Food anthropologist, ex chef embarking on a ESL career - to help fund all the eating I want to do!
Agri-Biodiversty, Terroir, and Insects...
Right, it occurred to me that I never answered my own question in the previous blog post. Why are certain species of plant, or animal, an accepted part of the food system (i.e. yellow corn or cows), whilst some are valorised because they are popular or rare (i.e. vanilla or civet coffee), and some are completely ignored altogether? I’m going to answer this question with three points that I find helpful to think about the food system; human conditioning, human consumption, and terroir.
Blue Corn Moon
Ok, so this post is circling back to the post about permaculture that I did pre-Christmas, and whilst not exactly about permaculture it is about agro-biodiversity. I see the two topics as being intimately inter-related as they both seem to stem from utilising land to the best of its ability, and along with hydroponics and vertical farming may be part of the solution to feeding urban populations.
'Knives & Ink'
Twixmas—noun—the time period between Christmas and New Year’s. To be honest, I think I just use it as an excuse to eat all the things, lie in bed, and not know what day it is. I hope you’ve had a great Twixmas—but I know that the festive season is not all it’s cracked up to be for many people, so I hope that it’s been as good as it can be.
All I Want for Christmas...
Hello everybody, in case you haven’t noticed (though you probably have) it’s Christmas in a few days’ time. I really love this time of year, I adore the sparkles, tinsel, fairy lights—you name it, I’m pretty much a fan! Being a foodie blogger, it should go without saying that one of the things I most enjoy is all the deliciousness that goes along with the celebrations—I have rather rough and ready tastes—so all the rib-sticking comfort food (like mince pies, bangers and mash, roasts, bread and butter puddings) are right up my alley. So, yeah, I love this time of year.
This week was a little quiet on the food knowledge gathering front, so, unfortunately, this post won’t be as bright and shiny as others. However, I would like to talk about permaculture and agriculture. To set the stage somewhat, one of my friends has started to grow things in his garden—from chilies to squash—and he has the aim to grow everything he needs next season. I applaud this; self-sufficiency and off-the-grid living is one of the things I am most interested in. So, he was interested in a film night which is part and parcel of the London Permaculture Group, and asked me if I would like to come along. We wound up in Café Cairo in Brixton on a frozen (ever so slightly wet) Thursday evening, the film was to be screened in the tent area, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t take my coat off for most of it! Due to an AV error, the group never quite got around to seeing the film (which is called Tomorrow) but we saw a few clips and I picked up enough information to investigate the subject further by myself.
Okay, so this time I want to discuss a film (see food blogs can be multi-faceted!) because all good films and literature involve food. Sideways eschews the modern Hollywood style, and instead goes for a much more slow burning, adult, narrative. It is, ostensibly, about two men approaching the middle of their lives, and on one of the men’s stag, do in the California wine country. Our protagonists are both struggling and faded (one an aspiring writer and the other a past his prime actor) and to Jack (the actor) this represents one last outing before married life, whereas for Miles it represents something more ponderous and appreciative. Both seem to be depressed. Miles is more obviously so, but I feel that Jack is too, as it appears he is running away from something in his life.
So, I’ve been reflecting, and in my last post, I seemed quite unenthusiastic about tech and food. Whilst some of the ideas I heard at LFTW were quite dystopian in bent I felt (but that could be because of my love of Sci-Fi literature, film, and TV), there were others that could help fix the issues in the food chain that we have these include: food wastage, climate change, monocropping (that’s where you have one plant, i.e. wheat, grown in acres of land with no bio-diversity), soil and water depletion. The idea that I want to tackle in this post is one that can be used in avoiding food wastage: blockchain technology.
London Food Tech Week
OK, so last week was a bit hectic for me. I was given the opportunity to go to London Food Tech Week, which has been on my radar for several years. As I am both a bit of a culinary Luddite and an anthropologist, the tech and future side of food is a bit new to me. However, this (I am not allowed to say “conference”) week was a revelation, insightful, and a bit of a blast.