Archives for posts with tag: Resources

Everyday, day in and day out, people land on this blog having searched the phrase “What do Syrian Refugees Eat?” This is a bit puzzling to me, because I’ve barely posted on this topic at all, only occasionally to fundraise for Calais Kitchens and Refugee Community Kitchen.

But I’ve long felt I should lead seekers somewhere good, and at last I’ve learned of “Savoring Syria”

a project dedicated to telling the stories of Syrians and Syria through the lens of food. The conflict in Syria has led to the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. From the yearning for a taste of home to the efforts to preserve intangible yet crucial cultural heritage, these stories access the Syrian diaspora through the universal language of food.

Have a look! It’s full of great stories and recipes and might answer some of the questions you are seeking.  There are still many other kinds of stories that need to be told, but I’m looking forward to watching this project grow.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 01.33.24.jpgIf you are interested in the culture, politics, ecology and economy of food in Palestine, may I recommend FoodJusticePalestine, a quite remarkable website curating diverse articles and voices from around the web on many aspects of eating and growing there.

Had I been following this site earlier, I might have been aware, for example, of the neoliberal trade context that makes Nutella a normal part of life in occupied territories, despite an initial dismay, elucidated for me by Aisha Mansour in this article. I’ve also come to question my own assumed unequivocal support of fairtrade products from Palestine, a movement that is well intentioned (and so much about solidarity) but needs to be examined in terms of issues of food sovereignty at the broadest levels.

“International fair-trade companies have also decreased Palestinian self-sufficiency. These companies offer local farmers a slightly higher price for their products than the price in the local market, but the real price of this practice is that high-quality local (baladi) produce is removed from the local market and sold to the global market at much higher prices. This has increased inequalities in Palestinian society, creating a minority of wealthy businesspeople, and leaving an entire population with low quality, imported food.”

There’s much more on this Tumblr site – articles about foodways, Permaculture, trade deals, land rights and more.  In fact it brings together so many aspects of how and why food is interesting to me.  So I wanted to share it on my blog.  Have a look and fall into a rabbit hole of fascination…  You don’t need to join Tumblr to view, but joining means you can follow people and ‘scapbook’ your own posts.

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“How do making dumplings help people learn English?” Here’s a link to a great project in Manchester, Heart and Parcel. I wanted to RE-BLOG this practical piece about the methodology of teaching ESOL through cooking, and to share the website in general with its fantastic dumpling recipes as well as interesting articles, particularly this one I felt, on Policy, Pierogi and the Perceptions of Women.

“The dumplings and wrapped foods that we make during our sessions are a vehicle. We are not making dumplings as a means to an end, nor do we expect that all women can make, or immensely enjoy, making dumplings. We are making dumplings as a distraction; to create the process by which our participants can explore their minds, their talent, their potential, either through the task at hand (maybe we will get fantastic dumpling makers!) or through conversations had between those women, through information and knowledge being shared and transferred from one woman to another, from one community to another.”

Heart & Parcel

There are currently many women living in Britain who have a wealth of pre-existing skills and resources to offer, but do not have the required English language level to do so. These are the women that Heart & Parcel aims to support.

What is ESOL and why is it in trouble?

The government offers ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision which is free English classes for migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers who come to Britain and need help learning the language. Due to media sensationalist coverage on ‘migrants’ and a highly politicized discourse, the general public have been ill-informed about who comes to this country, for what reasons and the amount of provision or hand-outs they receive.  This misinformation perpetuates a negative view surrounding those who require these classes. A combination of all these factors lead to funding for ESOL being insecure and unstable (Hamilton & Hiller…

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These are Kimchi Latkes, a pan-fried potato cake made and served with that ever-moreish Korean fermented cabbage condiment. Here the latkes are served in traditional style with sour cream and apple sauce as well.

And these are Pumpkin Pakora, a delicious treat with Scottish peasemeal and scrummy vegetables, perhaps slightly-more deep fried than other “pan” cakes but not necessarily so.

I’m sure as many of you do, I make stuff like this fairly often.  At some point I conceptualised these kind of cakes/ fritters/ patties as a genre, as something I could fiddle around with not using recipes, using what was on hand so as to use-up and not waste and please everyone around.  There can be a tender-morsel/ hor d’oeuvres quality, or a sense of burger to them as well.

I’ve talked about how I believe a cultural and media focus on fancy food and recipes may be part of the problem in people not cooking, feeling they don’t know how or can’t.  We all learn in different ways.  I think for many of us, there might be empowerment in knowing that perfection doesn’t matter, that you can throw things together with certain principles rather than instructions and specifics.  Certainly a looser approach means less kitchen waste in that you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy ingredients, and you are afforded a creativity in using up what you do have on hand.  I’ve tried to demonstrate this with frittatas and minestrone and some other posts I never quite finish.

Lately I’ve read two great approaches to making veggie pan “cakes”, and I wanted to share them with readers.

The first was this excellent Anna Stockwell article about Maria Speck’s approach to “Veggie Patties.”  It’s truly worth bookmarking for every home cook and food educator, because it’s schematic but leaves loose for the pleasures of experimentation.

And just today the lovely Zero-Waste Chef posted something similar on her thoughts on Vegetable Fritters.  I find Anne-Marie’s use of Sourdough Starter in this way very interesting.

Needless to say, for fermenting enthusiasts, there’s loads of opportunity to throw in our sundry creations.

Whatever ingredients you choose to play with, I find thinking this way liberating and fun– including the salsas and hot sauces you could serve as enticing condiments.


A 24 May 2016 postscript: see this fantastic Guardian piece: Anna Jones’ Versatile Veggie Fritter Recipe.  I love her work.

Today is Nakba Day, a day organised to remember the “displacement, dispossession, and dispersal” of the people of Palestine, an extremely unhappy part of the history of Palestine/ Israel.  Reading stories and accounts, really sitting with the agony, violence and dislocation, has surely given me an empathy to Palestinians, even, perhaps especially, from my point of view as a person of Jewish descent and cultural identity, in the specific ways I grew up understanding what these were.

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Hooray for the Vegetable Orchestra, and hope you enjoy listening while you peruse below.  As usual, articles, resources, links et al. are piling up on my to-share list.  They’re the customary Kitchencounterculture mix of political, community, and DIY domestic.  Hope they are of interest…

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PLANTING CORN, NOT PIPELINES : Kitchencounterculture gets fascinated by people in Nebraska reminding us of the importance of corn as a central and a symbolic food… linking climate, water and food movements … bringing together unlikely allies.   The Cowboy-Indian Alliance protests in an exciting new way.  Read on…

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People in rural Nebraska are protesting the Keystone Pipeline running through their lands, and doing it in an exciting way, reflecting agricultural history and a vision for the future.. Thanks to the internet, one can live halfway across a large yet small world and find oneself piecing together a story that makes important connections between food and climate movements. Watch this local newscast:

The Cowboy Indian Alliance represents the fact that new coalitions and allegiances are necessary to a diverse Climate Movement.  Read about it via 350.org and in this link, with great photos.  The symbolism of the alliance, two groups so mythically/historically/stereotypically opposed, speaks loudly against the dangers of the Keystone Pipeline, and of the Tar Sands project too, regarding climate instability as overarching and destruction of water supplies and communities as immediate..

Climate Access describes the healing aspects of movement building that the Cowboy-Indian Alliance represents.  This link shares positive, meaningful lessons.

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A Link for You: The Anarchist's Teapot Mobile Kitchen's Guide to Feeding the Masses

I love this photograph so much, borrowed from the site on Wikipedia for Can Masdeu, an amazing old leprosy hospital squatted as social centre and community gardens just outside Barcelona. I feel priveliged to have stayed there briefly in the early days, my husband taking part in an international youth gathering on Climate Change. I was pretty wrapped up in caring for my young baby.  Yet I remain to this day inspired inspired by the participatory, DIY-style mass catering, based on principles of everyone contributing in beautiful anarchist style.  I also remember such happy, bountiful feasting, mostly on food that had been taken from skips. And I remember a friend  who was just in ecstacy at the skipping possibilities in the markets of Spain, as opposed to those behind  supermarkets in grey Britain: Avocados! Mangoes! Peppers!  He was in his Vegan Heaven and it was a joy to witness his joy.  (Hello Dara if Fate would ever have you read this!)

Anyway, I wanted to share that photo, along with a link to this fantastic resource from The Anarchist Teapot:

The Anarchist Teapot Mobile Kitchen’s Guide to Feeding the Masses if you and yours find yourself in need of a little guidance.

 

Concentration of Agricultural Land

I want to state an intention then find the time to write about the conceptual differences between the phrases “Food Security” and “Food Sovereignty.” I stand with Food Sovereignty, which is: rooting our food closer and closer to people and home and less and less reliant on manufacture and distribution through large economic and financial systems.

If you look at this graphic you might feel a narrowing in your gut.  It goes against the grain of the wisdom proclaimed by Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food.  If you want you can read his report here or read about it in this summary piece on Truth-Out called The Transformative Potential of the Right to Food.   We really need to buck the trends and claim back our power as citizens not consumers, growers not shoppers, participants in ever smaller circles of economy.  The concentration of agricultural land and power in the hands of Big Players is a dangerous game especially in light of climate unpredictability.

This concentration of ownership is a global trend, but here in the UK, so many of us Social Optimists  have placed faith in The Cooperative, which is now in dubious financial trouble and selling off its resources.  Please support, if only with a signature, even better with activism as a member, to halt the fire sale of Co-op Farms, which are a resource that smaller, less financially solvent buyers might want a shot at owning.

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/sale-of-co-operative-group-farms

Here you can read the green economist  Molly Scott Cato arguing really persuasively for why the farms are the most important part of the Co-op group, more than the shops…

And here’s an article on the outrageous new Tory policy towards small farms in Britain —-arrrghghghghghhrrrrr:

http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2364508/small_scale_farmers_are_feeding_our_future.html

Sorry, so brief, am in a mad dash…

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