my time at the Asylum Office, but I absolutely cannot imagine not having “meat artist” on my resume now.

So thank you to my friends and family who have supported me, encouraged me, came out for shows, and brainstormed pork puns with me. Thank you to all the businesses, large and small (who shockingly) wanted me to paint a mural, illustrate a cookbook, create original artwork, or design a poster. Thank you to every person who helped me, whether by hosting my art show, providing delicious food and treats at said show, creating an Etsy treasury, or wrote a blog post with my art. And thank you to anyone who has ever bought one of my prints or an original, commented online, asked to use my work as a tattoo, or even just had a chuckle when looking at my work at a show.


I couldn’t do any of this, couldn’t have this life, without you all.

*hat tip to Marcia (aka “The Tablehopper“) for this amazingly appropriate phrase.

friday o’clock


Pretend it's Summer Bramble


I’ve always loved a good cocktail, but perhaps even more so now that Steve has adopted beer brewing as his hobby of choice. I LOVE beer, but there’s only so much one woman can take. I’m definitely a brown liquors kind of gal, and love concocting new recipes with whatever I have on hand.


blackberries on vine


This “Pretend It’s Summer Bramble” cocktail was inspired by the pints of blackberry shurb syrup I have stashed in my fridge. I became mildly obsessed with the idea of shrubs after reading about them on Serious Eats. It’s basically just fruit, sugar, and vinegar, but the resulting syrup is lovely in cocktails or even just with sparkling water. I’ve also been using them in my salad dressings this week. (And if you’re wondering, I’ve been doing the cold shrubing method)


free menlo park berries


The blackberries were harvested from a roadside in Menlo Park. Gotta love free fruit.


“Pretend It’s Summer Bramble”
  • 1.5 oz rye (I use “Ri” brand)
  • .5 oz blackberry shrub (I made mine iwht apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 tsp blackberry preserves
  • dash bitters
Combine in cocktail shaker with ice. Serve in glass over ice. Maybe throw a few frozen blackberries in for good measure. Drink up.

Lately, I’ve been pondering the direction of the blog, and decided I want to have more frequent posting, more behind the scenes, more recipes, and more inspiration generally. So this friday o’clock feature is part of that. strap yourselves in for awesomeness.

and now for something completely different.

Thank you internet, for this 15 minute clip from 1974 of Terry Gilliam explaining cut out animation.

via Deth P. Sun (via SFist)

My fascination with animation has been reignited, as it always is after seeing amazing work (Fantastic Mr. Fox, I’m looking at you). This reminds me that I’ve been meaning to post our stop motion Save the Dates from our wedding a few years back, complete with a how-to, as well. wait for it. but not for long.


mimosa illustration
original watercolor and ink illustration

Mimosas are pretty delicious. especially if you hold the oj.

Print available here. (because i know you have to have some mimosa in your life.)

Thank you LA, for giving me a summer

A couple weeks ago, I ventured outside of the 415 with my meaty art in tow (oh, plus Steve and some egg mcmuffins) to participate in the Renegade Craft Fair in Los Angeles. It was my first show outside of San Francisco, and despite a lower turnout than anticipated (thanks a lot, Carmageddon) I’m definitely counting the show as a success. Why?

1. An outdoors show that was actually WARM!

Drywell booth at Renegade LA

Ludo's food truck at Renegade LA
large and in charge charcoal butchery

True, sometimes I’ll get a rare warm Sunday show with Indiemart, but for the most part in SF, it is inside shows or crazy windy outdoors ones. LA was lovely, tented, and a full 30 degrees warmer than SF at the same time.

2. Confirming that LA folks love meat too. 

LA is for Meat Eaters.
check out the meat on that board

There were a couple of people who didn’t quite seem to “get” the strong rallying cry of “Los Angeles is for Meat Eaters” but overall, I got meet a ton of excited food and meat lovers, including numerous chefs, and friends of chefs.

3 little piggies

3. We got and used a dolly.

Steve and the meat beard of justice
Doesn’t he look super happy? It’s all because of the dolly. 

No idea why it took us over a year of doing craft shows to spend a mere $28 to get the most amazing, back and marriage saving device ever. Thanks to Margaret of  Paper Pastries for the insanely key tip.

4.  Visiting The Bruery and Beachwood BBQ

ribs at Beachwood BBQ
my art at Beachwood.
Steve drinking Bruery Cuir
Steve drinking a glass of Cuir beer from The Bruery

Heading south also meant the chance to see my custom artwork I made for Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach (I might have had some amazing ribs and Telegraph Reserve Wheat on tap while I was there too). The place was fantastic, and finally getting to meet Lena and Gabe, the owners was such a treat. I’ve been delighted to discover that so many of these awesome business I love are co-owned by husband and wife teams.

Beachwood BBQ
custom art at Beachwood BBQ

Seeing the custom art in person was such a crazy trip and so exciting. As you can see.

We also managed to sneak in a private tour of The Bruery in Placentia, courtesy of the crazy nice and generous Ben, PR dude extraordinaire. I’ll have a separate post about that.

Inside the Bruery
The Bruery

6. Palm Springs, baby. 

mid century awesomeness

Oh, and a quick jaunt to Palm Springs after the show didn’t hurt a damn thing. More on that later….