Archive by Author

Sustainable Food, Where It’s At

13 Dec

In the past week or two I’ve come across 2 TED talks related to food (I do realize this is a bit late for anyone who was looking for possible essay topics):

The first is about adding insects to our diet!

And the second is on creating Sustainable Restaurants!

Please comment if you watch either of these.  I’d like to know what you guys think!

Compost Review

12 Oct

What was used to turn the compost

Weekend of September 18-19:

added to compost: bananas, egg shells, lettuce, and found a bag of coffee grounds mixed in.

what the compost looked like before it was watered

what the compost looked like after it was watered











Weekend of September 25-26:
Compost watering and turning was missed this week.


Weekend of October 2-3:

Dry compost, with some plants starting to grow from it!



I realized i had to water it a lot more, why not both turn and water the compost at once?



Added grapes, more egg shells, more lettuce and cabbage












Weekend of October 9-10:

Turned and watered!

I didnt have anything to bring, but found a lot of these dry leaves added to the compost

Food for All Senses

4 Oct

When we think of food, our stomachs growl and taste buds begin to water.  Motojiro, in “Lemon,” however, is able to find satisfaction with a fruit that he purchases without even consuming it.  He lifts the lemon to his nose and enjoys its scent, then remarks at how it feels as a weight in his hand, and finally tops off his castle of books with it, possibly in appreciation of its natural beauty, balance, and organic form.

The closest I may remember of having come to a magical “meal” like Motojiro’s may be the oranges and apples my grandmother places on the shrine ever two weeks.  These are not magical strictly in the spiritual gifting sense, but also as a form of interior decoration that absorbs space in the living room.  That altar would definitely feel empty and lacking if my younger sisters took the oranges for lunch and did not replace them.

In a practice drawing session I conjured a plate of plums for myself and a friend to sketch.  Where we differed from Motojiro, unfortunately, was that we had the intention of eating the plums after we were finished using them for an alternate purpose.  Nothing shines and reflects light like a freshly picked, juicy, purple plum.  And as we observed the mountain of plums, each one was appeared different in a stack of glowing purple orbs.  sahdows from one falling onto the other; they “absorbed the colors” of the environment they were in:

“As I stood back to take a look, I realized the lemon was quietly absorbing the melody of the jumbled colors into its spindle-shaped self.”  (Motojiro 339)

And who can’t recall a still life that they’ve seen in which the fruit seemed full of life and magic?

In Search of Pizza

16 Sep

Pizza isn’t really that difficult to find.  I mean, there are chains of stores built just to serve us, the customers, an instant box of pizza topped with a bunch of toppings of our choice.  However, my sister and I, already too familiar with the taste of America fast food pizza, sought to find a more prestigious, special pizza,  to eat not only for the sole purpose of filling our stomachs, also to educate our taste buds as to what is closer to the “root” of pizza.

So we found a nice, but not too fancy Italian restaurant in the the neighboring city, and in retrospect, made the mistake of ordering to-go.  The pizza took quite a bit of time to prepare, perhaps nearly half and hour or so, and the time spent creating the food in the traditional fashion was part of the prestige that we absorbed when eating it.  Everything was prepared on a more personal level, rather than by machines, from the rolling and spinning of the dough to the preparation of fresh toppings.  Our failure was to not dine on the retaurant itself and miss the finality of the experience.

The taste of the pizza was unlike any other we’d eaten before, and what we were being fed was not just tomato sauce on top of a flattened piece of bread, but Italian culture imported onto our kitchen table.  This desire for taste over the core function of food (to provide us with energy and nutrients) is a foodie’s mission, and creates a venue through which ideas and values are traded and merged, not explicitly, but as complementary side dish.

Folding dumplings

9 Sep

Every meal that Mother makes I would consider personal and “customized.”  She just has a way of predicting what our family’s taste buds are craving at the moment.  So it follows that the cultural foods that our family gather ‘roudn the dinner table to prepare together form an even deeper bond between us; a truly personal and familial experience.

Forgive me but I must say that of all the dishes we have shared and “customized”, I choose to speak of dumplings not only because the public is fairly familiar with them but also because I have no clue as to how to explain or romanize the names of other foods.

Whereas dumplings made by the recipe follow a strict set of instructions, Mother gathered my sisters and I around the table and gave us a hands on experience with dumpling folding.  While our technical skill never matched hers, we sought to push the boundaries of dumpling folding given the 3 basic steps:
1) spread egg white onto the wrapping
2) place filling on the wrapping
3) and fold.

What we got from this experience was the fun of not only eating good dumplings, but dumplings that were different, not store-bought nor manufactured; and each dumpling had a fingerprint.  For example I could tell a certain dumpling was mine if it was folded in the form of an envelope, a letter filled with meat addressed to myself.

And every time we would encounter the inevitable “omg more meat than wrappings” problem, resulting in a lot of fat dumplings, that actually don’t taste that bad!  Whereas the community or company may have a  notion of an “ideal” dumpling, the ideal is not necessarily the best tasting or the most enjoyable.  A lot of the thought behind the food counts, too even if it may be the simple exclusion of a food someone has an allergy against.

State of the Garden 2010.09.06

9 Sep

I believe this picture sums it all up:

Watering the Garden

The plants loved it

4:30pm Monday afternoon the moisture in the ground had all but evaporated.  I watered each plant, filling the moat slowly up to the top and then letting the ground absorb the water.  The plants were watered enough with the assumption that it would be hot and sunny the following day.

However Tuesday morning came with cloudy weather, and most of the moisture from the watering remained in place.  It follows to keep weather forecasts in mind as the garden is being watered, though it hardly ever rains here.