Faithful readers may be asking, “where’ve you been, Yiling?” All over. Here is a list:
– Mount Adams at 9,000 feet elevation, getting altitude sickness, then waking up feeling extra grateful to be past it. Hooray!
– Just outside the faux Bavarian town of Leavenworth, bouldering for the first time
– Cheering on my spouse and his good friends who scaled Mount Rainier successfully.
– developing personal projects to help build community via food systems
Happy Friendly Friday, Folks!
It’s Fall, and the start of a new school year for many. What do you do to keep everyone fed and full of healthy energy to get things done?
I explore one option here.
While hosting family this summer, we gave those partially-prepped ready-to-cook meals a try, and started with Amazon’s kits, newly on the market. The lucky couple getting married Washington, Alanna & Alex even played guinea pig, and Kris picked up the slack when I started to feel a little spun around running multiple meal trials at once.*
When I was a kid in Minnesota, I went to this one summer day camp where they taught us, among other things,* to waterproof regular matches by painting clear nail polish on them. Years later living in Seattle, I diligently painted and dried each match this way. That’s the Dahlia Lounge matches you see in the picture. Then for about 4 years I brought them with for car camping and found they were annoyingly hard to strike, delaying my access to delicious and/or experimental dehydrated camp meals. I ended up defaulting to regular ones, like the ones above from Fish and Game Hudson here. Conclusion: you could also always go for survival matches like the ones above, or regular ones in a ziploc bag. Sometimes DIY is overrated.
*I vaguely recall them also teaching us to cut radishes into rose shapes…
Recently, I had a chance to visit my fellow Minnesotan friend Tanya, her spouse Justin, and their daughter Mabel in Portland. They graciously had me over for dinner, and I got to see a demo of the Instant Pot. Apparently she was so excited about it she bought a second one when it was on sale on Amazon. My friend Candace in San Francisco had previously bothered messaging me about this device as a sped up way to make radish cakes, so it seemed only right that I listen to the universe’s repeated prodding to investigate this gadget.
Tanya said I could post the video despite her self-consciousness if I did an Instant Pot post, so here we go. Check out super-mobile Mabel! I wish I could take a picture of the smell
There’s a new food podcast out, add it to your list, friends!
Sari Kamin started putting out Food Without Borders last month, brought to you by the only online food station Heritage Radio Network. Sari previously hosted ‘The Morning After,” a fun show about the restaurant industry, and felt inspired to create Food Without Borders to do something more meaningful.
I think food can be a very powerful tool for affecting people’s opinions and understanding of cultures beyond their own. I’m lucky to live in New York: a melting pot of a city where we have every type of food available to us and for the most part, folks are pretty tolerant of one another. This is no coincidence. When you eat each other’s food, the fear of the unknown or “the other” is often mitigated. It’s my hope that with Food Without Borders, there’s an opportunity to hear from some of the people cooking food (often behind the scenes) and that can potentially assuage some misunderstandings of who immigrants are.
–Sari Kamin: culinary ethnographer, storyteller, eater, and Master’s graduate of NYU’s Food Studies Program
You may find Episode 2 with Manal Kahi especially interesting. It features Eat Offbeat, which delivers authentic and home-style ethnic meals conceived, prepared and delivered by refugees resettled in NYC. You might also enjoy Episode 4 with Fany Gerson, author of “My Sweet Mexico,” featuring frozen treats and sweets of Mexico. She shares her experience of how Mexican ice cream is traditionally made, touches on the impact of free trade (or lack thereof) on ingredients for a small business, interesting contrasts in people’s price expectations of different kinds of cuisine, and doing good for your community as a small for-profit business.
Check out the full list of food podcasts now posted under the Adventure section of Food the Wong Way’s navigation bar.
Got a food podcast you love and want to share with the world?
Write me in the comments, or send me a tweet @FoodtheWongWay.
Singapore is famous for its food culture, and although there are certainly high-end top-dollar restaurants with 10-course menus that would charm the foodiest ex-pat executive, the heart of that food culture lives in the local hawker centres.
Street food is a common cultural institution throughout the world, but has a special place in Southeast Asia in particular as the dominant working-class cuisine and in Singapore’s case primary meal option. The hawker centres themselves are the result of a typically Singaporean government effort in the 1970’s to improve food safety and keep an ever-increasing army of food hawkers from blocking traffic. The government built and maintains the cavernous markets themselves, and administers licensing and health codes. Despite this standardization, the hawker centre is still a vibrant part of the local culture and a wonderfully chaotic den of unexpected delights to western palates and challenges to preconceptions about “eating out”.
The centres are organized as long lines of narrow, no-frills stalls, each operated by a different vendor, each with their own specialties and styles. Although the cuisines tend to be dominated by the ethnicity of the surrounding neighborhood, it’s still a grab-bag of curries, dumplings, soups, hot pots, noodles, satay, fruit juices, and everything else that’s taken root in this culinary crossroads.
Besides the amazing architecture of Al Andalus (the name of southern Spain during the times of the Islamic rule from ~700 – 1492, the area now known as Andalusia), the area is also known for tapas.
Last Friday was The Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ: Indigenous Foods and Ecological Knowledge Symposium. Folks from afar had made it to the University of Washington campus, including youth leadership from tribes as far away as NE Alaska.*
If you’re interested in advancing your knowledge in food movements, or advancing equity, there’s exciting work afoot from the folks in this space.
A few tidbits, big and small:
There were many other exciting things covered at the symposium, abstracts can be found on the symposium program.
Oh right, this is a food blog. “What did you eat, Yiling?”
There was a first foods tasting table, the main feature photo of this post. Also, I ate bitterroot, which had the texture of enoki mushrooms (or enoki had the texture of bitterroot). The native food they were preparing smelled delicious and it drove me a little wild to have to leave before it was ready to eat.
Trial Experience Rating:
Novelty Rating: in this case, it feels crass to use the word novelty lest I other the experience, so let’s just say I haven’t attended a meeting of the minds like this in quite some time. The familiarity of being among other people with “respect for elders” as a strong value was really sweet to me, while it was also refreshing to see the different flavor of a more playful mentorship attitude from Hyamiciate than I’ve found in East Asian elders. Caveat: tiny sample size, don’t generalize from this.
Likelihood of Repeat: 100% seems the symposium has grown in verve and popularity since its inception in 2015, so I expect it to happen again next year. I’d certainly be happy to go! I only caught wind of it after a prior commitment was set so only got a brief moment to attend. Would happily go back.
On a personal level, I also really enjoyed seeing the range of attendees participating, from Morgan up from Portland who works educating youth in healthy foods, the chair of the Geography department, Dr. Charlotte Cote who has written on revitalizing Indigenous food practices, and especially students leading the shift to promote First Foods and real engagement in their own communities.
*Is it a faux pas to refer to a region by the modern Western territory? Somebody pls school me on this..
My friend Amy asked me when I was in Minnesota once, “do you ever make recipes that don’t turn out?” and that spurred me starting a collection of fail/disappointment pictures. These have been deposited here as a stream, and has started to include situations I think funny.
You know, we’re all human, and we might as well admit it online, right?
I hope it makes you laugh. Let me know yes or no on that.
Future posts may also just include general behind-the-scenes tidbits, but you’ll just have to keep watching to find oot.