Thursday, February 27, 2014

This week's compost

Food stories a bit thin on the ground this last couple of weeks but the presses must roll on (electronically, that is)

Short eat
Niece Casey reports that at the cafe she works reports a phenomenon new to me. Asian young clients who order by calling up images their friends have taken on Instagram and such of go-to dishes and pointing to them without looking at the menu.

11. Stunt Burger Masters PYT Debut the Deep-Fried Ellio’s Pizza Burger

The world of Wall E is just a bun away...

2.      Tomatoes watered by the sea: sprouting a new way of farming

'The concept is to turn sunlight and seawater (“sundrops”) into clean food, water and energy. It harnesses the sun’s energy to produce heat that is then used to desalinate seawater and supply freshwater to a greenhouse; to power the greenhouse with a linked concentrated solar power plant; and to produce the heat needed to warm (and cool) the greenhouse.'

An elegant simple sustainable solution.

3.      Edible Education 101: The Rise and Future of the Food Movement

“Edible Education 101: The Rise and Future of the Food Movement” is a class put on by Berkley and the Edible Schoolyard. Each class is recorded and open to the public over the internet. Here are the first two:
“Introductions and the Rise of Industrial Agriculture” presented by Michael Pollen

“The Green Revolution and the Economics of the Food System” presented by Raj Patel

Friday, February 7, 2014

This week's compost

1.      Pasona Urban Farm

"It is important to note that this is not a passive building with plants on the walls, this is an actively growing building, with plantings used for educational workshops where Pasona employees and outside community members can come in and learn farming practices."

An architect mate of mine sent me off to see this inspiring office with not just your everyday ho hum vertical garden but a fully functioning farm, rice field included.

2.      My Kitchen Rules: people pushed to breaking point screaming at food
‘Should that not sufficiently put you off, there’s the contrasting aural tonnage emitted by the contestants madly careening around the kitchen as they descend into a psychotic rage for your sedentary amusement. People pushed to breaking point screaming at food seems to get ratings but is nevertheless a disturbing televisual concoction, like watching Jack Bauer interrogate a muffin. It makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong every time I manage to cook a meal without using a megaphone to hurl abuse directly into my partner's cranium.’

Possibly the funniest crit I have read of a tv food program.

3.      How to eat: hot dogs

‘The integrity of the hotdog as a portable product can only be maintained if key rules are observed. 1) All toppings must be secured either under a layer of grilled cheese or, on a top-loader, by making sure said toppings are firmly tucked deep into the bun's cleft. It may look appealing, but anything you stack in a teetering pile atop a hotdog, will end up on the floor as soon as you take a bite. 2) It is all too rare, but sauces should be applied under the sausage so they don't end up all over your top lip and nose. 3) The bun must not be sopping wet. Anything moist, ie. beef chilli, pulled pork, should be placed on top of the sausage, not just poured all over the bun.’

The author makes some excellent points in other parts of this article but I think is very wrong in the matter of toppings. As with a burger, a large part of the pleasure of eating the hot dog is in trying to avoid getting toppings squirting violently at the person immediately in front of you, or drenching your shirtfront, both of which can only be avoided I find by having the toppings coat one’s fingers, palm, wrists, and in extreme cases elbow, which is to be enjoyed and not dismayed by as it leads to that delicious descent into childhood where one then proceeds to contort the arm like some deranged acrobat as one tries to lick the gunk off.

4.      Extra Virgin Suicides

Why am I not surprised?

5.      How the experts use salt in their cooking  - and why

‘Never cook peas and broad beans in salted water unless you prefer their skin hard and cracked. And don't salt mushrooms before they're cooked, unless you actually want them limp and shrivelled.’


However, now I also know why I love salt on pineapple and granny smiths and feel smugly justified.

6.      Bread, Freedom, Social Justice: The Egyptian Uprising and a Sufi Khadima

‘The tension between present and future also figures in the call of Egyptian protesters for bread, freedom, and social justice. The demand for bread points to present need. Bread (‘aīsh) in Egyptian Arabic literally means life. Bread is a staple food in Egypt that has been state-subsidized for decades. International Monetary Fund–enforced cuts led to bread riots in 1977, and rising food prices are today often associated with the looming danger of a “revolution of the hungry” yet to come. At the same time, while symbolically calling for bread, activists in Egypt often dismiss food distribution as “anti–social justice.” Many claim that Egypt’s widespread “culture of charity” is in fact the primary reason why a revolution did not happen sooner. The argument is familiar: Handouts allow the poor to get by and keep them quiet but will never lead to true change. In this sense, the prioritizing of the future has affected not only the work of NGOs but also shaped (and narrowed) visions of social justice.’

A fascinating article for those of us interested in the hospitality of the table and social justice and where and how the two intersect. It is also a provocative critique of current models of both ‘charity’ and development and humanitarian aid.

BTW the Journal of Cultural Anthropology from which the article comes has just gone completely open accessible on line J