Just a little over a month has gone by since we hosted a fermentation workshop with Sandor Katz in Toronto. We had over 140 people attend and since then I've been so excited to receive feedback from several attendees who have taken the plunge into the deep-end of fermentation! I've heard stories of homemade krauts and bubbly sourdough and helped friends share bacterial cultures, tracking down milk kefir grains for miso koji. It's been absolutely heartwarming to witness the power a single person can have to inspire sustainability, health and community. And he wore a shirt with radishes on it.
On the other hand, since the last time I wrote, I've also been heartbroken by the outcome of the US election and the resulting swell in racist, sexist and anti-immigrant attitudes there and in communities across Canada.
Today I wanted to share Sandor's perspective on fermentation as a tool for social change and in the hopes of inspiring more of it, share 3 recipes for Superfood Kimchis.
Sandor Katz - Fermenting Social Change
Sandor Katz and other inspiring food writers, like Michael Pollan and Paul Roberts, have made such a distinct impression on me. Asking me to step back and consider where my food comes from and how it was made. From the discomfort of exploring the industrialization of agriculture and the corresponding soil depletion to the horrors of modern meat production, these writers have changed how I think about food and, perhaps more importantly, how I consume them. Sandor Katz says, "The food that’s available through our system of mass production and mass distribution is nutritionally diminished, the methods that are used in food mass production are environmentally destructive, the divorce of food production from our local communities is economically devastating, and for all of these reasons people are becoming more interested in food. They’re reading the labels, wanting to know how the food is produced, wanting to meet local farmers, and be part of the local economy. And once you start asking questions like this about your food, you realize fermentation is part of the answer.”
I began researching food issues in my twenties, sparked by my work with Greenpeace. When I went back to school to study nutrition, I began connecting the dots between what we've done to food and how that's affecting human health. I also began to see that my environmental activism could extend deep into my kitchen. Greenpeace has long offered 'Shoppers Guides' for consumers to make greener buying choices, from electronics to sustainable fish species and I've always known I have as much power as a consumer as I do as a voter. Where I spend my money impacts the world. If I want a better food system, I have to support it with my vote, my voice and my wallet. But this is where things get tricky. Good food costs more money. The veggies at my Farmer's Market cost a lot more than the conventionally grown stuff at the discount chain grocer. Here enters access issues. Shouldn't good quality food be accessible to us all?
This is what sparked Andrew and I to create our DIY workshops. Learning how to make things is cheaper and if we can figure out how to make things and teach others, then we help to create to more sufficiency around us. Andrew and I have never held onto our ideas or recipes. People come to our workshops and we give them the exact recipes of the products we also sell. We've had participants go on to start small businesses using the techniques and recipes we've given them and we love that. The more we share, the more abundant we all become.
So, let's all ferment something and share the culture. Feed an idea. Sign a petition. Bring a friend to a solidarity march. Buy less. Make more. Love bigger.
Clean Eating Magazine asked me to create cabbage-free kimchi recipes that incorporated superfoods. I spent weeks experimenting and tweaking and sharing the results with taste-testers and came up with these three. Hope you love them as much as I do!
This Superfruit Kimchi features antioxidant superstars like goji berries, red grapes and pomegranate seeds. With the flavours of mint, hot pepper and lime along with sesame seeds and cashews, this one is my favourite. Such a yummy and versatile side dish, also incredible inside a wrap or on top of a salad. Find the recipe here.
Asparagus Kimchi with Thai flavours! Need I say more? With lemongrass, garlic and coriander these yummy spears won't last long! Find the recipe here.
Kimchi Root Sticks. Spicy diakon radish and sweet carrots are brined in the flavours of orange, garlic and miso to create super flavourful spears. I like them as a snack dipped in hummus, but they also taste lovely quickly sautéed or grated into a salad. Find the recipe here.
Thanks so much for reading and hope you like the recipes! Would love to know your thoughts in the comments.