Archives for posts with tag: short films

Stephanie Sarley is a contemporary American artist who makes these brave Fruit Art Videos.  I think they are challenging and fun to watch, as well as having the effect of making people laugh– should you want or need that pleasure.

Nessie Reid is a creative food activist working on issues of waste, access to land, and as the film above shows, on the political ecology of the dairy industry through a project called The Milking Parlour.

Recently she arrived in a public space in the city of Bristol with two cows.  We can read about her mission, and the agricultural and environmental issues she raised, here.

Please listen to this story about two little pieces of chocolate in Bergen-Belsen. “We’ll keep this for a day when you… really need help,” Francine’s mother had said to her. Read the rest of this entry »

“From the Planet of Syria we tried to send you our human voices, but they were not heard enough. Today we are sending a message by animals that they may find a listening ear.”

Sorry to visitors interested just in beautiful pictures of beautiful food- you won’t find them here today.  Instead, here’s a chilling little picture of the terrible desperation of war and starvation. I have never seen anything like these short films before.  Brace yourself and share them.

One is thankful not to get frequent opportunity to glimpse humour that emerges around fear of starvation; nevertheless these are quite brilliant ways to get a strong message out.

They came to me via Planet Syria, a campaigning group of non-violent Syrian activists seeking to engage the world in solutions to violence and extremism. The smallest gesture is to stand in international solidarity with people under siege.

For those of us with a habit that pre-dates internet bookmarking: tearing an article from a magazine and stashing it either somewhere random or somewhere sensible — in this case, for me, the latter — my copy of Claudia Roden’s The Book of Jewish Food.

So I was easily able to find “The Ones that Got Away: A Field Guide to Rare and Extinct Varieties of Jewish Fish” when, a few weeks ago, I read a poem that recalled the writer’s immigrant Jewish grandfather and  “the fish that we called “yum yum fish”/ (What WAS it?) /A mystery lost to time.”

There’s a sad nostalgia for me, thinking of the times in my life, mostly as a child around the deaths of my mother’s thousand relatives, when the food centrepiece would be a platter piled with fish, colours of salmon-orange-pink, skin-silver-bronze, white and bone-grey with bagels, slabs of cream cheese, wedges of wet tomatoes and thinly sliced onions.  These were fatty, smokey, pickle-y delicious flavours, salty, strong, and specific to a time that to me feels past.  I can’t imagine my own children enjoying this food, and I can’t imagine a social occasion at which I’d find myself now in which it would be offered– that lot of folk has died.

Remembering the generations of people who ate this way, and the knowledge and experience they held, across cultures, is one of the ways that the Slow Food Ark of Taste enters the discourse about lost and struggling traditions, in an effort to celebrate legacies of culinary diversity, and renew them.  I’m also really pleased to see Slow Food entering the important discourse about food and climate change.

Roger Mummert wrote something truly fascinating with “The Ones that Got Away,” way back in 1993; he tied together much that is fun and foodie yet also so much about loss (of people, of foodways, of fish), beneath a humorous interview with the proprietor of a famous New York City fish delicatessen. Together they paint a beguiling and informative picture of old world food traditions within contemporary global markets and ecological overfishing. Read the rest of this entry »

Last week I was contemplating various ironies that Thanksgiving sacraments of yore were more about fasting than feasting, as discussed in Ken Albala’s article “The Other Side of Thanksgiving.”  Meanwhile US activists had travelled to Cuba to enact a fasting ritual as a powerful, haunting protest against ongoing detentions at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Witness Against Torture also organises regular Friday fasts, as a means to keep the focus on this issue of justice and human rights. They are also organising a fast for the 14 year anniversary of indefinite detention in early January.

photo by Justin Norman

photo by Justin Norman

Here’s “Man in the Maze,” a short film about Food System problems (hideous) and people-centered solutions (beautiful).  The film is specific to “the geopolitical boundary with the greatest economic disparity in the world” but offers inspiration to people anywhere working hard “to rebuild the food system up from the bottom in a participatory way,” as Gary Paul Nabhan puts it in the interview — “to heal that food system, our economies, our bodies, and the land.”

Thanks to the lovely Charlotte Spring for the recommendation.

Had a small piece myself that day, and it was delicious.  And what an impressive griddle they’ve cobbled together there in the community garden.

This is the kind of lovely community event that happens around the small but bustling Saturday Market in Llanidloes, Powys, Mid-Wales. There are loads of friendly sellers and great stalls: baked goods, cheeses, vegetables, plants, vintage, charity and community set-ups, and my favourite, Jason, who sells quality “seconds” socks at discount prices. My feet have never been so happy, warmly clad in soft wool, since he has come to town.

Welshcakes are really nice to eat too, lightly warm with butter.  Here’s a recipe I plan to try one of these days.

These films by Artist-Winemaker/ Winemaker-Artist Jacob Whittaker are transfixing.  Wish I could go to this Flora Social gallery event in Carmarthen on Saturday.  Jade Mellor of Wild Pickings will also be there, amazing West Wales teacher of foraged botanical and culinary delights.

Very sad to hear that the death of Chantal Akerman is reported as suicide.

I’m posting some of the cooking scenes in Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles a film rhythmically punctuated by cooking as an extraordinary ordinary ritual. Maybe it’s the great cooking film actually, in how much is revealed of character through the enactment of labour, chore and responsibility and the social/personal weight of culture.

Read about Chantal Ackerman films here.  I hope (probably not possible) to see this London exhibition of her art and video work 30 October – 6 December, 2015.

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