Monday, February 29, 2016


Another Monday morning, and another attempt at keeping this blog going. It's not as if I don't have any ideas or doing food things but rather that I am too busy doing to write. This is a short rumination about, funny enough, ritual. I have thought a lot about food rituals, so these posts are an easy one for me while I finish off a post about carrot soup and try to get an application in for BlogTO. I'm not sure that I am the writer that they are looking for due to my lack, and maybe disdain, for listicles and the anti faddishness of my food views. But sometimes when I am feeling lacklustre and bored with this writing thing, I look at some of my posts and think, damn that was a good post. So, I'm gonna apply. Anyways, enough of the chit chat and on with the post.

My one son is having some minor issues of organization so I went hunting for a cool to do list application and found Habitica - a role playing one. It didn't work for him because he is at the uncool Dad stage but my youngest uses it to track his time on the computer when doing daily tasks such as make bed.

I put do dishes and make bed as my daily work. I put it up there because my mom had always told me that I should do those things. I have often used her words of cleanliness when I plan on having a lady friend over and I am rusty in all these things due to being married for a long time. So, I am starting to force an old habit back.

I have a dishwasher. With two kids staying intermittently and the rest of the nights composed of eating cereal out of those little boxes... I'm kidding but the reality is that I do not have enough dishes to fill up the dishwasher without using Mason jars and mixing bowls for cereal and juice. Every morning for the last few weeks, I wash my dishes.

In that time, I find myself slowing down for the morning rush and forced to take a breath. Hot water and clinks lull me into a more calm spot. As I reach the last of the dishes, the thoughts of the day kick in and I can start to plan from a better place. Is the kitchen a type of heaven for me?

Even when the kids are not around in the morning, it makes me feel as if life is normal. When they are there, I am setting an example and get the occasional help. When they are not, I can pretend I hear the one son clacking away in the other room on his laptop using up his time or the other stomping occasionally upstairs.

I often, leave the pans for the evening after work or before bed. Just a little bit of hard work to close off the day. There is something about coming home and putting away the dishes that makes me feel useful without having to do too much. These rituals make my life feel like a palimpset; writing and rewriting my life. Sometimes the chores are a direct copy of the previous day but more often they are slightly different to obfuscate the bits below. When I get home from another day of learning another new thing, it is relaxing to be able to just do the same thing that I know how to do. Comforting. Okay, a bit deep and probably navel gaze-y but what the hell else am I supposed to think about with my hands elbow deep in hot water, suds and food detritus?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Food Gifts

In the past few weeks, I have received some food gifts.  Mostly because at some time in the past, I have either shared something or shown an interest in the food that people eat, they return the favour with actual food.

I have in my possession coffee beans from the Kaffa region in Ethiopia which is coffee's birthplace and one of the contenders for how the brew got the name. It came from a backyard of coworker's sister. I will be writing about this and trying the Ethiopian coffee ceremony at home.

Also, some wild oregano and sour plum jam from a Greek friend. The oregano was shipped from Greece and has already made it into some goodies.

Homemade idli from an Indian mother who is visiting her child for the next month or so. Really excellent home cooking.

Homemade brown ale made with saison yeast for a Christmas dubbel.

Shared the other way, lime curd for someone to try mixed in with their yoghurt, spicy tamarind balls and the odd produce.

This sharing goes on all the time and while I feel aware of my culture appropriation, it still comes down to people sharing food and stories. I am hoping to write yet another white liberal male post on Beyonce and so I am forewarning you...

Monday, February 15, 2016

Kids Ideas: Breakfast Ramen

Family Day 2016. My kids and I have been trying to make a breakfast ramen for a while. This mythical beast includes bacon, broth, carrot, onions, and egg. 

So, being the dutiful dad, I have had for about three weeks, the essential ingredients handy. The following is a general guide on how to achieve a child's dream.

We took a package of bacon and put it in the oven at 350C to get it to the point where it is crispy; Kid took apart the bacon and loaded it onto the tray. After the tray went in the oven, he cut baby cut carrots into the size he wanted, followed by a green onion per person, whites separated from greens. I poured off the bacon fat and he added both beef and chicken broth and heated to warm. Once it got there, we added the carrots. Then we waited until bacon was done. 

When the bacon cooled a little, we poured some bacon into a fry pan for the eggs. He crumbled the bacon and ate a few pieces. I may have had a few too. Added udon noodles, onion whites. When they began to separate, we added green peas sliced thin and the onion greens. This is what it looked like.

After a few minutes while everything was separating, I fried an egg in excess bacon fat. The bowl went something like this.

 It was really amazing. The original conception called for shrimp and it could be done. The other adjustments would be more carrot and bigger slices of peas. My point is that it got my son into cooking and coming up with a concept that he owned. We ended up spending 45 minutes of time together in the kitchen where it didn't feel as if I was guiding the process but just offering suggestions to what he was doing. Grace notes to his whole piece. If felt good to offer suggestions and help when he needed instead of being about helping me. I helped him. More importantly, he wants to do it again.

Happy Family Day, all.