Archives for the month of: September, 2015

Here’s a beautiful short film in which Sandor Katz talks about processes of fermentation. He is funny and compelling– and I will always be grateful to him for Wild Fermentation which has been such an influential, important book in my life.  Using Wild Fermentation I taught myself basic skills that now serve me constantly in the kitchen, but the book also presents a wonderful vision in which personal, political and microbial transformation serve as metaphors for each other.  Wild Fermentation is a guide to practical alchemy (and for this reason, if you have to make a choice, buy it before the also wonderful The Art of Fermentation).

This film captures some of the magic. Read the rest of this entry »

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LEFTOVERS; FERMENTS; RESISTANT STARCH; GREAT SALADS

Yesterday I made this delicious Moroccan tomato salad inspired by a recipe in Paula Wolfert’s The Food of Morocco.  It’s a great late summer/ early autumn dish, with tomatoes and grilled peppers and onions in a lemony (in fact preserved-lemony) vinaigrette, spiced with paprika and cumin.

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But we didn’t finish it in one meal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fairfood International and a Moroccan Tomato Salad

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Fairfood International is an Amsterdam-based organisation that campaigns “to improve the socio-economic conditions of vulnerable people in our food system, such as smallholder farmers, workers (especially women) and consumers, and to ensure the sustainable production and consumption of food,” as they explain on their website.  You can learn a lot on their site about global commodity foods and workers’ lives in industries like pineapples from the Philippines, Shrimp from Asia, Vanilla from Madagascar and Central American Sugarcane.

I’ve been impressed with their efforts against poor working conditions, low wages, job insecurity, and pesticide exposure among people working in the really huge tomato industry in Morocco. Read the rest of this entry »

Addressing hunger with food-waste might seem like a perfect kill-two-birds-with-one-stone approach to large social-economic problems. I’m not so sure about this and am working on a piece of writing that began around early campaigning in the UK to follow the French lead in legislating supermarket food waste. Haven’t really sorted through my thoughts and critiques yet, but am collecting ideas around this theme. Megan Blake is an academic geographer at University of Sheffield and writes a blog about food justice and hunger, among other issues. This piece I’m now reblogging is a really good beginning, and I’m hoping posting it will help me sort through my own thoughts on this topic. She puts the connection of waste and hunger in the context of neoliberal ideas of the market, and looks at activists seeking to shift the values of the debate from the economic to a social realm.

GeoFoodie

I recently participated in symposium that was considering waste in relation to food.  It was put on as a pre-conference event to the 2015 RGS/IBG meetings held in Exeter. The symposium, which took place on a working farm, was both fascinating and very engaging. You can find out more about the event and its participants on the web site developed by the organisers here.  I encourage you to have a look at the link as you will learn about West Town Farm and the activities of the day. My role at the symposium was to give a short talk around the issue of food waste and neoliberalism.  I chose to use an excellent food re-use project–The Real Junk Food Project–as a mechanism for focusing my questions. I am offering the text of my provocation in what follows.  

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When welfare reforms result in hunger, is the government failing its international human rights obligations?

This video explains the issues really well.

Reblogged from Church Action on Poverty.

On the Greek island of Lesbos, thousands of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other war-torn countries are coming to shore each week,” writes Annia Clezadio.  Local people are responding in the spirit of Social Kitchens, recognising real need, cooking and eating together. creating meals as a place of sharing and shared humanity rather than charity. Read “This Kid Came Up to Ask How Much the Food Cost. I Told him It Was Free” on Upworthy for a really inspiring picture of how things can be — how things are in fact, pockets of hope and kindness in the hugeness of crisis facing refugees from war in Syria and elsewhere.  It’s the best thing I’ve read in a while, so READ IT — and it includes a recipe for Kosta’s Bigouli for 1,000, a warm-spiced pasta dish that resonates as comfort food throughout the different communities.  You can help out here.

A long spoon, a bit pot. Photo by Annia Ciedzlo

More of Kosta, in Athens:

Even in our part of mid-Wales, even at the level of current hardship our British Austerity presents, there’s a choice– and you hear this reflected in the way people respond to the possibility of “migrants” and refugees coming to settle among us.  There’s a fear that there’s not enough to share. It’s around this fear that things get ugly, that racist attitudes get enflamed, that a sense of protecting one’s own community becomes something you choose over helping people, which you’d like to be able to do, if.  If.

The Parable of the Long Spoons is so instructive, such a powerful guide, to remember there’s more for everything in the sharing, perhaps especially when circumstances feel the most dire. This seems to be what’s happening on Lesbos, in Greece.  It’s not a choice between Them and Us, the best choice is Them and Us together.

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I commend Annia Ciezadio for picking up on the “story.”  I think we have a lot to look forward to in her writings and exploration of war and food.

Here’s something truly amazing Annia Ciezadlo wrote about community gardens and people trying to feed themselves in Yarmouk, the long time Palestinian camp in Damascus that’s been for years now under siege by Assad government troops and more lately by ISIL as well.  Somehow, in spite of violence, starvation, illness, assassination– truly desperate at a level hard to imagine — people are managing a dark sense of humour and keep planting seeds and moving forward.   Another must-read.

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GOFUNDME to get money to Kosta for his work

Nearly two years old, but this interview with Prof. Tim Lang is so wide ranging and stimulating, I wanted to repost it.  Have a listen when you get the chance– say, if you need to scrub your floor or make some kimchi for a friend with flu. It’s a broad discussion of what food politics means in Britain, in this era of corporate dominance and a policy of austerity.

If you’d prefer to read the interview, you can find it here.

I don’t cease to be thankful for how much knowledge and perspective is ours for free on the internet, and how people we know and don’t know, in this case Sophie Laggan, a food policy researcher/ activist whom I follow on Twitter, direct us through links and posts.  It’s meaningful for me to be part of that sharing too.

By the way, there’s loads of great material to listen to on the Transition Culture Soundcloud.

potato surprise   thomas' trucks

I have a Celebrity Crush.  Well… maybe she’s not really a celebrity, but Sophie Herxheimer is a London artist who works with people, stories and food.  She’s an incredibly creative artist and poet, and I get that tingle of excitement and possibility when I see or read her work.  It seems like her talents, interests, politics, and spirit are united and energised in a way I aspire mine to be.  She works with topics beyond food— but I wanted to share with Kitchen Counter Culture readers some of the work that might interest us the most.

Read the rest of this entry »

Source: Anaerobic Digestion: Green Gas or Green Wash?

People fleeing the hideous violence in Syria are very much on our minds.

Looking at photos of what goes into luggage packed as people flee their homes, you see there’s really very little food going with them on their journeys. Refugees must be hungry indeed, and in such difficulty taking care of the needs– body and spirit– of their children and themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

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