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Spicy Pumpkin Vinegar, made from pulps I could have thrown out.  A glorious enzymatic condiment for brightening, souring, finishing and … drinking!  Pumpkin Scrap-cum-Vinegar plus Fermented Chilli Pepper Skins is a match made in heaven…  or Upcycling Kitchen-Counter-Culture paradise, at least…

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Once upon a time we carved a pumpkin for Halloween, and instead of roasting the seeds, I fermented them for a scrap vinegar.  This is such an easy thing to do.  Cover your fruit scraps

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I cried yesterday. I cried reading about the death of Samar Al-Hallaq and her two little boys, and how she was pregnant. Through this siege of Gaza I’ve seen pictures of people fleeing and children in hospital and lots of gruesome horrendous imagery. This death touches me extra somehow. A mother. Two little boys. Pregnant. Working with embroidery. The details made this woman particular for me; I felt her death as a personal loss.

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.…in which Kitchencounterculture explores local food, locavorism, veganism, climate impacts of diet, and A MASSIVE LIST OF RABBIT RECIPES from a really great collection of cookbooks…

In my freezer are two rabbits, which a local man, H,  the getting-elderly but still a-hunting brother of a friend, had in his freezer.  For £3 each it was hardly a sale but rather an exchange.  “Cook it like a chicken,” he advised, and told me he’d cut it in seven pieces: two back legs, 2 front legs, two middle bits and a “bonnet” (the ribs).  He recommended I “casserole” it: fry the pieces in a pan with carrots and onions, then tip it in a roasting tin with gravy, or wine, or beer.

My friend, H’s brother P, said H would have hung it for a few hours after bringing it  home (probably this time with a ferret not a rifle — I didn’t think to ask but will, and will update here), then gutted it, then hung it again for a few days before skinning and putting it into parts.  These are men who’s childhoods would have been 70 years ago.  H remembers his mother Sybyl roasting rabbit very plainly, but she would never eat anything wild herself, though duck was also on the menu for these country children of mid-Wales back then.

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From Claudia Roden’s The Book of Jewish Food, I made Torta di Erbe, translated as “Green Tart,” which somehow tickled my funny-bone. It’s a Roman tart, she says, and also known as “Pizza Ebraica” (Jewish pizza).

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SHARING THE LOVE…

My first child’s first food, as a newborn, was donated breast milk, and I’ll always be grateful she had such a great first start. Huge gratitude to that generous woman in the breastfeeding room (ha!) of the hospital; she sat there pumping her milk into little plastic bottles that went into the fridge there for the use of whoever needed it.  It took me a couple of weeks to get my proper flow going.

This is a thrilling story, the first Human Baby Milk Bank in North India.

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“Gaza death toll rises above 200, Israel suffers first casualty.”  That’s the first news that comes up on my screen. Pretty awful times in Palestine and Israel too right now, the airstrikes and deaths and destruction, and the terrible racist rhetoric, and lots of violence against anti-occupation Jewish activists as well.  And the sirens and anxiety in Israel itself.

Peaceful people watching this situation are anguished — ones who can imagine different scenarios of justice and resolution and a politics that recognises multiple points of view.  Might does not make Right.  But Might can demand an echoing vengeance of trauma through generations, through the souls of people who lose loved ones, family, friends, properties, trees, gardens, homes– and turn that despair into revenge and rage, or not.

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I have started an occasional project to film peoples’ hands when they talk about food and cooking.  I’ve only posted one so far, but there are more to come.

Today I was chatting with a friend and suddenly noticed her hands– three fingers on each one and knobs of bones and some tales of failures by surgeons. She is 75, beautiful, a free spirit, a collector of wool who crochets mad Log Cabin patterns, a guitar player, a cook, a fermenter.

Her mother had had one finger on each hand. Her grandmother had had a job in the 1920’s in a watch factory, hand-painting numbers on watch faces with night-luminous Radium paint; to get a sharp nib, she’d form the paintbrush into a point in her mouth between dabs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Corn as “Bio-Artifact.”  Corn through which to understand the relationship between humans and a biological seed, through the dynamics of history.  Corn as a lens to view the tension between Food as a Commons and Food as Commodity.  Corn as a brilliant idea for an art exhibition.  Beam me to Oaxaca, Scotty!

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Today is a Day of Action against TTIP, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. People all over the place are doing stuff. I am at home wishing I were in a group, but instead I’m just writing this post hoping it will somehow help.  If you are moved, educate  yourself, and please contact your important politicians and be vocal through your networks about the bad news to us this and other trade agreements will bring.  Exercise your voice while you still can.

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Thank you Bill Whitehead for the much-appreciated opportunity to laugh.

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