Archives for category: Healing With Food

 

 

Social Media really can widen one’s awareness of what goes on in the world.  So lucky me, on Instagram, happening to follow some fermenting accounts located, at the time of the Hurricanes, in Puerto Rico.

Of course as the storms bore down I wondered what my friends’ experience would be with their fermented foods, as a kind of disaster-proof preservation, through the violence of the storms: no electricity, no problem! But I did find myself worrying about them a little, especially with long radio silences that ensued.

(Well, it’s been pretty bad, as we all know, and I personally like to shout loud and clear the words CLIMATE FUCKING CHAOS as “weather” events keep getting wilder and more destructive.  CLIMATE ACTION NOW!  Let’s hope something radical happens in Bonn.)

The rebirth of the ancient arts of fermentation in the past decades have sprung from different sources including culinary creativity with diverse cultural influence, an interest in raw foods and nutrition, deep need for microbiome healing, an awareness of the mega-problem of food waste and the fantastic resource that is home-grown, glut-prone produce.

There has also been a kind of prepper strain– make that sauerkraut for the end of the world! As the end-of-the-world seems to be popping up here and there all over the globe for lots of people (and thankfully then beginning again), it’s a gift to our fermenting movement that Feast Yr Ears on Heritage Radio Network interviewed Brittany Lukowsky of @preservadovieques, an Instagram mate.

Have a listen to Brittany interviewed by Harry Rosenblum of The Brooklyn Kitchen (and author of the very useful and inspiring new book Vinegar Revival). They discuss many topics, paint a picture of life on the island before and after the hurricanes and a sense of the abundance and ease that fermented foods offer in a crisis situation.  Was disturbing to hear about how bees lost all their natural forage.  But inspiring to hear of the delicious curries Brittany was making.  It’s a close-in look at what surviving a hideous natural disaster might be like. Do listen:

FERMENTATION PRESERVES LIFE IN VIEQUES AFTER HURRICANE MARIA

 

Meanwhile, the heroic chef  Jose Andres has been organising amazing kitchens and networks of chefs to feed people throughout Puerto Rico, one part of the puzzle, and you can be inspired here.

Here’s a foundation to donate money to help rebuild Puerto Rican agriculture with an emphasis on local food security and food sovereignty . I learned about this through @eldeparamentodelafood and read about some of this work here.  There’s the worry that because the agricultural (and horticultural) sectors have been so utterly destroyed, this might be a shock doctrine kind of moment for export agriculture, when what is needed and wanted so hopefully is the opposite– the rebuilding of an agro-ecological way of growing that can meet food needs locally.

In New York City, there’s the @queerkitchenbrigade, cooking and pickling and sending delicious, healthful food to home islands where people really need this good nutrition.  They can use our help!

 

 

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Shredded CARROTS and RADISHES, RUBYKRAUT, PICKLED CHILLIS and CELERY, CORIANDER, DILL, OIL and SCRAP APPLE BLACKBERRY VINEGAR.

Often when I teach workshops, participants seeking the health benefits of fermented foods ask about consuming them: how do we eat these foods? how do we incorporate them into our diet, our day, our meals? How do we use the ferments we make?

So I launch into my talk on the variable use of the word “pickle” and the idea of a savoury morsel, and sauerkraut and kimchi as foods that go as condiments or digestives or piquant flavour-rounders with many other foods.  And of course you can cook with ferments, and traditionally around the world many functioned to preserve raw ingredients later to be be used in cooked dishes like soups and stews. I explain how I like to toss kraut and small pieces of pickles in green salads, and sometimes to puree them in dressings, and to add probiotic, succulent brine to bolster flavour and acid. Raw is good for maximum bacterial benefit.

Lately I’ve been layering ferments in root vegetable salads.  These salads are nourishing, delicious, filling, and can be invented truly from what’s on hand in a well-stocked kitchen of local and seasonal ingredients. If you find yourself fermenting, then you’ll have interesting, creative fermented elements to incorporate, for endless possibilities, into your meals.

The formula I’ve been obsessed with is so basic: shredded roots, layered with a ferment and fresh herbs, then dressed.  And add whatever you like. Proportions are yours to decide. Leftovers are yours to use up.  Alliums, garlic, ginger and spices– yours to choose.

Here are a few salads I’ve made recently on this theme.

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Shredded BEETROOT and LEEK, RED ONIONS, SAUERKRAUT w white cabbage, spring greens, radish tops, coriander and cumin seed and ginger, PARSLEY, RED PEPPERS, Olive Oil and Vinegar.

 

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SWEDE (rutabaga), CARROT, KIMCHI with dandelion, cleavers, alexanders, chives, CORIANDER LEAF, DILL, YELLOW and RED PEPPERS, OLIVE OIL, LEMON JUICE, SESAME OIL.

 

 

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SWEDE, CARROT, LEEK, CELERY, some smashed PRESERVED LEMON, SAUERKRAUT, DILLWEED, AVOCADO,  the TURMERIC-Y BOTTOM of a JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE PICKLE, Olive Oil. (Fish would have been so nice in this!)

 

 

 

 

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My son is lying in bed home from school with severe intermittent cramping, and of course my first thought as always is to try to get some fermented food into him. (Pretty sure it’s not his appendix.) I know that fighting bacteria with bacteria is effective, and that probiotic, bacterial-rich ferments, even small spoonfuls of “pickle juice” (brine), support a rebalance.  So I’m relieved when he requests “one of [my] homemade fizzy drinks”  — some version of water kefir.

There is continuously new research emerging about the microorganisms in our digestive systems and relationship to disease, including dementia, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes.  Yesterday I read about research concerning Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in this regard, and an interesting summation of positive and negative aspects of antibiotics.  And there have been absolutely fantastic episodes on BBC Radio 4 on the Food Programme, if you are lucky enough to have access to these links:  That Gut Feeling Part One and That Gut Feeling Part Two.  Since listening to these radio docs, I have been thinking of my own microbiome as an organ I can easily make healthier by daily dietary choices, such as increasing fibre, variety and of course including raw and unpasteurised and fermented foods, as well as reducing processed foods. Read the rest of this entry »

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A medieval garden – from British Library MS Royal 6 E IX f. 15v

The Healing Power of a Garden – A Medieval View.  Came across this article this morning and felt a surge of springtime joy, reading about Henry of Huntingdon’s Anglicanus Ortus, a Verse Herbal of the Twelfth Century.

“This is no ordinary herbal: the work is staged first as a discussion between a master and a student walking around a garden, inspecting the plants in their separate beds, and then as an awkward performance by the same master before Apollo and a critical audience, seated in a theatre at the garden’s centre. Beyond its didactic and performative aspects, the entire work is framed as a prayer to God’s generative capacity and the rational order of nature.” –http://pims.ca/pdf/st180.pdf 

Check out this link for enticing excerpts pertaining to oregano, strawberry, dill, horseradish, and more.  Am a bit sad it’s a $175 book — doesn’t it feel like historical cultural production like this should somehow exist in the commons, for all of us to learn from and enjoy? Maybe this is a book Google might buy and put up on the web…

Welsh Fermentation Festival

We are excited to anounce our first ever Welsh Fermentation Festival, a day to explore all things fermented.  Come along for a fun day of tasting, drinking, workshops, music and more.   Stallholders and workshops to be anounced soon!

Festival will be held at Welsh Mountain Cider, Prospect Orchard, Llanidloes SY186JY

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Amazing loving solidarity work, feeding people in the refugee encampments in the cold, wet muddiness on the outskirts of Calais. Reblogging from ThatCan’tBeRightBlog.  Please share in your networks.

It’s thrilling though rare to learn about traditional fermenting with vegetables in Britain, and in Wales in particular.  This Beetroot Stout is a healing recipe that is totally new to me. Read the rest of this entry »

On the occasion of the death of Val Doonican this week, I found myself listening to this song “Cod Liver Oil.”  It’s a ballad of a man fed up with life with his withered wife, and the miracle cure of weight gain, lifted depression and renewed strength that takes place when she starts taking Cod Liver Oil.

I realised that in all these years I hadn’t paid attention to talk in my actual and virtual networks about this traditional remedy, was curious, and so sent off a quick question to my good friend Anna Jenkins, a knowledgable, very critically-minded person and a tireless researcher on matters of health and sustainability.  Watch this space if she ever develops a website.

“Is there a link you’d recommend if I wanted to learn about (fermented) cod liver oil? Or fish oils in general?” I asked Anna, expecting a link or two.

But because it was Anna I’d asked, I received a thoughtful and fairly comprehensive response, which I’m very happy to share with readers. Read the rest of this entry »

Ah yesterday was National Garlic Day but who knew until today? So I’m posting this fabulous film which seems to be online if only temporarily, by the wonderful filmmaker Les Blank who died just over two years ago now. And yesterday it was that I heard something, via an old friend’s daughter’s friend’s German grandmother: a clove of garlic simmered in milk cures anything.  OK, maybe!

Postscript 30 April: Just noticed this video has been taken down for copyright infringement.  I guess this is where you would buy it.

Never mind, it's beginning to feel like spring!

Yes, they’re daffodils, and no, they’re not edible, but I’m trying to cheer myself up and not bring all of you down.  Cough, cough, hack, hack, up in the middle of the night, cough, cough, hack, hack.  Are some of you out there the same? Pity us.

I’ve been really craving good old fashioned Chicken Soup, in which you simmer the chicken with carrots, onions, leeks, celery, parsley, peppercorns, parsnip and dill if you are lucky.  Noodles would be great– I like the way Japanese Udon noodles get all gloopy the way I remember from cans of Chicken Noodle soup when I ate such things. Cough, cough, cough. Read the rest of this entry »

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