Monday, March 31

Farmers' Market

Too early? No way, via PCS and NE.


Kitchen sink

via NYT.


Saturday, March 29

Toast to the Americas

Toasted map:
David Reimondo,
via MAKE.


How to grow grain

There's a global shortage of grain.

So, you might have to grow your own.

Maybe not in the ground. Rather, sprouted in a jar.


Friday, March 28

War and Peas

Edible book illus:
Electra Bals/PPL.

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Milkin' it

Former legislator says there should be a "Maine Fresh" label for milk. She went out to eat at five fast food joints:
Only one of the five was selling milk from Maine dairy farmers: Dunkin’ Donuts.

Milk at Kentucky Fried Chicken was imported from Florida; milk at McDonald’s comes from Illinois; Subway milk was trucked in from Arizona; and Wendy’s sells milk from Ohio, via BDN.

[Addendum 3/29:] More on the bills failure, essentially because Oakhurst imports milk from Vermont, from MPBN and Maine Mouth.

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Maine potato

New book about terroir, The Taste of Place, mentions Rob Evans' annual Potato Dinner. Well, actually, it mentions this article about the dinner, which apparently misattributed some quotes to the various Jimmys that farmed potatoes in 2005.

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Thursday, March 27

Week in Review, Mar. 27

Municipalities ran low on road salt (1), Mars was covered with table salt (2), and a Russian shepherd sued the government after falling space debris killed his horse (3). Mosquito fish could count (4), and minihorses entertained during Maine Maple Sunday (5). Syrup makers tapped 1.3 million trees (6).

Mice brains reacted to sugar (7), flavored water for pets was developed (8), and schools banning candy had thriving black markets in sweets (9). A School Committee member said composting benefited the city (10) and a teen who starved in Egypt liked his host family's food (11). Argentinian farmers protested (11.5).

Maine's "Mr. Ecology" considered plastic bags litter (12) A Farmington diner moved six miles to East Wilton (13), the Miss Portland Diner secured a land deal (14), and Dr. Mike's Madness Cafe expanded (15). Dr. Pepper prepared to give out free sodas if Axl Rose finished the long-awaited Guns N' Roses album this year (16).

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Wednesday, March 26

Organic industry

Phil Howard/
Good Magazine.


Commune approved

The Maine Switch's reviewer has a blog, Commune Tested, City Approved, with posts about the coming of Green Elephant's macrabiotic food. It's better than today's review of David's. I mean really, "Vegans go for the pizza sans cheese"?

It's really a shame that there wasn't space in the latest food wired column for a self-referential comment. Anyway, find out about CTCA tomorrow on Portland Food Map. The CTCA blog also discusses the birthplace of falafel (Syracuse), how to romanticize the Sixties (down on the commune, we had a tough go peddling our organic veggies), why ecoconsumerism is tres chic, and allegations about the blogger's past employer: Burger King.

No mention of militant veganism. And, for those of you who think this is mean, please head over to this ancient Eurotrash hit single. The bottom line: Retour a la normale.

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Pandalus borealis

Maine shrimp is in a feature on wild foods, via the Boston Globe.

The Maine Mouth missed out on the shrimp season (Wait, before clicking, the blog is so slow to load, you'll be glad Ms. Mouth discovered not only The Internets but also RSS).

Photo: Natalie Conn.

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Extend the season

Longer seasons for farmers. That's what everybody wants. Especially now, in the barren season, when the only thing left in the fridge that wasn't grown in California is a parnip, a half-moldy cabbage, sauerkraut, and bacon.

Season extension is hot stuff, says MOFGA.

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Tuesday, March 25

A whole body of eats


Possible redesign working its way through the tangled Psst! bureaucracy. P.S., could this be part of a new header?

Looking for local signage with the right letters from local Flickr photomakers .

Photo: urbanmkr


Brews before two

Brian Boru review from the Breakfast Club and this multimedia piece on an overseas Sox games point to an early spring thing: drinking before the sun sets.

Wait a second, hasn't this been a specialty for years at Ruski's and Rockin' Ricky's?

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Rabelais Books

The Nancys are into foodie lit. Ms. Harmon Jenkins gives a nod to Rabelais in her bookstore list in Saveur. Ms. Heiser gives Rabelais a nod in PortCity Life. First posted here.

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The Beard

Old news made new: Rob Evans still a nominee for James Beard Best Chef.

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Monday, March 24

Rankin Street

Photo: Sarah Szwajkos/
Damn Rabbit Studios.



A full report on the "sweetened dipping sauces" at Pom's Thai Taste + Noodle House, via PPH.

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Sunday, March 23

Peeps show: DC


Plywood and police report

Merry Table Creperie, French-style crepes, planned for Wharf Street. Let's hope with a name like Jean Claude, this chef will be serving ployes too.

Awful Annies reopened at same location only with higher drink prices and a nicer bar. Same old drunks.

The owner of The Front Room, Harperding Lee Smith, was allegedly beaten outside his restaurant two weeks ago, apparently in a drunken late night argument over the quality of his meat cookery. He refused medical attention. The menu still includes steak.

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Friday, March 21


Food + Table, artworks inspired by food, with Tina Rath, Alex Rheault (sea cucumbers at right), and Mark Jamra, via RBB. Rabelais Books. 5-7 pm.

The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens' 2008 Kitchen Garden Series dinner. $65, 633-4333. Boothbay. Continues April 25 and May 27, via PPH.

Coming up, the smell of sap evaporating. Maine Maple Sunday, via MPBN.

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Thursday, March 20

Week in Review, Mar. 20

An 18-pound lobster flew to Montreal (1), a meat salesman that choked on a fish sandwich survived a Subaru crash (2), and, in a Bar Harbor driveway, a woman found a decapitated wild boar's head (3). On the fifth anniversary of the war, soldier fishing in Iraq alleged that Saddam fed fish human bodies (4). A cartoon about forcefeeding inmates at Gitmo was banned by the US military (5).

Good Eats Boutique sold cupcakes as big as one's head (6). Chef Et Al, Tommy O'Toole's casual bistro on Forest Avenue, prepared to hire a pastry chef (7). "Juicy," oily," "curry," "chewy, barky," "very," "very," and "smoky" described Passage of India (8), a place that was a good alternative to snorting all-natural soup (9). A woman said, "We really do believe that you can prevent most diseases with proper diet" (10).

Bowlers drank pitchers of beer (11), editors said that lowering the drinking age was a bad idea (12). A wine taster had his nose insured (13), scientists discovered how albatross can smell (14), and drinking beer made scientists more likely to publish (15).

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Wednesday, March 19


Cabelas is coming to Scarborough May 15. The store's been linked to passionate gun-toting folks who love to hunt.

This comes at a time when the Second Amendment has taken the stand, which has some Mainers up in arms.

The Supreme Court appears ready to affirm gun owner rights but uphold a handgun ban in DC, a but that could drive gun lobbyists bonkers. A short history.

Photo: Armed America, via Neatorama.

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No hunting



Milkin' it

The ag cops busted Mike Schmidt in Ontario, Canada where raw milk is illegal. The ag cops have been harassing farmers over raw milk in California and New York. In this month's Harper's, Nathanael Johnson rehashes the Pasteur-free story with the germ angle. Germs are bad in raw milk. But very marketable in Danon's bacteria infused DanActive yogurt.

Vermont recently raised its limit on legal raw milk sales from 25 to 50 gallons a day, via DA. More than the raw milk debate, which comes to a head whenever it kills elderly men, some milker gets busted, or when some state considers a ban. Shouldn't the ag police be focused on something more important, like beef?

Currently, Maine's laws are quite lax. Permitting sales of raw, unpasteurized milk in stores and farm-direct. There was some debate in 2005 about labeling for dairies that failed bacterial tests. Now, about the only people who can't buy raw milk in Maine are those who wish to do so with WIC coupons.

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Tuesday, March 18

Dressing the meat of tomorrow

Image: James King/MOMA,
via NYT (thanks nc!).


Bad news bars

Is the DePressed Herald for sale? Slumping sales for the Seattle Times means a possible sale at cut rate prices, says Romenensko. (The recent reader survey revealed the paper was slightly, if not totally, out of touch, via Maine Mouth.) In other slightly odd news, a dead body discovered behind the Morning Sentinel, the paper's up-north division.

Anyway, so what's bad news in journo-land got to do with food? Three words: Disappearing dive bars.


Seacow 26

Monday, March 17

Fiddle Camp

Max Alexander, a former People person, left the big city for Maine. And Maine Fiddle Camp. He discovered OK food.

"The food at Maine Fiddle Camp is not particularly fancy or gourmet. What makes it special is that it's mostly Maine grown, mostly organic and made from scratch daily."

At the helm of this volunteer-run, slightly funky summertime operation, which gets packed into a renovated ambulance that frequently suffers breakdowns, is Marada Cook, who looks like a "heroic farmwoman in a Soviet mural." In the print version of DE.



Photo: Julia Lohmann,
via MAKE.


Sunday, March 16

Sustainable lobster

Is lobster sustainable? That's what the state is investigating with a British certifier.

The Marine Stewardship Council certification for the industry would be a first for North Atlantic fisheries. Maine lobster already passed a precertification screening. It'd probably be a boon to marketing (see what Look's Gourmet told the EA) though lobster dealers and sellers may, in the end, see more of the profit.

Many fishermen are hoping to ride out the "sustainable seafood" wave. But since the contents of lobster stomach appear to be mostly herring, via AP, the question should also be asked are bait fish green?

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Blueberries for Sal

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Broadturn Farm

John Bliss and Stacy Brenner moved to Maine to farm seven years ago and they knew little about farming. The New York Times says they're part of young farmers (with liberal arts degrees) that aren't just donning the hipster Carhartts and trucker hats, they are actually going back to the land.
Grocery guy says: “Having a cool cheese in your fridge has taken the place of knowing what the cool band is, or even of playing in that band. Our rock stars are ricotta makers,” via NYT (thanks es!).

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Saturday, March 15


The reining king of the junglepizza is Bonobo.
I finally went to Bonobo yesterday to eat and i think they've got the best pizza in portland. the wood fired oven makes a great difference in the crust quality. they seem to use fresh ingredients and have some great concepts of pizzas offered, via CH.
One thing's missing from that classic combination (pizza and beer), local brews, says BL:
They also have an eclectic beer menu. But there's a problem: the only locavore eligible beer in the place is the dreadful Sunday River Pale (brewed by Stone Coast). Having had it before, I skipped it. Pizza and beer is a great combination. I opted for pizza and Spanish wine. Not bad, but where was the Geary's?

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Friday, March 14

Plywood Report

Foley's Bakery, in Monument Square, closed, via Psst (Thanks Dominic!).

Borealis Breads prepared to move to Ocean Avenue, via MB. More comments from Jim Amaral here. Mainebiz also reported last issue that Allagash Brewing in building a malt silo; their sales are up 40 percent.

Little Lads hippy crack den planned to reopen April 17, another Thai place prepared to move into the old Espan's Quick Lunch, and the Oktoberfest became Prost Tap House, via PFM. More on the owners here.

Hopefully, something like Reel Pizza will replace Movies on Exchange if the rumors about the theater vacating the spot are true.

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Portland, Me.

Photo: Paul McEvoy


Thursday, March 13

Week in Review, Mar. 13

The price of maple sap rose (1), apparently resulting in part from phony stuff made from high fructose corn syrup (2). Maple sap was 98 percent water (3). The origin of everything was disputed (4), a woman defended preservative-freeladen canned brown bread from Portland (5), and the state's representative were split about pork (5.5).

Bacon donut insane sandwiches were the next big thing (6). At the state house, kids ate fresh herbed bread with cranberry sauce and cream cheese, ham, turkey and Swiss cheese, dipped in an egg batter and grilled (7). Drinking water tested positive for drugs (8), but not in Bangor, where it wasn't tested at all (9).

Officials prepared to close the Pacific salmon fishery (10) and recreational spring salmon fishing was permitted on the Penobscot (11). Chinese officials faced breath tests after lunch (12) and the lack of "Chinese food" in Maine could mean that it's officially part of Canada (13). Time changes created milking problems for dairy farmers (14), a local food book was being collected (15), and a person in a chicken suit startled a cashier (16).

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"This is a shame."

"I know… feels like a Starbucks."

- Overheard at the new Hilltop Coffee, via anon.



Daniel Minter.

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Wednesday, March 12


What's more interesting?
Pad Thai and memoirs or boiled cabbage?
A play-by-play account of eating at Vignola or a play-by-play of Client 9's last words?
Chefs doubling as servers or chefs doubling as bloggers?
Stolen bunnies or belching cows?

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Tuesday, March 11

The Elbow Room

Geno's profile makes no mention of The Elbow Room, the bar that may not replace Awful Annie's on the hill. Awful's place, for some reason, reminds me about this theater in Minnesota.

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Hamburger phone


Farmers Market

Order in. Farms are still bringing food to Portland, says Nancy E. Next stop: March 14.

In lesser known photos found on The Internets, a suspect thought to be the alleged Psst! goes to the Farmers Market.

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Milkin' it

The rush to convert to organic milk is apparently over. Much of it because of a ruling that prohibits organic milk to be sold without first feeding cows organic grain for a year. Some farmers that jumped on the organic bandwagon are apparently complaining about static prices from New Hampshire's Stonyfield Farm, where a portion of Maine's organic milk goes:
"Gary should honor his marketing pledges. I milk 80 cows and don't make enough to pay all my farm bills. I can't afford basic health insurance for my wife and son; these low milk prices are killing me!" via Grist. (Stonyfield Farm's Gary Hirshberg responds).
Last year, the state's organic milk was being dumped in Mexico as conventional. Now, "the supply of organic milk has already started to drop. Last fall, there was an excess of organic milk on the market. Now, supply is merely balancing demand," via AP. That hasn't stopped smaller farms from converting and capitalizing on the nostalgia for glass bottles deliveries and farmhouse flavor – often with hurdles.
Instead of selling milk in bulk to processors who offer take-it-or-leave-it prices of $1.50 to $2 a gallon, some small dairies sell directly to consumers at whatever price the market will bear, typically from $5 a gallon to as much as $10 a gallon. At those prices, dairy farmers actually begin thinking in terms of a long-forgotten word: profit, via The Nation.
For most of us, there's mostly organic. Milk with a big asterisk, like Oakhurst Milk, hormone-free milk, despite backlash over labeling.
Some dairy industry veterans say it’s only a matter of time before nearly all of the milk supply comes from cows that weren’t treated with Posilac. According to Monsanto, about a third of the dairy cows in the United States are in herds where Posilac is used, via NYT.

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Monday, March 10

Beauty and the beef

Image: Jacob Langston/OS and Presten Keres/WP.

Beauty pageants with food – biker chick coleslaw wrestling in Florida and Maryland's Miss Outdoor muskrat skinning – might appear to link food preparation and voyeurism, just in time for International Womens' Day. But maybe there should be a more machismo side to this, like Maine's mashed potato wrestling (who may have shut down for insurance reasons). After all, household chores seem to be a boon to bedroom fun.

Anyway, still a long way off from the 2008 Maine Potato Blossom Queen Contest. Last year's beauties here.

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According to the OED,
"Bar and restaurant usage, 'nix', i.e., customer has had enough to drink or house is out of comestible ordered. Basically, simple rhyming slang but among habitues has as many [e]tymons as Homer had home-places, such probably being boozed up ex cathedra."
So maybe it's not simply six rhymes with nix. My former boss, Jim, used to tell use 86 was quartermaster slang. If the Army ran out of rations, 86 was code for "all out." Although it's widespread in the industry and might be found somewhere in this vast list of foodie films, there's also this use in "The Candidate":
"O.K., now, for starters, we got to cut your hair and eighty-six the sideburns."



Get your terroir here.

This is a place blog, says PortlandPlaces.


Milkin it

Photo: Alexander Reh.

More DIY milk jug and
bottle projects here.

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Sunday, March 9

via NYT.


Mexico Lindo II

The big and the bland beckon at this Forest Ave. taqueria, according to Nancy English. Now serving stringy, dry white chicken, bland pork, and sweet, over-spiced syrupy sangria.
A basket of hot tortilla chips and spicy, liquid salsa immediately mesmerized our appetites. The chips are bought frozen, the server found out for us from the kitchen staff.
Kudos again for questions about sourcing. But what is "mesmerized appetite"? No say.



Dude, via NPR.


In the raw

The alleged Psst! takes in Deathmatch, Part Deer. (At left, visible only with telescope.) Off limits to the uninvited, via F+W (effin dubya).

For those attending today's Deathfishfest and don't want to actually die, bring helmets. This is especially true for paramedics (Thanks Buckster!). Buckle up, for safety's sake.

Details posted under comments.

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Saturday, March 8


Thursday, March 6

Week in Review, Mar. 6

"Animal trainers showed me that there are universal rules of behavior that cut across all species," said a Portland woman who trained her husband, a food reviewer, based on techniques developed for Shamu (1). A sled racer's dogs stopped eating snacks 100 miles from the finish line (2), Chitirod runners collected food in shopping carts (3), and a Topsham breeder said Great Danes don't actually eat hundreds of pounds of food a day (4).

Pet owners cut back on dental care for their pets because of the economy (5), and 13-year-old sheltie, who was a "herder," got depressed over a cat's death (6). "I'm a little bit flabbergasted," said a wolf expert about a gray animal that apparently traveled from Canada across the St. Lawrence, through Maine, to a farm in Vermont (7). A Holocaust survivor who claimed to have lived with wolves, eating their kill, was actually a liar (8).

Police dogs got treats for tracking down criminals (10). A drug enforcement agent drank beer and drove on video (11), lawyers fought on the behalf of lobster men for free (15), and an officer, who went to buy Snapple and beers for a superior, ended up being touched inappropriately on a boat (16). The first words of a 101-year old marathoner who crossed the finish line: "Where's my beer?" (17).

Illus: Peter Arkle/NYT.

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Wednesday, March 5

Gubernatorial pasta

Photo: jkirlin.

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On the road

Goad gives the gift of god, er, "Pastor Chuck" apple sauces made by an Episcopal minister and psychotherapist, via PPH. Also, on the cheesy side, fondue.

Todd "Tofu is too Fun" Richard gets loosey goosey on the cheap at Leavitt's in FreepFalmouth, via tP.

bacari in Brunswick offers sexy, small plates, says TMS. Also fluffed up: Back Street Bistro. Like film reviews, in two words: "Holy crap!"

Chowhounders battle over the best in whoopie pies. The verdict: Two Fat Cats. Agreed.

And, in Boston, getting fired up about one Mainer's trendspotting: French fries.

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Tuesday, March 4


Coelacanth and Coleman, via SM.
Coming March 5, Portland Public Library, 12 - 1 p.m.

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Chicken Point, Me.

Meat Animal Collage.


Monday, March 3


My new favorite Portland food pundit. Didn't take McFurfy long to weigh in on the worst in absentee chefs in an eGullet post:
555 doesn't deserve the recognition they have gotten.....good, but not Food and Wine good. And, the owner is NEVER there when we dine there. He is always in the pictures, but never on premise. Fore st, totally overrated. I used to drive to portland to dine there in the late 90's, but now I don't think I would exert the energy to leave my apt and walk across the street for it, via eG.

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Alewives eat glowsticks

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Farm-raised eco-fish

Near the town of Man, there's a fish farm miles from the ocean. Inland fish, the next big thing. The farm-raised eco-fish use Portland's Mari-Cal Inc. technology, via AP.

The future of fish farms isn't just on land. They also going to liberate us from the oppressive regime in what soldiers are calling "sustainable security," via MSNBC.

Maine's Paul Molyneaux, who drove a truck full of farmed salmon down the icy roads to BOS, found that, in the end, aquaculture did not live up to its promise, via Orion.

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One question: Why is this not a campaign issue?
Consumers who would like to be able to buy local fruits and vegetables not just at farmers’ markets, but also in the produce aisle of their supermarket, will be dismayed to learn that the federal government works deliberately and forcefully to prevent the local food movement from expanding, via NYT.
More on the author, Jack Hedin, via MPR.

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Sunday, March 2

Van Buren, Me. (1940)

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2008 is the International Year of the Potato, via UN:

For the humble spud, here's what The Economist has to say:
In the form of French fries, served alongside burgers and Coca-Cola, potatoes are now an icon of globalisation.

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Saturday, March 1

i can has sqirlz

Image: icanhascheeseburger


i can has susheez

C. Siravo

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Peak Organic tows the party line in a recent pre-Patty's Day article in Boston Magazine:
“We aim to go beyond organic and really focus on local,” says Jon Cadoux, whose beer is poured at restaurants like Hamersley’s Bistro and KO Prime in Boston and Gramercy Tavern in New York.
In other booze news, the Great Lost Bear was apparently named in Forbes Traveler (no link), according to Blog About Beer. And Portland is a contestant for whiskey town from Bushmills, via tF.


Milkin' it

Inventive Mainers have focused on making money on milk for centuries, according to the Sun Journal:
"In 1903 Josie Baldwin of Tremont patented an idea benignly labeled the 'Chest-Bandag' that was, in practice, a boned corset for lactating women that squeezed so tight it collected milk as fast as the new mother produced it. The corset had holes for a pair of dangling rubber bags."
And on the farm:
"Seven different Mainers took out patents for cow tail holders from 1889 to 1936. Most anchored the tail to a hind leg in some manner."
Illus: US Patent & Trademark Office/SJ

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New Internets sites

The best place for drink specials and the ratings of now defunct bars (Awful Annie's Irish Saloon, Breakaway Tavern) is over at portlandoldport, via PFM.

For more breaking Web 1.0 news, head over to The Maine Signal. Is it crypto or are the stories just uploaded by PR execs?

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Three ways to spin a single European Union court case about terroir:
Parmesan? It's OK if it's German, EU court says

Germany cleared in Parmesan case

EU court backs Parmesan label as purely Italian

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