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Notes on Working at the Garden 11/23

24 Nov

It had been a few weeks since we had been in the garden so there was quite a bit of work to do. First of all the pumpkin plant had grown so much that it was covering many plants from getting sunlight. Secondly, branches and leaves had fallen into some of the plots, especially the multicolored radish plot. Thirdly, the tomato plant had grown and needed to be tied up. Lastly, there was so much harvesting we needed to do!

We harvested only one of the dichon because the others were not ready, but we had a lot of mustard greens ready to be harvested. Along with those, bakchoy and radish were harvested. We had two plots of radishes–one multicolored and the other all red. The multicolored plot was guerilla planted whereas the other was not. After weeks of allowing both to grow, it is valid to say that guerilla planting proved ineffective. Majority of the multicolored radish either did not grow or came out stunted and in the other plot almost every radish grew to normal size.

We also found that two of the three pepper plants had disappeared and the only one left had dried up. It’s stem had turn woody, meaning it had died. The pepper plant was in the far left corner of the entire plot, an area where most sunlight hits. It was probably receiving more sunlight than needed and less water than needed. Spacing could not have been an issue because there were no other plants crowding around the pepper plant

We did find a brand new pumpkin from the pumkin patch we had not planted. There were also some new tomatoes that had not been ripe yet. Aside from those things, much of the food, like the celery and the daikon, is almost ready to be harvested. They may need a couple more days to be fully grown.

Pictures for this day were taken by Aaron.

This is post is a combination of notes from Anuja and Patrick

Sev Puri

11 Nov

I can tell that they think we’re annoying when we invade their space. They step on us and sometimes spray watery stuff that kills a lot of the others—the ants— but it doesn’t stop us. We crawl through cracks and holes to get shelter from the scorching sun and nothing lures me more than the humans’ food.  There was one food, though, that I remember more strongly than all the others.

It looked like a soft mountain and smelled of so many different things. When you first came upon it, the bottom of this food, to me, was hard but felt like it would break any moment. That part didn’t have much taste so I managed to make my way up to the top where the interesting and flavorful part was. I came upon this the mushy part of the food. It tasted okay but my attention was set on all the colors. There were brown, white, green and red liquids slowly running down the mountain and felt as if they would drown. As I made my way past the sauces, there were specs of red powder and purple pieces that made my eyes burn—my least favorite part. At the top there were yellow string-like pieces and green leaves. Each part tasted completely different and I wished so badly that I could eat this small mountain all at once like the humans did. Of all the individual flavors I tasted, I could only imagine what all of them would taste like together. It would be an explosion of flavor in my mouth.

Since the day I stumbled upon that food, I have only eaten sweet food unwillingly and it has become monotonous. I cannot scramble for random tasteless bits any longer. For Sev Puri—what I heard them call it—I would risk getting sprayed and stomped on any day.

Minutemen Salsa

18 Oct

Momatoro’s story “Peach Boy” has been created into many different versions. One of the most prominent versions in history is the when the story is used as propaganda for WWII. The short anime film picks up on key elements of “Peach Boy”, such as Momatoro going to Demon Island, and portrays the enemies on the island as the U.S and the good guys fighting the demons as the Japanese. A country often uses propaganda during times of war or difficulty, disguising it in films and, other times, in food

Illegal immigration from Mexico has been a huge issue in United States politics—how to control the borders and prevent people from slipping over. Well one man believed that he figured out the problem and even came up with a solution to address it—Minutemen Salsa.  He thought importing salsa from Mexico led to the support of illegal immigration; thus, he created American made salsa called Minutemen Salsa. It is named after the Minutemen project that works on protecting the U.S borders from illegal immigrants. Every ingredient within the salsa is “home” grown rather than shipped from another country. Buying this salsa also benefits the cause because proceeds are donated to the Minutemen project.

After this food became popular, supporting and buying Minutemen Salsa made someone patriotic because they were supporting men and women who were protecting the United States border. People never explicitly dubbed customers of foreign salsa as traitors, but they weren’t being true to their country or being patriotic. Minutemen Salsa was portrayed as the “American Salsa” and exemplified true patriotism. Even though salsa has no connection with illegal immigration, the salsa served as propaganda in the sense that it made people aware of the illegal immigration.


Garden Update for 10/5

5 Oct

The plants have grown significantly since the the last time the class was at the garden. The major difference that was seen was that many of the plants had begun sprouting their true leaves. The the location of the plants has had a significant effect on plant growth; the daikon in the center of the plot are more mature than the daikon towards the edge of the plot. This is because the daikon towards the center of the plot receive more sunlight and are more spread out than the other daikon. We worked on the transplanting the center daikon so they had more room to grow and thinned out the rest of the plot for the same reason. Though the daikon seem to be flourishing, the mustard plant has not shown as much growth, possibly because they are very hindered and have no space to grow–thinning out must be done as soon as possible. Weeding was also done, especially to the tomato plant, to make more room for the plants and to allow the plants to receive the sunlight rather than the weeds. Some of the pumpkin plant was also removed because no pumpkins have been growing on it. The garden seems to be growing as of right now and there are a bunch of insects that like to live in it too! We found earthworms, a caterpillar, wasps, and a black widow. It’ll be interesting to see how the rapid and extreme change in weather has an impact on the garden.

The Magic of Kati Roll

27 Sep

Tanizaki epitomizes his definition of magical food in the scene where the Count “dreams food”. In his dreams the cooked shellfish dominates every part of his mind such that he can only talk about the soft look of the molluscs, the delectable smell of clam hotspot, the feeling of the warm steam rising from the shell, and the taste that makes him “[lick] the four walls of the oral cavity” (Tanizaki, The Gourmet Club). The food is described metaphorically and in such detail as if it has taken over the Count entirely; that is magical food.

New York City is known for the city that never sleeps, it’s crazy cab drivers, and, most importantly—to me—it’s small, unique food restaurants. In Greenwich Village, there is a place called Kati Roll that makes the most amazing Indian style burritos. In these paratha (Indian tortilla) wrapped burritos, they fill the inside with your choice of Indian shaak—mixed vegetables, paneer cheese, meat etc. I typically get the inside filled with potatoes and peas mixed with spices and Indian chutneys (sauces). Though this recipe seems so simple, the taste of the Kati Roll makes the taste buds jump and the salivary glands salivate as the server hands you your order. The chutneys and spices emit a strong ethnic aroma that makes me feel like I’m receiving a home cooked meal in India. When you get the Kati Roll the warmth makes you want to delve right into it, but the sometimes sizzling of the shaak reminds you that you’ll burn your tongue. The kati roll tastes so magical, you almost forget that there are so many more unique food places in New York.

Nature’s Way

16 Sep

In present times, since we are so used to relying on all these supplements, it is really difficult to find food or a meal that fits Fukuoka Masanobu’s criteria of “nature”. We typically buy a ready plant (already sprouted) that may or may not have had chemicals, fertilizer, or other nutrients added to it in order to enhance its growth.  When my family first moved into our house about 15 years ago, we planted a curry leaves plant (Indian name: Limbdo)—leaves typically added to Indian food to give it taste. My family is pretty lazy about maintaining our garden since nothing ever manages to survive; so in about 15 years the limbdo plant has received watering, by a person, probably at max 30 times otherwise it receives only the sun’s light and water once a day from the sprinklers.  Regardless, the limbdo plant, through nature, became really tall and manages to survive through those factors. We don’t even change the soil! The fact that this plant grew ample without supplements a perfect example of Fukuoka’s idea of food being created through nature.

Fukuoka goes on to criticize the modern day “foodie”, who critiques the taste of foods and analyzes what may be missing and or what could enhance the taste. People cannot appreciate the natural taste of grains, vegetables, etc. (Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution). Fukuoka’s opinion is very agreeable; because “foodies” exist, food has become more complicated than it once was. It has been split into so many different categories—ethnic origin, taste, etc. Furthermore, because there are these food critics, likes and dislikes of specific foods amongst the population have become similar, even if the “foodie” is an ordinary person.  However, “foodies” were very important in the Meiji era because their opinion allowed Japan to modernize through food to the point where there were menus in French. Politicians, businessmen, etc. always are going out to lunch with colleagues, so improving and diversifying their food, based on the opinions of “foodies”, was one way to connect with the world.

Pizza with a Twist

7 Sep

I’ve met one person in my life that has never had pizza; otherwise, everyone gets the typical cheese on marinara sauce with one or two toppings from most likely Domino’s, Pizza Hut, or Papa John’s. Being a vegetarian, for me, and probably for other vegetarians, the same vegetable toppings and standard menu can get really old, especially when pizza is same in every country! However, a couple years back, my aunt made the most ethnic and different pizza I had tasted. Instead of kneading plain dough, she added cumin to the dough—a spice almost always added to Indian food—and then maintained the standard pizza style by adding a medium thin layer of marinara sauce. Then on top of the marinara layer she layer this Indian green chutney—made of coriander leaves and few other spices— that we had leftover from eating an Indian dish called pani puri. Lastly, she topped it off with cheese, roasted garlic pieces and eggplant and a few other vegetables. It sounds like an odd mix, but the pizza had an Indian kick to it and even Pizza Huts in India didn’t come up with anything that unique. Nowadays, in places like California Pizza Kitchen, there are Mexican style pizzas, Japanese, Italian, and other ethnicities, but I have yet to see an Indian style pizza. She had just manipulated the standard pizza style to create something more Indian and it was so good because it wasn’t the bland taste of dough, sauce, meat, and vegetables, but instead there was the taste of so many spices. I love pizza and without doubt, that is my favorite “flavor” of pizza.