Archives for the month of: May, 2014

A beautiful song and homage to corn tortillas and women who make them. I hadn’t heard of Lila Downs and now I’m a fan.  I love that she sings in lots of the languages of Mexico, not just Spanish. And I love that all the women in this video are beautiful, not just the lead singer herself!  I’m intrigued at the balance between pop music and something more serious and interesting.  And I like the sampling of different musical styles. Here I am, dancing in my chair.  I hope you will enjoy this too.

I saw this on Root Simple, a wonderful blog “about back to basics, DIY living, encompassing homegrown vegetables, chickens, herbs, hooch, bicycles, cultural alchemy, and common sense”– I reckon many of my readers would like it too.

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Pea Green Lemon Balm Juice

“Je via sano!” — apparently that’s Esperanto for “To your health!” Here’s my daughter holding the elixir of groovy, raw, detoxing, alkalising, mineralising, energising health juiced from the rampant growth in our alternately sunny and rainy spring garden.

I had impulsively thrown some marrowfat peas on one of our raised beds, and they grew so fast they were hiding our beloved chives and strawberries from the sun.  I hadn’t had a proper plan.  So I pulled them all up, and there was quite a lot of pea growth, each one maybe somewhere in between what you might imagine as a Pea Shoot and a Pea Green.  I threw my shoe in there to show you the bulk.

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The texture was a little stringy and chewy, even once pureed in a pesto with almonds and olive oil.  Not quite nice enough. I’d been then inclined just to sautee some in garlic and olive oil, but there were so many to clean and pick through. And a feeling of laziness overtook me.  How it came to me to pull out the juicer my husband bought at a carboot sale, I can’t recall.

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I had to be in London, and felt grateful, with my interest in food politics and a lapsed personal art practice, to catch the last day of The Politics of Food at the gallery of the Delfina Foundation near Victoria. Many thanks to Edible Geography for alerting me to this exhibition.

There are many artists who engage with food as a medium and a topic, with the rituals of feasting and fasting, with describing our relationship individually, socially, and culturally to it all.  But I haven’t actually seen much of this work.  I have made pieces that played with issues of domesticity, corporate dominance and food, and I’ve imagined a great theoretical project about nostalgia and ethnicity that I would like to realise someday.  I also have some inchoate but active ideas about climate change and onions that I will try to give time to.  Beyond this, I was just really curious how an art show with the theme “Food Politics” would be conceptualised and curated to represent the diverse approaches of individual artists.

There were amazing pieces here, and they deserve a wider audience. The best review I could find describes the exhibition pretty well, even if in slightly opaque art-crit speak.  I’m compelled to write about the exhibition myself, from the point of view of an artist seeking to understand why some art is both moving and pedagogical (ie, teaches and helps the viewer to think/think through an issue) without being overbearing or ideological or desiring a specific reaction or response.  However, I wouldn’t necessarily be against a piece that sought to campaign– I’m open.

(The quotations in green are from the page that is offered to visitors upon entering the gallery space.) Read the rest of this entry »

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I have a vision now of a calendrical-seasonal kitchen, in which I find uses throughout the year for ingredients I’ve made at a different moment in the wheel. I was so thrilled by the bright result of using Rosehip Syrup with Rhubarb.  I’m looking forward to making little jam tarts with my vegetables marmalades and carrot jam for summer picnics.  Mostly I have an array of maturing Scrap Vinegars to get creative with — Red Pumpkin, Pear, Rhubarb, Blackberry-Apple… Some are nearly a year and a half old, and still wonderful.  Magical ingredients, for pennies.

Lately I’ve just been splashing a spoon’s worth or so of these in glasses of water, for a kind of body-alkalizing tonic.  (Have I unabashedly revealed to all that sometimes I get kidney-pain that abates if I drink vinegar?)

This morning I strained and decanted a scrap Chaenomeles Vinegar I’d made in late November– from the scrapings and cores of the Japonica Fruit used for the very Christmassy Chaenomeles Preserve I wrote about here.

Do read about Chaenomeles — it’s inspiring to think about the illustrious past and possibilities of what we know as an ornamental in gardens.

And the vinegar is the finest perfume! It’s the fragrance of something you’d spray from a fancy bottle onto your wrist and neck before a date (if you did things like this, or had dates).  I wish the internet had a Scratch and Sniff capability.  Maybe I should put a vial in a Mary Poppins carpet-bag and start traversing Paris…

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