This is (alas!) not food. Food will definitely make its return to this here cooking blog. But in the meantime, I spent yesterday afternoon at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with a new (to me) camera lens — an Olympus 12mm f/2.0 — and I thought I’d share a few pictures.
I bought the lens for another project, and I haven’t really had time to use it very much for the past couple of weeks. So the museum — with its well-illuminated interiors and well-considered design — seemed like a perfect opportunity. And the Olympus 12mm didn’t disappoint.
Apparently, I’m still on a root vegetable kick. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I am still feeling overwhelmed by my winter CSA. My kitchen is currently filled with potatoes, sweet and ordinary. It’s filled with turnips and rutabaga. It’s filled with carrots, parsnips, and radishes. And this past week brought us two particularly knobby, particularly ugly celeriacs.
I say that the celeriacs are knobby and ugly, but here’s the thing: I actually kind of love them. For a long time, I only knew how to do the one thing with them, and that was salad. The classic French preparation for celeriac is to cut it into slivery matchsticks, arrange the matchsticks over a bed of lettuce, and dress the whole thing with a remoulade sauce. It’s delicious. But there’s only so much mayonnaise-based dressing you want in your life. It’s — let’s say — a definite sometimes food.
There’s two things that I’ve been thinking about for the past little while. The Odyssey and winter cold. The reason for the latter should be pretty obvious at this point. But the reason for the former — not so much.
For the past little while, I’ve been teaching The Odyssey in one of my classes. We’ve gone through the crazy islands. We’ve talked about gender dynamics, gift economies, and the importance of hospitality in a culture that predates hotels by several millenia. And on that last point — on hospitality — I’ve told my students that the dude to look out for is Eumaeus.
Gluten-free cooking is a particularly interesting challenge for me. I don’t know how far you all have read back in Twice Cooked, but if you know anything about me and my relationship to food, you’ll know that I’m a little like bread flour: I form strong gluten bonds. I can be pretty judgmental toward folks for whom gluten-free eating is a diet fad. And I am given to rant, if folks will let me, about the con-artist industry that has grown up around selling vulnerable people expensive bread substitutes by playing on their fears about industrial agriculture’s handling of wheat.
Bread, it seems to me, is one of our oldest, most enduring signifiers of civilization. And there is a way in which gluten-free diets are about undermining bread not just as a food, but as a thing that encapsulates the bonds of community that hold us together in relative peace.
Last year around this time, I made a post about how Green Mountain Coffee — the folks who make those wasteful Keurig single-cup coffee brewers — would be adding a digital rights management (DRM) scheme to their product to keep consumers from using third-party, unauthorized pods. They claimed that it was all about quality control and safety. And that, as TechDirt reported at the time, it would add interactive-enabled benefits (whatever that means).
In reality, the issue seems to have been that their overpriced pods weren’t selling as well as those of competitors, and they wanted a way to keep other companies from stealing the goodies from their playground.
Root vegetable pancakes are a great tool to have in your arsenal of winter cooking tricks. If you’re like me and you try to eat seasonally, there will undoubtedly come a point where you’ll look at box after box of turnips and parsnips and yams, and you’ll be all like: what on Earth am I going to do with these that I didn’t do last night, or last week, or last year?!
Don’t get me wrong. I like winter vegetables. But especially when we’re crunched for time, there’s a kind of monotony to the root vegetable rigmarole: roasted, or pureed, or turned into soup. Again and again and again.
Today, to mark Martin Luther King Day, I participated in the MLK Day of Action, Resistance, and Empowerment. It was a rally in which several thousand of us congregated outside of the Philadelphia School District headquarters and marched down Broad St. and Market St. to the park across the way from the building that houses the Liberty Bell.
The march was a continuation of the protests stemming from the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. But it was also more than that. The triple objective — according to the leaflet Sarah brought home last week — was to end the Philadelphia police department’s stop and frisk policy, to call for better union laws and a city-wide $15/hour minimum wage, and to seek reform in a school district that is one of the worst performing, worst funded in the country.
I like most pickles. Obviously. But if I had to compile a list of four or five favorites — of the sorts of pickles I couldn’t do without — kkakdugi kimchi, or kimchi made from big honking radishes, would definitely rank. I’ve talked about them here before. In this other post about pickled daikons, I believe I said that because my preparation owes so much to Lauryn Chun and to Maangchi’s fabulous Korean food blog, I probably wouldn’t be posting a version of it here.
But that was then, and this is now. And in the meantime, I’ve changed my mind.
I found myself in the produce aisle at the grocery yesterday, staring at some very pretty, very large daikon radishes. And I thought to myself: I want kkakdugi! And then I thought to myself: since I’m going to make it anyway, I might as well make enough to share.