Food Is Political, Whether We Like It Or Not!!!

Here we are, in the depths of winter. We’ve endured seemingly endless days of gray. We’ve seesawed between cold snaps and unseasonable warm spells–bearing witness to a changing climate. We’ve felt helpless in the face of senseless acts of violence, outraged by the racism that has reared its ugly head, and frustrated with pervasive political impotence. But there are rays of hope–young people speaking out against gun violence, #metoo moments and #blacklivesmatter, to name a few. And there are reasons not to fill with despair, namely, that it ruins our appetite for change.  At the beginning of WWII, Camus wrote “The Almond Trees,” named for trees that would blossom suddenly one February night. He writes:

The task is endless, it’s true.​ But we are here to pursue it. I do not have enough faith in reason to subscribe to a belief in progress, or to any philosophy of history. I do believe at least that a man’s awareness of his destiny has never ceased to advance. We have not overcome our condition, and yet we know it better. We know that we live in contradiction, but we also know that we must refuse this contradiction and do what is needed to reduce it. Our task as men is to find the few principles that will calm the infinite anguish of free souls. We must mend what has been torn apart, make justice imaginable again in a world so obviously unjust, give happiness a meaning once more to peoples poisoned by the misery of the century. Naturally, it is a superhuman task. But superhuman is the term for tasks men take a long time to accomplish, that’s all. Let us know our aims then, holding fast to the mind, even if force puts on a thoughtful or a comfortable face in order to seduce us. The first thing is not to despair. Let us not listen too much to those who proclaim that the world is at an end. Civilizations do not die so easily, and even if our world were to collapse, it would not have been the first. It is indeed true that we live in tragic times. But too many people confuse tragedy with despair. “Tragedy,” Lawrence said, “ought to be a great kick at misery.” This is a healthy and immediately applicable thought. There are many things today deserving such a kick.

I know. You’re probably thinking this is a little heavy for a frivolous food blog. And, of course, it’s true. But it’s also true that food is political, whether we like it or not. How it’s grown and processed, by whom and under what conditions, who has access to what, and who goes hungry. It’s said that food is the one thing that unites us all. It has the ability to bridge barriers, nurture community, and, in the words of cook and author Julia Turshen, to “feed the resistance.” I don’t have any answers here, I can’t promise any magical food cures. Instead, I have for you a simple recipe that I hope will brighten your day with a burst of citrus in the midst of winter and offer a small reminder that life can be sweet and shared with love.

Gratefully reprinted from Green Gourmette.

Crystallized Honey

Does this ever happen to your honey?  Grainy, clumpy, not pretty…but there’s an easy fix or two…my favorite and seems to yield the best results:  NEVER let anything touch your honey.  Pour it into/onto a spoon or measuring device.  Crystallization is mostly caused by moisture, and next, bacteria (not necessarily bad stuff that will hurt you).  If you keep your honey moisture free you probably won’t have crystallization.  If you do, however, just put the whole jar in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.  That’ll do the trick.  You can use the microwave, on-and-“off”ing every few seconds and stirring, but that’s way more trouble!  Now, go enjoy a good cup of hot tea with some honey. – Lula

Happy VD!  Would You Rather Have Chocolate or Gold?!?

Growing up, Valentine’s Day was not just for lovers — it was for me from mom.  Previous recitations would suggest that mother’s interest in Valentine’s Day culinary delights might be minimal, if existent at all. True, this.  I do not remember a Valentine’s Day meal ever being prepared, either for my father or for the family.  Siblings may correct if their memories differ. Mom always acknowledged the day with a Russell Stover Heart or Whitman’s Sampler Heart, or whatever, 6-8-10 candies and a card, but I guess she noted my indifference to sweets at some point and one Valentine’s Day in either my 10th or 11th year, instead, I woke up to a small jewel box containing a gold, filigreed heart pin. How could she know it would take my breath away, or did she just get lucky? I continue to be a sucker for quality bling.

I wore that small gold heart frequently, mostly on my sleeve (for real!) for years, and when I went to college it mysteriously disappeared along with a fantastically exquisite green silk blouse. I say mysteriously because I never caught Amy (Yeah, I’m naming names — girlfriend NOT!), the suitemate who everyone knew wasn’t quite on the up and up, mostly because she (ineffectively) tried to steal boyfriends, and was found slinking amongst dorm rooms…

A piece of my heart went with mom, and her gold heart is gone, but that’s ok, because the heart is a muscle and it can repair and strengthen, and has the amazing capacity to grow as long as your mind and your arms are open wide.

A Note From Chef Lori

Hearts aren’t just for Valentine’s Day – you can order Lula’s “Heart’s Afire” anytime – 5-Spice Quail Breast in Puff Pastry with Wilted Mustard Greens, Pomegranate and our Secret Spicy Sauce!

Click here to visit Lula’s website!

 

A “Salty” Topic

Oh!  I could get technical on you…but let’s not.  All salt is sea salt.  Mineral salt (the kind you shake on your food, whether it’s been iodized or not) is really old sea salt that has been “mined” from sea deposits left millenia ago.

Stuff labeled sea salt is “raked” (alot more to that but again, let’s not) from fresh deposits, is kissed by the sun, and is flakier.  Trace residual seawater mineral content left at certain “levels” of the salt bed result in salt that can look, smell, and taste a bit different to accomplished palates, hence, gray salt or pink salt or any other color.

The way a salt crystal is shaped results in how it is perceived on the tongue (flavor).  If you cook with expensive salts like Fleur de sel you’re TOTALLY wasting your money – when salt dissolves you can’t tell the difference.  Get a bang for your buck and impress your table with a little bowl of whatever flaky sea salt you enjoy, and sprinkle the crystals on your finished plate, and you will totally enjoy the flavor burst in your mouth.   I wish for you some yummy in your tummy!  – Lula