Tuesday, 18 December 2012

On Sexting and Assumed Consent

sexting, along with sexy emails, are something i am in theory totally down for - they are an extension of our sexual expression and experience, additional ways in which we can engage with each other in hot and enjoyable ways.

that said, i have often felt violated upon receiving these messages; here are some of my thoughts on why that happens and what to do about it.

when we send a sexy message, it is a reflection of the space that we are in: likely kinda horny, thinking about sex and/or about the person we are messaging, and potentially not distracted by or focused on other things such as work, family, self-care, or other aspects of daily life. that's great! but the person receiving the message is fairly likely to be focusing on something else at that moment.
in the same way that we are thoughtful of our partners(s) emotional, physical, and mental mood/desire/consent/space in our face-to-face (or preferred position) intimate time , we need to take these things into account before hitting send buttons.

if i had just had an emotionally heated conversation with my mother and then you and i are alone together, what's the first thing you'd do? probably ask me how i'm doing, we would talk about the situation for a bit (if i needed/wanted to), and then potentially, if body language, verbal consent, or 'vibes' seemed right, we might slowly begin to move towards sexual intimacy. the fact that we are in the same space allows for us to use many tools and levels of intuition to asses each other's boundaries and emotional states.
those same signals aren't inherently present in text land, and we need to be cognizant of this.
if i am having that same conversation with my mother and hear the little 'bring' of a new message, and distractedly read "i was just touching myself and thinking of you," i will feel not only awkward, but thrust into a type of interaction i am not in the mood for and do not consent to.

i truly want sexy messages to be part of my healthy sexual relationships, but i've found that most of the time i am so caught off guard by the sudden assumed intimacy that i feel violated, upset, and disgusted by the person who sent it. i don't want to feel this way at all, let alone about someone that i trust and have generally positive and sexy feelings about!

so here's my plea:
keep being sexy. keep being sex positive and expressing yourself in ways that work for you and your partners, but ease into sexting in the same way you ease into sex. check in on what your message recipient is up to, since you aren't around to see. consider writing something like "i'm having sexy thoughts about you, would you like me to share?"
it might feel awkward and like it wrecks the spontaneity that makes sexting fun, but remember that those are the same arguments that many people make the first time they learn about the importance of explicit consent for physical sex. once you get used to it, it will enhance your experiences and relationships by ensuring that folks feel respected and are accountable to their needs and desires.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

arugula-cucumber-kimchi 'sushi'

today i went to a neighbourhood that isn't normally on my route, and happened upon a place i've  meant to check out for years (since they opened).
Granger Grocery, home of Connie's Cookin', is a mini corner grocery store with a super small scale korean kitchen where Connie, a lovely and sweet foodie, makes a different meal everyday and when you go, that's what you get. she also makes her own kimchi and sells it in the shop (see where i'm going here?).
i'm not usually running around town looking for new small businesses- sure, i'm glad they exist (relative to big business) but it takes a personal connection for me to actually care.

back when i worked at a bakery on main street, Jamie (co-owner with Connie of the grocery store/diner) used to come into the shop about once a week and buy 12 loaves of bread. he refused to call ahead so we could be prepared with the bread sliced and packaged when he arrived, and preferred to slow the errand down as he chatted with us about the excitement and frustration of starting his business. taking his time was an important part of his ideal business model. needless to say, if you've every worked in service, people like this are memorable and definitely make the job much more tolerable.
i had mostly forgotten about though, until i started working at the farmer's market where Jamie also regularly orders from the farm i work at. so there he was again, hanging around and chit-chatting. my curiosity was peaked as he mentioned the kitchen element of the shop and promised me that if it wasn't too busy Connie would surely be able to cook me something that would fit my diet.
so today, i was at Heather and 16th for a bodytalk session, and saw this cute looking grocery store. then i saw "Connie's Cookin'" and Jamie's friendly face inside the window. i stopped in.

i'm not going to go on about the character of the place, for that you should check out this article about Connie's Cookin' where someone with a good camera and nice words can give you the picture much better than i.
what i can say is that Jamie and Connie are nice. Connie really cares about food and promised to cook some millet and freeze it so it would be ready the next time i come in, and i agreed to get them some garlic from the farm as they've been too busy to come by recently.
i also bought some amazing kimchi that Connie made. if my memory is correct, she said it has in it nappa cabbage, pear, carrot, green onion, ginger, garlic, and just a little bit of hot pepper. it is fermented, no added sugar, and not canned (ie killed).

so i got home and was hungry and wanted to do something special with my treat.

kimchi sushi:
toasted nori wraps
leftover quinoa and fermented millet porridge (use whatever grains you have, you just need to make sure it's sticky so cook with a lid on and extra fluid/time, or use something porridgy like i did..)
sesame oil

cook/reheat your grains to get the right texture(sticky, but not too moist. think of sushi rice but it can be more blendy than that). add sesame oil, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. allow to cool.
take a nori sheet and place on clean/dry counter-top, shiny side down.
spread a thin layer of your grain mix on the nori, about covering just under half of the sheet.

it begins

put arugula (or any soft greens will work), cucumber, any other veggies you like, and some kimchi on there too. when it comes to nori wraps, remember, less is more. you don't want it to be too big to get your mouth around, or it's a kinda hard to eat.

ready to roll

 roll, starting with the covered side, and when you get to the edge dip your fingers in your kimchi brine and moisten the edge of the nori sheet. then finish rolling it. the moist edge will help it stick together.
i prefer not to cut my sushi, as it's hard to get right without a pretty damn good knife. i eat it like a burrito.

ready to scarf by candle light


Monday, 3 December 2012

Tarts for Breakfast

Or perhaps some pudding instead?
As someone who doesn't eat sugar (including many natural fructose sources) or almost any flour, it can be pretty hard for me to create treats, sweet breakfasts, or desserts that will not contribute to my health problems. That said, it's pretty fracking exciting when I find or develop a sweet treat that fits into my diet.
The following recipe is something I created this past weekend to bring to my dear friend's family's holiday gathering. I can't tell you how good it felt to be indulging in dessert along with the family  - there is something so affirming about eating alongside with people, and especially when other people are eating the same food as me (and, needless to say, the opposite is also true: it's very isolating and sad to be unable to enjoy food with the people I love, or to have everyone else indulging in one thing while I have a compensation prize).

the amazing spread! my tarts are the ones in paper

If you've read other posts in which I mention the principles of food combining, you will notice that this recipe does not comply with those guidelines. I have realized that my mental and emotional health (intrinsically related to physical health) are so enriched by having 'treats' and eating with people that the minor slowing of digestion caused by 'improper' combining is barely worth blinking at.

SO! here's my recipe for gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free squash tarts/squash pudding:

Squash Pudding:
-enough for one 9" pie OR 12 tarts, plus a little extra to bake as pudding
3 cups purreed sweet meat (or other sweet) squash
3 tb xylitol (more if you eat a lot of sugar, I do not so this tasted plenty sweet to me)
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger powder (or fresh ginger)
1 tsp 5 spice
1 tsp salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup kefir*
12 frozen/fresh cranberries (optional - to decorate tarts)

*I use goats milk kefir that I make, because it is the only creamy product I can digest (the fermentation converts lactose into lactic acid which makes it much more digestible, but also gives it a tart flavour). Coconut milk or whole cream would offer a sweeter flavour, so feel free to use whatever works for you.

Tart/Pie crust:
-enough for a 9" pie or 12 tarts
3/4 c quinoa flour
2/3 c millet flour*
1 tb xylitol
1/2 c very cold butter
cold water

* I couldn't find any at a store so I just put some millet through a coffee grinder which I don't use coffee in.

Preheat oven to 450 F
First, cut your butter into small chunks and put it in the freezer. Mix all the pudding ingredients together and set aside. In a food processor, combine flour and xylitol. Take your butter from the freezer and add to food processor. Pulse until it is mixed and crumbly, with small bits of butter throughout. It will look very dry, and perhaps only be a doughy texture at the bottom of the processor bowl near the blades. I added some cold water (only about a teaspoon) and pulsed a bit more. Dump out 'dough' (will still look very dry) onto a plate or directly into your 9" pie plate if you're making it a pie. If you grab a handful of the mixture, you should be able to press it into a clump in your hand (if not, add a tiny bit more cold water and mix in). Press dough into pie plate or into muffin cups. Try to make sure it's evenly distributed without any super thick or super thin spots.
Take your pudding and poor into pie/tart crust(s). Fill them as high as you can without spilling. Add a cranberry to the top of each tart if you like. Pour remaining pudding into an oven safe dish.
Bake for 10 minutes at 450, then reduce heat to 350 for another 25-30 minutes. If you put a clean knife into the center of a tart, it should come out clean. Depending on what size/shape of dish you put your extra pudding into, it may cook faster or slower.

they should look something like this, but nicer in better lighting
Enjoy as a dessert, a healthy sweet snack, or as part of a lovely breakfast. I the pudding would be extra delicious with some warm carrot cranberry lime sauce on top! Yum.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sweet Cranberry Carrot Sauce (no sugar!) Recipe

In the past few weeks, the community food work I'm a part of has given me access to some amazing free produce. Of course, when I see abundance of free fruit and vegetables that won't last forever, my first instinct is preservation.
Often recipes for preserves are inaccessible to me (see my food/restrictions list in older post), but I enjoy cooking and canning so much that I make them anyway and give them away or sell them. Every so often I find or come up with something that will work for me though, and these moments are exciting.
So when ridiculous amounts of organic carrots and limes fell into my life, I saw an opportunity. This is a recipe I developed 2 months ago when I wanted to go to a pancake breakfast and knew that the toppings would not be accessible for me. I whipped this up and was delighted with the results.

Quantities are approximate, just make it taste good to you. One thing to note is that the high amount of lime and cranberries are what makes it suitable for low pressure/time canning, but if you want it less tart just adjust your canning time or eat it fresh.
My roommate (who is a nurse) helped me geek out about food science by bringing PH strips home from the hospital so we were able to test the acidity and know how to can it appropriately. The PH was between 3 and 4, in other words it counted as a high acid food and could be canned like apple sauce or other fruit.

canned cranberry carrot sauce with the cornucopia i got from the farmers market on saturday behind

Makes approx. 3 litres.
22 cups roughly chopped carrots
2 cups frozen cranberries
a few inches of water at the bottom of your pot (for steam)
additional water
3 cups frozen cranberries
1 cup lime juice
zest of 5 limes
stevia powder (I use the green unprocessed kind) to taste - start small! it is very very sweet.

put your carrots and 2 cups cranberries and some water in a pot with a tight fitting lid. put on medium high heat and steam until very soft (30mins-1hr). use a hand blender (or in batches in a barrel blender) to blend until smooth. add water as necessary to make a saucey texture. I like it thick enough to heap slightly on a spoon, definitely saucey not spready.
add additional ingredients and simmer, adjusting all ingredients to taste.

eat fresh (will keep in fridge a week or so) on pancakes (I found the flavour amazing with buckwheat amaranth pancakes), ice cream, rice pudding... I've thought about trying to turn this into a cranberry carrot pie or combining it with squash for a pie filling.
Let me know how you like it!

or can it!

water bath:
in water bath canner I would follow directions for apple sauce or other high acid/fruit sauce. sterilize jars in boiling water and fill with hot water until ready to use. place lids in hot water. dump boiling water out of jars and fill with sauce leaving 1/2 inch headspace. make sure the rims of your jars are clean and place lids on and tighten rings to finger tight. put in your water bath and boil about 20 minutes with water 2 inches above tops of cans.

pressure canner:
follow instructions on your canner...
fill clean jars with hot water until ready to use. prepare lids in hot water. dump water from jars and fill with sauce, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. clean the rims and place lids and rings; tighten finger tight. place jars in canner (my canner calls for 3.5 litres hot water, check your manual) and follow canner directions. processing time 8-10 minutes.


and if you're in vancouver, unceded coast salish territories and want to buy some from me for yourself or for consumer-mas gifts, please get in touch! 250ml jars $5-10 sliding scale. I used all organic ingredients.

Friday, 23 November 2012


I will be selling stuff here with the Purple Thistle Centre!
canned apple butter, apple chutney, carrot cranberry sauce, raw sauerkraut and more!

Crafts for a Cause: Rhizome Cafe's5th Annual Craft Fair to Support Social Justice Struggles
Saturday December 1st, 6-10pm
Rhizome Café, 317 East Broadway, Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories
pottery - soap - letterpress - textiles - posters - clothing - herbal teas & salves - knitting tshirts- paintings- buttons - fair trade coffee - handmade toys - photography - seeds - cards - canning ...
including: no one is illegal * environmental youth alliance * rising tide * fierce green creations * la mano - ethical textiles * sam bradd designs * purple thistle * just jingo * compassion club * cafe justicia * favianna rodriguez * justpotters * claudia segovia * artists against artists * coinspire collective * more...
Free swag bags to first 15 people
$2 entrance fee (no-one turned away)
Partial proceeds from artists' sales are distributed to participating organizations
Food & drink available for purchase.
Fully licenced.


Come shop for holiday gifts while supporting migrant rights, youth empowerment, climate justice and more! Peruse socially conscious crafts by local artists, and items created by local organizations to support their social justice work. Rhizome's delicious food and drink will be available for purchase throughout the evening. 
Participating artists and organizations include:No One is Illegal: noii-van.resist.ca/
The Purple Thistle: www.purplethistle.ca/
Environmental Youth Alliance: www.eya.ca
JustPotters: www.justwork.ca/justpotters.html
Rising Tide: 
Compassion Club Wellness Centre: 
Fair Trade Coffee from Cafe Justicia: www.cafejusticia.ca/
la mano - ethical textiles: www.lamano.ca/
Silkscreening & Linocuts by the Co!nspire Collective: 
Wood Veneer Prints by Artists Against Artists: 

Prints & Calendars by Favianna Rodriguez: 
Rhizome Cafe T-Shirts and Buttons: 
Letterpress by Sam Bradd Designs: 
Photos & block prints by fierce green creations: 
One of a Kind Toys from Claudia Segovia: 
and Just Jingo Body Botanicals: 

jennifer faith boundy, ma
la mano - ethical textiles

la mano is:
- supporting the economic autonomy of women and indigenous peoples -
- assisting in the preservation of culture and traditional livelihoods -
- contributing to local community economic development -
- increasing the viability of small scale production -
- ensuring that artisans are paid a fair price for their work -
- supporting communities to maintain a stronghold on their land and on their identities -

Thursday, 4 October 2012

counter-culture: on demystifying food and resisting capitalist production models


6 months ago, fermentation was a brand new idea to me. i had tried making kimchi once, and though i think, looking back, that my attempt was successful, at the time i was so freaked out by it that when my fermented treat gave me gas (which i now know to be a sign that it was full of good stuff that my body just wasn’t accustomed to yet) i thought i was being poisoned by evil bacteria and i threw it out.
after some reading about nutrition and healing my inner-ecosystem, i was determined to try again. in perfect timing, 2 members of the community food project eat the rich! which i’m involved in were hosting a fermentation workshop. we got together, talked about the basics of lacto-fermentation, and then dug our hands into some cabbage and made it happen. a week later, i had my first home-made sauerkraut and i was hooked.
from then on, every few weeks i would start a new batch of sauerkraut, enjoying the process of getting my hands all salty and massaging the veggies, experimenting with recipes, watching the kraut bubble and change,  regularly googling “can i ferment ____??!” and getting inspired by every new idea. one day, i got home and my roommate said “i wanted to make brownies, but then i didn’t want to eat them all myself, and then i thought ‘MAYBE FIONA CAN FERMENT THEM!’” (er, that was one thing i didn’t try, just by the way)
it was becoming an obsession, or more positively, a passion.
after a few months in which i babbled about fermentation to anyone who would listen and regularly posted fuckbook statuses about the things i was trying, people started asking me if i would make extra for them. i thought about it for a long time, dreamed about having a giant crock and doing large batch, sharing with the world... i was pretty overwhelmed by the idea but excited as well. i sat with it for a long time thinking it was beyond my capacity, until one day i just started. i created a fuckbook group where i would post my most recent brew and asked people to simply comment on my post if they wanted a jar. i have been sold out for 2 months.

it’s easy to think about production and sales as a huge deal, something we need to have large capacity to do. we think about capitalist trading as it normally happens, where the producer is responsible for always making profit, always increasing capacity. fuck that! i want to make healthy food accessible to people, but i also need to do it in a way that works for me. making healthy affordable specialty foods and distributing the small amount of extra that i have is better than being overwhelmed by the idea of meeting demand and not doing anything at all, or, even worse, creating a business in which i work myself into a hate for my passion, and probably compromise quality and care along the way.
i am aware that there is a trend towards small scale specialty hipster food right now, and in some ways i am benefiting from this trend. even a few years back, my obsession would have been looked upon much less kindly than it is now. that said, i want to subvert the trendy new-age capitalism that’s accompanying the new food culture. i am not going to charge high prices just because i can (well... i might hike prices for yuppie events, but only so i can keep charging my community at cost. see you at the culture crawl!), and i do my best to be aware of and transparent about the privilege and class implications of demanding ‘high quality,’ ‘organic,’ or ‘local’ food. i ‘sell’ by sliding scale, am open to trades and i-owe-yous, and am just trying to build enough funds to do things like buy jars, maybe a crock, and... fund my upcoming tattoo, a pint at a time.

2 weeks ago, i led my first fermentation workshop. i felt like a bit of a fraud, being so new to the process and really just getting people together for a conversation and to chop fruit together. our culture really idolizes ‘teachers,’ and i felt like to be one i had to be doing something really complicated. but then, i have no interest in ‘teaching.’ i want to demystify. i want to make things as simple and manageable as they really are. i have no interest in pretending that what i do takes tons of skill and practice and that i am super special for doing it. i’m just passionate about it, and if i can share that, i will. i believe that demystifying skills is key in changing the world (read revolution, anarchy, destruction of capitalism, saving the physical world, etc) - for me, demystifying fermentation took one night in a room with some friends.
so with those lofty goals in mind, i’m going to share the recipe which we made at the workshop. it’s something i adapted from a recipe on someone elses blog, which i have enjoyed myself and had rave reviews from the folks i ‘sell’ to.

a note about lacto-fermentation and sugar: if you avoid sugars because of candida (yeast) issues, fermented fruits should be okay. i know less about other reasons to avoid sugar, but my understanding is that fermentation should negate most of them. why is this? lacto-fermentation happens when the starches and sugars (fructose, glucose, etc) in vegetables and fruit convert to lactic acid by a friendly lactic-acid producing bacteria called lactobacillus. this conversion process alters the nutrient content, pre-digests the food (making nutrients more accessible to your body!), creates enzymes that help you digest, and promotes bacteria that will actually help with issues like candidiasis. it also preserves food, so that a jar of fermented fruit or veggies in your fridge will last months instead of days like raw fresh fruit/veggies. it actually gets healthier (and many say tastier) with time.

Making fermented fruit chutney
for 1 litre jar:
-4 cups chopped fruit, ideally some core fruit like apples or pears and a few other things for colour and flavour (it’s plum season right now!)
-1 cup chopped sweet onion
-1 lemon, juiced
-1 tb grated ginger
-2 tsp kosher* salt (look for any salt without iodine, silicone, sugar... - ingredients should just be salt)

Start by boiling a big pot of water. Once it is boiling, put your big jar and a smaller one that fits inside (for a weight) into the water and let it boil 5-10 minutes. Take out and let cool on a clean surface.
Slice onions thinly, and slice thin wedges of fruit. For softer fruit like plums don’t worry about the size and shape of the pieces. Mix the fruit, salt, lemon juice and ginger. Pack the mixture into your sterilized large jar. The juices should cover the top (press down with your fist) of the solid fruit. Put a smaller jar on top to weight any chunks down (expansion will happen in the next few days, so if you find that the jar is floating and needs more weight, just fill it with water and press down - check it daily and press it down when necessary). Cover with a plastic bag to deter fruit flies, and leave out for 3-6 days (depending how warm the room is and how sour you like it). Taste it, it should be barely sweet if at all, perhaps a bit fizzy feeling, and very delicious. Put a lid on it but don’t seal it airtight as it will continue to expand slightly, and put in the refrigerator. This is better eaten within a few months, so don’t make huge batches and share it with your friends if you have too much!

Basic Fermentation Precautions
1. Sterilize tools as much as possible. Boiliing jars and tools in hot water for a few minutes is a good way to do this. Use glass or stainless steel, ideally. (it can get hot and doesn't off-gas carcinogens)
2. Don't kill your good bacteria! Some things you wouldn't expect will kill your culture (chlorinated water, iodine in salt, bergamot in earl grey tea). Also don't cook it, if beneficial bacteria is what you’re after!
3. If it seems weird, it just might be no good. Use your senses and your brain. Common indicators of problems are: mold, discoloration, funky smells.

Basic Lacto-Fermentation Factors
1. Temperature
2. Time
3. Amount of fermentable material
4. Amount of salt

have fun experimenting!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


what i just ate as a before bed snack:
(tastes way better than it looks! - especially because i dug in before thinking to picture it)
organic butternut squash
coconut oil
baked at 400 for about 40 minutes
oh man so fucking good.

i'm not sure if i've written before about working at the farmer's market. i've probably mentioned it at least.

basically, i volunteer for Klippers Organic Acres, and in exchange i bring home all the delicious produce i can eat. for someone who eats as many vegetables as i do, it's a really sweet deal.
it's one of the ways that i avoid having a 'job,' choosing instead to do work that falls more under the category of mutual aid.
the work that i do with Klippers is enjoyable, supports local agriculture, is volunteer so there's no fucked up employer/employee power dynamic, and directly meets my need (for food) as apposed to indirectly meeting my needs by supplying me with cash that i would exchange for food/housing/whatever, furthering capitalist interaction... alienation... y'know.

here are some pictures from the market a few weeks ago. the sun just coming up over trout lake before the market opened (around 8:30am) and the beautiful organic food. it was rather magical (i get sentimental about being surrounded by nourishing food..)

in other news, i bought 14 pounds of cabbage from a lovely farmer on saturday, and now have 7 jars of basic red cabbage kraut fermenting on my counter.

i am excited to be making a larger batch as i have consistently sold out so far, and my next week's ferments will be dedicated to Sunday Shortstack - where i will be providing a fermented fruit chutney at the october 14th pop-up breakfast. i'm looking into recipes and am getting pretty excited. probably will be apple+plum deliciousness, and i'm looking forward to experimenting with spices... perhaps some fennel? anise?! black pepper??! mmmm.
see you there!

Monday, 1 October 2012


below is a (hopefully readable and understandable) list/description of how i eat.
i created it to share with family, friends, and community who have expressed interest in eating with me.
eating with people is a really complicated thing for me, and i have a lot to say about it, here's the bones.
i haven't shared this specific a list before for fear of burdening and intimidating people, but i am doing so now in the hopes that it will, in fact, make sharing food with me more manageable.
just because i am sharing this does not imply that i expect every meal we eat together to stick to it - though i will only be able to eat that which does.

too many times i have eaten things with an ingredient that does contribute to my digestive problems because i feel both grateful for having been invited for food and guilty for being so challenging to cook for.
i need to stop doing this.

i am trying to take my health more seriously and i need others to do the same, trusting that i am not avoiding foods for no reason, but because it is imperative to my health and functioning.

food builds community. you are my community.

fermented vegetables and non-starch vegetables + sea vegetables
(NO nightshades, avocados, beets, parsnips or mushrooms)
garlic, onions and ginger are all acceptable and well loved.

-can be eaten with:

animal protein:
fish (no shellfish)


starchy foods:
millet (ideally pre-soaked overnight)
quinoa (ideally pre-soaked overnight


protein fats:
milk kefir
plain yogurt
almonds (ideally soaked, small amounts only)
hemp seeds
flax seeds
chia seeds


virgin, unrefined oils:
(can be eaten with anything, but only small amounts with animal protein foods)
coconut (best for cooking)
pumpkin seed
flax seed
evening primrose

other things i definitely do consume:
raw apple cider vinegar (with anything)
herbal tea (no ‘natural flavours’ or citric acid, or fruit tea)
salt n’ pepper
herbs (no nightshade spices like cayenne, paprika, etc)
lemons and limes
xylitol, stevia, and lakanto sweeteners

food combining made simple: veggies can combine with anything, but starch, dairy and animal protein must be eaten hours apart.
meals should be 80% non-starch vegetable, 20% animal protein, starch, or protein fat. lemons and limes can be used with anything as a flavour, even though fruit is typically avoided.

some things that i definitely cannot eat, that people often assume i can:
legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc)
nuts (accept almonds in small doses)
coconut milk
soy sauce (and all things soy)
berries and apples
brown rice
vinegar (other than apple cider vinegar)

a note about organics:
i avoid non-organic foods when possible not because i am high on a moral horse, but because chemicals and antibiotics (in meat) can seriously mess with a system as sensitive as mine. i am aware of the class implications of demanding these high-cost foods and do make exceptions at times in my own purchasing choices as well as when i am being graciously offered food. with meat, i am stricter about organic (when i am purchasing i go as far as wanting to know the farmer or know a lot about the farm, because organic sometimes means very little) because i am concerned about animal welfare and the (il)legitimacy of certifications such as ‘organic’ and ‘free range’. i am also very concerned about the ecological impacts of factory farming and genetic modification. that said, i know that being able to make these choices is a reflection of my privilege and i do not wish to alienate my communities by making unreasonable demands. if you can stick to the above lists which are imperative for my health, i will appreciate you more than i can say. i am not making these choices in an effort to be as frustrating as possible, i am making them so that i can function in my daily life.
i cannot express how alienating it is to be virtually unable to eat with the people that i love. i am always willing to support folks who want to include me in meals by providing ingredients, advice, recipes, and even cooking support if need be (though i can’t say how lovely it is to every so often not have to think about the meal i’m about to eat).

thanks for reading this and eating with me!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


i have not been blogging, in large part due to the fact that i am frustrated by trying to format this thing. i am not the most formatting savvy, and therefore got really annoyed last time i tried to make a post and position the photos in an appealing way. little things like this bog me down.

but ah, happy things are happening.

1. i am spreading my cultured goodies far and wide - thanks to all who are enjoying my ferments and coming back for more. i really appreciate it.

2. on thursday at 6pm i will be teaching my first workshop on fermentation. it'll be at the toast collective in east van (unceded territories) and is being put on by the community kitchen project i work with called eat the rich!
we're going to make my very popular fruit chutney, but this time with MANGOES as well as the apples, sweet onions, ginger and garlic.
it's going to be amazing.
for more information you can find the event on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/events/330075150421248/) and email pt.communitykitchen@gmail.com to sign up.

3. i will be collaborating in october with the sunday shortstack, a pop-up brunch with folk music that happens every sunday at the toast collective. not sure what i'll be making yet, but you can bet it'll be an awesome topping on the fantastic pancakes that those rad folks make. they make everything from scratch and have gluten free and vegan options for great prices plus it's just a lovely community to share space/time/food with. here's more on shortstack: http://www.facebook.com/sundayshortstack
the tentative date that i will be providing toppings for is october 14th, so mark your calendars!

4. at the purple thistle center, where i work and organize, we will be participating as every year in the east side culture crawl. i'm going to be doing tons of canning and fermenting in the month leading up so that i can sell my stuff for higher prices to yuppies! woohoo!

i have a bunch of other stuff i want to write about, and am waiting for the moment when it feels right. for now, this is it and here's a picture of my red kimchi-ish kraut that i finished today. i'm hoarding a lot of it for myself, so and 2 of the 3 jars are already reserved, but fear not i think this is going to be one of my standards that i keep bringing back. folks love it.

Friday, 24 August 2012

pickled bean fail, lacto-fermented pickles, more thoughts on over-eating, and today's anti-misogyny rally

yesterday i threw out my lacto-fermented pickled bean experiment. i ate a few of them, and they tasted alright... but smelled pretty funny, looked pretty funny, and my roommate said they tasted bad and is more paranoid than me so i think he is a good judge. i hate throwing things away, but with fermentation experimentation i have resigned myself to the fact that it will sometimes happen and that it's better to throw things out than to make myself (and others) potentially ill eating things that don't even taste particularly good. it's not a waste, cause i'm learning... or something. well that's bullshit, it's still a waste, but if eating them will make me sick that's a bigger waste and i can't go back and unferment something and just eat it. so at the point of throwing the thing out, it's no longer a waste. hah.
here's what the pickled beans looked like a few days ago.. they got cloudier and pretty gross looking, it's possible i actually just left them too long.
my cukes were a greater success, though. today i fridged my lacto-pickles and i think they are pretty yummy. it's hard to say if they 'turned out', as i've never had lacto-fermented pickles, just the vinegar kind, so i don't actually know what they're supposed to taste like. i've done some reading and all the things that i think seem odd seem to be normal/not dangerous in lacto-pickles. things like: cloudy brine, slight fizzing of the pickles (likely because some of them were airlocked in a way that kept the pressure in), and a not super sour flavour. they were getting a bit soft so i've slowed the fermentation by sealing them in the fridge, but i think they might still get a bit more sour with time.
i am giving them away for FREE (except a one dollar jar deposit) so you can see what you think. i wouldn't give them away if i was not pretty darn confident that they are safe. and tasty.
today i made a salmon, carrot, radish, cuke, pickle and kraut salad and it was SO GOOD. oh, i splashed some apple cider vinegar on there too. and i still feel good. so i declare the pickles edible!

i wrote the other day about my over-eating struggles. since then i had a brilliant revalation/solution!
i eat too much (not in a fat phobic/food negative way, but an unhealthy for my body way) and also spend too much time on the computer. i am almost always checking facebook/email while eating, and therefore do not pay attention to what i'm eating, so when i am done i have the residual taste in my mouth and think "oh, that was good, i want more!" since i didn't really experience it as i ate. i then repeat the process over and over...
no more eating while working on the computer. by making this rule for myself, i not only avoid the above problem (and actually fully enjoy/experience my food), i also limit my computer use. when i think "i should go check facebook AGAIN even though i was looking at it ten minutes ago" but i am hungry or mid meal, i must hold back. when i think "i want to eat something [but i'm not actually hungry]" and i'm in the middle of some debate over the wording of a men's feminist group title... i prioritize my online intellectual pleasure/engagement over my food fixation.
win/win. yay! it's worked really well so far (2 days) and i'm feeling great.

aside from pickles and eating in a way that feels good, today was also great because it involved friday's weekly anti-misogyny/pro-choice party!
today i didn't even have to hear anything stinging (i'm sure some things were said, but i didn't hear them) and was energized as always by our group and the positive feedback we receive from passers-by (the community, in other words).
a friend of mine from out of town who i had tea/breakfast with this morning asked if we hand out condoms at our rallies... so inspired by that idea (fun!) my buddy j and i went to a sex pos clinic after the rally today and asked if they had condoms we could hand out at the rally tomorrow. they said, "yeah, we have some..." and walked away, to return with a GIANT (clinic size, i guess) package of condoms!
j and i went home, he split them all up, taped the instructions manuals to some of them, and put them in cute baskets to hand out from tomorrow. i won't be there, unfortunately, but look forward to doing more of this next time. i'm so stoked about this development. promoting safer-sex AND fighting hatred and misogyny??! fridays are the best.
oh, and on our way home we ran into some street punkers and they commented on j's sign (rights = choice) and i asked if they wanted condoms and they were so stoked. these are the things that make days great.

just one more thing: i just just tasted my kimchi-ish kraut (org. green cabbage, pureed red onion, garlic, and ginger) and it's amazing. i'm going to let it get a little more sour til tomorrow afternoon when i have time to sanitize some distro jars... but i'm very excited. i might not give more than 1 or 2 jars away, because it's just so tasty. will have to do that combination again.
here are some pictures of this one, a few points in its process and depicting my brilliant fruit fly deterrent scheme.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

distro #1 and personal food struggles

as i write this, i am eating food that not only am i not hungry for, but that i know makes my body hurt.
my food obsession, while mostly a wonderful passion, has some nasty elements as well. i have a mind/body disconnect, a battle over what my body knows and my mind thinks. typically, the struggle goes like this:
body: aaah that [food] was satisfying.
mind: it tasted so good! we like good tastes! must keep that sensation going!
body: no thanks, i've had enough.
mind: fuck you! it's not about you!
body: but it is! it really is!
mind: i'm higher up, and i think that since eating is pleasurable and pleasure is good then surely eating all the time is good. so there. (convinces me to eat more)
body: oooouch.
mind: hahahaha fuck you i won.

today i read that for leaky gut, not overeating is crucial to healing. grrr8.
i was about to write that i don't know what to do, that i am stuck. i'm not though, i know exactly what to do. get the fuck out of my apartment. having a lot of time on my hands spent at home is consistently one of the worst things for me health. i love spending time at home, and am very grateful that i am able to, but for now, i haven't found ways to convince myself not to eat [things that make me sick or that i am not hungry for] when i have time on my hands and food ever-available. i am aware that both of these things are huge privileges, but i'm not going to pretend that i don't struggle with them anyway.

really looking forward to september, all the exciting projects i'll be starting, and being necessarily limited by time.

but! i must still find the time for all of the fermentation!
so far there are nearly 30 people interested in my home ferments, and at this point i've got capacity for 3 distro jars per week! something's gotta give.

today i sent out my first batch, which is delicious. here's what it looks like, and another one bubbling behind.
as i mentioned last time i base a lot on colour, and this one was challenging because the colours were rather odd and at one point i was convinced it would just stay ugly. but then, suddenly, it changed! i must learn to have faith in the culture.

Monday, 20 August 2012

counter-culture kraut #1

time for my first blog post! exciting!

today it is time to taste my first counter-culture distro kraut. it's been fermenting since last sunday, so 9 days now, and it's looking and smelling pretty good. my sense is that it might be best with one or two more days, but i'm stoked to taste and see. for those of you who aren't sure about the safety of fermentation and tasting as you go, my understanding is that the first couple of days sometimes involve some nasty bacteria, but from then on it is quite safe (the lacto-bacillus wins out and kills off the rest). i've heard others say they taste it all the way along and that there is no harm. of course, i taste with a clean fork and am careful not to contaminate the happy bacteria that are growing. i tend to wait at least a week before tasting, and base the timing mainly on colouration. in the first few days of fermentation, the vegetables become rather ugly greyed tones, and as it becomes ready it gets bright and beautiful.

this kraut has a blend of (organic-) green cabbage, golden (and one red) beets from the farmers i work for, and fennel bulb that i salvaged from the back of an organic grocery store. because of this blend it's been harder to base my tasting time on colour, as the colour blend is a bit odd itself and i'm not sure what it will look like at it's best.
before i'd even started this ferment i had two folks signed up to eat it, and i've got a list going already of folks who want my next one. i am so excited and grateful for the support i'm getting in my experiment and adventure.
so here it is, on day one. after i've tasted it and am sure it's ready, i'll show you what it looks like when it's bright and delicious.

for folks who haven't done lacto-fermentation, here is what you see:
shredded veggies that have been salted and massaged to get their natural 'brine' out, then tightly pounded and packed into quart jars. i top them with some rolled up cabbage leaves (to keep down the wanna-be  floaty bits) and jam jars full of water to weigh everything down and keep the brine level above the veggies. i also added additional weight, as you can see. after a day or two the brine often overflows, and then a bunch of fermentation bubbles form and kinda solidify on the top. a few more days and the brine level drops again, making the weights really important. then like i said the colour and smell improves, i taste it, and ta-da, delicious sauerkraut exists. for a more sour flavour it can be left longer, as well, increasing the bacterial content. i am usually too anxious to eat it, but it does continute to ferment slowly even in the fridge.
i'll make sure to take pictures throughout the process of my next one so you can see the progression.

today i'm also going to start my first sour-pickles! i'm using cucumbers from the farmers market and i'm told they're not the variety usually used in pickling, so they will taste a little different than folks are used to, but i'm sure they'll be awesome anyway.

yum yum!
fermentation femme