15 July 2012

Abandoned, but hopefully not for long

Although I've been selfishly enjoying my time back in North America, I would like to re-dedicate some time to this blog. I haven't been completely out of the web-o-sphere though. Below are three articles I've written for the Jew and the Carrot, a wonderful and often witty look into food politics, culture and Jewish tradition. As you can see from these examples, the blog takes on an arrange of topics..as long as it talks about FOOD.

Knishes and Empanadas in Buenos Aires

Shabbat Done Sustainably

To Till and To Tend: Jewish Farming Course 

18 April 2012

For me, Salta means humita

At the end of February, Ari and I were invited to our friend's house in Northern Argentina, in the province of Salta. The invitation came at the perfect time. We were really starting to feel exhausted by Buenos Aires-- the heat, the people, the daily struggle to simply feel at home in this oppressive and intense metropolis.

So off we went! The 14 hour bus ride made easier by a killer sandwich (homemade wheat bread I baked at 3am to finish off some pantry staples; grated zapallito, lentil burgers and classic lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise toppings. In addition to the midnight Quilmes, the sandwich delivered us to a snoozy slumber.

Getting ready to leave Buenos Aires

Our midnight rest stop

We stepped off the bus in the early morning light to find ourselves in the capital city of Salta which is surrounded by gorgeous, sun-streaked mountains. With Kitty as our tour guide (for the next 10 days) we darted around the city on orders from her mother. We picked up roughly 12 kilos of corn for the marvellous assembly line of humitas that would soon be started at her home in Coronel Moldes, a village about an hour and a half outside of the capital.

Humitas are a delicious traditional dish from Northern Argentina. They consisted of ground corn mixed with cheese and basil wrapped in a corn husked and boiled until ready to serve. They are delicious and the humitas of Kitty's mother were the best in the world. No biases here. I could barely concentrate on a post-journey nap, while everyone was outside in the humita assembly line. It was just too exciting to pass up!

Humita assembly line

Ties made from corn husks to bind the humitas

Cutting corn off the cob to prepare to grind for the paste

We borrowed a machine from a neighbour to grind the corn kernels

In San Antonio, TX where my family is from, tamales beckon a similar feeling. Usually made around Christmas time, tamales also require the support of an entire family. For me though, humitas take the cake since they happen to be vegetarian! (Moldes, in general, housed outrageously priced carnicerias so vegetarian food was easy to come by during our stay.)

This was a wonderful introduction to the north, not simply as a culinary lesson, but to experience the many values embedded in the culture of the north. We spent the afternoon making humitas and then drove around to the local diques, or resevoirs, in a large van with the children of the family while the humitas boiled at home.
Our trip to local diques before settling down to eat some humitas
Coronel Moldes, Salta, Argentina

05 February 2012

Glorified Blogroll

Some things deserve more attention:

Similar to my previous post about food waste, Dana Gunder's article in Grist looks at the price of food waste and how we can reorganize our waste priorities.

Learn how to cut an onion! It may sound ridiculous, but I can't count how many times I've been close to cutting a finger off. In general, the blog "A Thought For Food" is stunning and informative, and makes me wish I would spend my money on a professional digital camera instead of plane tickets to South America.

Mindful eating proves you can meditate and eat at the same time! But it may not be as easy as you imagined. Even attempting to "slow down" while I eat can be difficult; or remembering to say a bracha before each peach slice I plop into my mouth. It's more than just one more thing to think about when you sit down to eat (Where did this chicken come from? Is it free-range? Am I eating to quickly? Oops, is this chocolate cheesecake too many calories? At least its local..) It's a reminder that our hyper-fast speed in life is not automatic. We have the amazing ability to stop and smell the ravioli. And enjoy every bite.

01 January 2012

Happy 2012, from the McGill Farmers' Market

Happy New Year from everyone at the McGill Farmers' Market!

Things to look forward to in the new year:
- Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) baskets this summer
- Bags and T-shirts to show where YOU do your organic grocery shopping
- Hiring for coordinator positions starting in February
- Possible Spring Market!

As always, send us an email at mcgillfarmersmarket@gmail.com if you are interested in volunteering! We have lots of exciting things happening this year and we could use your help.

If there's something you want to see the Farmers' Market do in 2012, let us know! We are dedicated to creating a sustainable community on campus and that requires communicating about what projects are out there and where we might be able to help.

Take care in 2012!

The McGill Farmers' Market Team

Before the flood, MFM character.

29 December 2011

Reduce, reuse, recycle

After reading an article in the NYtimes about food waste, I've suddenly become very aware of the food scraps that I indulgently toss into the trash and compost. Even though we have a compost (a couple actually), those little lumbrices (worms) can only do so much.

What would a banana peel taste like if it was candied? How long would it take for an apricot tree to grow from these pits? (Answer found.) Can you make onion soup from the outer layers of the onion?

When we pay for fruits and vegetables, we generally pay by weight. Apples, for instance, cost about $1.25 a pound in North America-- depending on if its local, organic, conventionally-grown, in-season, out of season, from a farmers' market, from a convienence store etc. How much of this apple do you actually eat? Do you eat the core? Do you keep the seeds to donate to a community garden or to plant in your own backyard? Do you peel the apple because your kids (or you) don't like the texture of the apple's skin? After cutting the apple down to edible pieces, how much are you left with? Maybe 60-90%. That might not seem like an alarming amount, but think about how many apples you eat in a week, month, year or lifetime. That's a lot of waste, per person.

A contributor to our wastefulness of food, however, is the stigma we have about what food should look like. One of the champion commitments of the food movement is to change and challenge notions of what food actually is. Whereas Chilean waxed-to-perfection apples in the grocery store certainly resemble pictures in a children's book, there are other examples of edible fruit that may have bruises, scratches or bumps. The importance of aesthetics has become a high priority of our food consumption and waste.

There's certainly more to a plant than just broccoli florets or the bulb of the beet. 
To begin: an experiment in Food Scrap Merriment..


20 December 2011

Mi comunidad

Hay unos pocos de photos de mi huerta comunitaria en San Cristobal. Las personas son miembros de la huerta de todos lados en la ciudad.

Plantas de porotos listos para plantar

Las semillas


Las plantas aromaticas

Las palas de tomates

Las tomates verdes


Un arbol de limones

Mis amigos a la huerta

Mis otros amigos a la huerta; Me estan ayudando plantar los porotos

Navidad a la huerta

Un horno para pizzas

Al dentro del horno


Cuidado de las picas