A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.

Dare I offer the unwary trick-or-treaters a Soul Cake, seasoned with allspice and saffron (I’ll use turmeric)?  (Gosh!  I could even use a little #pumpkinrescue pulp, just to round the circle.  But I didn’t.) There’s an austerity  to these biscuits that would be a contrast to the toffees I intended to set out next to a Jack-o-lantern. They taste of the past– in a category that is neither cake nor biscuit nor bread roll and so, its own thing, this Soul Cake.

IMG_9638

 

IMG_9641

Here’s an article about  British traditions that pre-date the way we now celebrate Halloween.  Maybe trying to incorporate the older stuff is the way to salvage Halloween from kitsch and commercialism, and put some dark-spirit into it without taking the fun from the kids.  They like the kitsch, who can blame them?

Hey, here’s something from my childhood. At school we were given these boxes, which required folding and tucking which we enjoyed.  When it got dark on Halloween night,  we’d go house to house chanting in child-singsong: “Trick or Treat for UNICEF/ And candy while you’re at it!”  People would put pennies, nickles, and dimes into our boxes, which we’d shake up and down to guess how much money we’d collected.  I believe we did have a sense of pride that we were helping “needy” children, but that didn’t override our own desire for candy and sweets, orgy of which Halloween was even back in those days of the early 70s.  One year a tough kid in my neighbourhood grabbed my box, and I spent my childhood thinking of this as the time I was “mugged.”  Maybe it was! I wonder what happened to him..

e95db811062ddf0ee07cfa529ad6907c

Nice to learn that Trick or Treat for UNICEF actually began in Philadelphia and continues to this day.

IMG_9611

There are times when I find no inspiration for the daily grind of family cooking, and feel just as much a novice as anyone.  Mostly however, and especially writing this blog, there are always more food ideas that I’d like to explore than time ever allows. So I woke up last Sunday with 20 projects on the go, and couldn’t conceive how to make progress AND make lunch.  That’s when the Venn Diagram came to mind.  Why not draw some up and decide that way what we would be eating.

Number One: I’m very interested in Peasemeal as an historic Scottish staple, a flour dating back to Roman times, made of ground roasted dried yellow peas.  I wrote to the people at Golspie Mill, a restored Victorian mill way towards the top of Scotland, and asked if I might have a sample bag, and was generously obliged.  The guiding thought was that peasemeal might be a good substitute for gram flour; it’s a relatively local (at least British) staple with culinary possibilities to span the globe. And it’s a Slow Food Forgotten Food included in their “Arc of Taste,”, and interesting for this heritage.  When I asked friends what they made with gram flour, many responses looked to India– not surprisingly! — and flatbreads and pakora.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Spend eight minutes listening to Jack Monroe talk about food politics. For her this means many things– economic policy, inequality, class assumptions, gender, zero-hour contracts, the austerity downfall of social services.  And the politics of kale and “peasant food” and being able to feel proud of what can be cobbled together on very little.

Her voice quivers as she speaks her truth. She is powerful and righteous and speaks from personal experience.

You all know her blog, yes?  I look forward to many years of learning from her as an important public figure.

chickpeas

Something kind of momentous happened today.  I read the Rumi poem “Chickpea to Cook” for the first time. What a feat of imagination, to identify yourself as a chickpea being cooked, and to conceive this as a metaphor for how life shapes us.  A chickpea, anthropomorphised.   I recognise that there must be great artistry as well as contention between translations of Rumi, because the first version I include feels so darn contemporary, especially compared to other, earlier ones.

Chickpea to Cook (translated by Coleman Barks)

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Ah the infinities of interesting worlds on the internet…  I have a file “Links for Blog” into which I save items to share; despite good intentions, they languish and amass.  I’ve now prepared this post and am aware it might be overwhelming.  Please forgive me if so!  May some of it be useful to you…  Mostly Food Politics on the top, then a nice round-up of cooking and food links.

Read the rest of this entry »

Today is World Food Day, and World Food Day of Action for Food Sovereignty.  it’s also Blog Action Day on the theme of Inequality.  All this within the Year of Family Farming!

10302017_10152332474902016_1440126989796241110_n

I haven’t had time to prepare a proper post.  I wanted to reflect a bit about food and climate inequality, in terms of both culpability (mostly of the rich world) and vulnerability (mostly of the poor), and put this in a context of “food security” (a loaded term) and its challenges. When I think about what I want to say on the topic, it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger.  And I kind of short-circuit.  The great thing is, Blog Action Day is going to give us all lots of opportunities to explore the theme really diversely, and learn a lot reading people’s contributions.  Mine is just a beginning, pointing to connections I want to deeply understand as we go about public campaigns and personal quests — seeking as always at KitchenCounterCulture to bring it all back home.

Big topic.  Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_9530

Under cloud and periodic rain,  I am trying to imagine ancient biblical people in a desert in huts of willow and palm, feasting with strangers on sweet harvest fruits.  Sukkot is a wonderful Jewish festival, a kind of thanksgiving and harvest festival for which people build outdoor structures from symbolic natural materials; there’s always great creativity with resources and lots of artistry, beauty and folly.  After all the emotional and spiritual heaviness of the preceding High Holidays, Sukkot represents the “Days of Our Rejoicing,” a time to be grateful for somewhere to sit down, beneath a starry sky, with family, friends and to eat, drink, relax….

Today is the last day of Sukkot this year but I didn’t want it to go by without a notice…

Read the rest of this entry »

Free school lunch for all kids, universally.  Make it part of the provision of education.  Aspire to nutritious, delicious lunches.  Let’s retreat from processed food, and watch who we give the school contracts to.  Let’s not have kids be divided by what they eat.  And UK– give them time to eat so they don’t have to wolf it down or not have time for the apple.

PS I like how the filmmakers make the point that kids in France get three courses. :)

IMG_9489

So I was 20 and the year was 1984, and I ate one of the most delicious things in my life.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Enjoy and share this great little film showing a vision, in eight principles, of Sustainable Food. The film looks at what people are doing in Manchester in the UK, but it’s all relevant in many parts of the world.  The principles hopefully feel familiar– hooray!– and put together, make an inspiring manifesto, with lots of interconnections between the categories:

Local and Seasonal

Organic for Low-Carbon, Oil Independence and Soil Health

Cut Waste and Packaging

Less Meat and Dairy

Stop Eating At-Risk Fish for Marine Habitats

Fair Trade

Health and Well-Being for All

Food Democracy for Local Economies and all Stakeholders

—————————

And check out the Kindling Trust.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 267 other followers

%d bloggers like this: