I'm leaving on Thursday for the conference in Pennsylvania. Last week I was excited but felt pretty confident overall, this week I'm definitely nervous. Still excited, but nervous too. Nauseous excited would be the most apt description.
Being my first conference, and having a history of being a particularly bad public speaker I've been reading my paper out loud for the last few days. I am just this afternoon starting to feel more like myself when I read it aloud. Funny how writing something and speaking something can feel so separate. After all the tweeking my paper has gone through (Thanks Alice!) I'm pretty confident in it, which feels good. The paper is on gender dynamics in professional and domestic kitchens. Which seems to me like a topic that I would not necessarily have done my best work with, so this paper was a nice surprise.
When I ignore the fact that I have to speak in a room filled with strangers I'm really excited about spending a few days surrounded by food academics. It's going to be interesting to see what other people are researching, and talk about where people think the field is headed.
I just hope I don't throw up on the podium during my paper or something mortifying like that.
Wish me luck.
For those of you who don't know me outside of the interweb, I'm tall. Above average for sure. In my teen years I briefly had the nickname "Freaky Tall". Although I have tall on both sides of my family it seems that a lot of my peers are also taller then their parents, and many are taller than their grandparents (even taking pre-old age shrinkage into account).
Last year I read a paper which pointed out how the current generation of young people in Asia are much taller then the generation that proceeded them. This article makes the argument that the generation that is taller was brought up with better nutrition than their parents. As these countries became more industrialized their citizens got more access to and more rounded diet, and the extra calories and nutrients they received in their peak growing years made them taller then the generation before them.
Nature is a key part of this; more nutrients = more growth. But what about nurture (nature's counterpart in the procreation process). The want to give your children better then you had as a child is one of the ways in which you nurture that child. What better is to the individual is defined by the culture that person associates with. An example of this is people who choose to feed their children a vegetarian or vegan diet, their decision is one that they've arrived at because of their culture (religious in some parts of the world, perceived health reasons in another and for ethical reason in others). It is their culture that is informing their choices, not nature. North America's childhood obesity rates, are part of these changes as well. Parents are not deliberately hurting their children by overfeeding they are trying to make their children happy. It's just that the foods that their children want are deviously unhealthy (although that could just be my naive opinion not being a parent myself.) These changes in people's physical appearance have to do with what they eat and these changes are drastic because the changes in how we eat are drastic.
With changes in agriculture and food cultures happening so rapidly we are seeing the affects the youngest generations more immediately, not spread out over many generations. In the case of people being taller then their parents it's a neutral thing, but when it comes to childhood diabetes and obesity rising at such an alarming rate it becomes a negative thing.
The core that unites all of these issues is parents wanting to give their children something better. More nutritious food is better, more food is better, an alternative diet is better. What we are beginning to see is the long term effect of better.
This Friday and Saturday I'll be attending at Transatlantic Perspectives Conference at BU. Friday I'm taking a class about fermentation, which I'm really excited about. I grew up helping my Grannie make saurkraut in her basement but I'm excited about learning about yogurt, kimchi and beer.
The instructor wrote a book called Wild Fermentation and I'm going to get a copy of for taking his class. I have minimal experience with food preserving outside of my family experience. I have watched my Mum and Grannie make pickles, but participated minimally and I have not made pickles or jam or anything in a jar since I moved from Canada.
I have a starter in my fridge I use for bread, named Inga. I understand that Inga is made up of live bacteria and if I don't want her to die I need to feed her. Fermentation as far as I understand it is similar to Inga, but you are using the food that you are trying to preserve to feed the bacteria. Somehow through this process the food is preserved. Or maybe it's closer to marinated. I should have all the answers by Friday night.
Just went up, got too excited and couldn't wait. Come over and have a looksee....
I've started a new project, and I hope everyone will come over and take a look.
Rather then devote myself to The Whole Beast by Fergus Henderson which was the original idea, I am simply going to try and cook in the spirit of nose to tail eating. Now being a graduate student with a small space and even less money I am not going to go out and buy and entire creature (as much as I'd like too), but go in search of tripe, feet, brains and liver and do the best I can with them. If anyone has a book that will help me along my way please send me the title, if anyone has a dish from their childhood that uses offal or other seldom used parts of livestock please send it my way as well.
The possibilities that lay before me are a little daunting, but it's all very exciting.
There will be lots of pictures, and the occasional curse word. The first recipe that I plan on making is pig's ear and split pea soup, and I'm excited about it. I launched the new site a few days ago, but then pulled it back again because I think that it needs a little more love before I release it on the world. I'm hoping to get it back up ASAP.