Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hello, readers.

Of late, I've been reading Turntable Kitchen. It's a blog about food and music and these are both good things. What they do is pick an artist, album, or a song, and pair it with some kind of food stuff. Sometimes it is something like The New Pornographer's "Together" with a Chicken Tortilla Soup and dreams of summer. Sometimes it is Finnish Cardamom Buns and The Vagrants, "I Can't Make A Friend: 1965-1968." They have a nice mix of music for March, here.

Today I visited a cafe called Cafe Harunohee for the second time in a week. It is a cafe oft-mentioned and loved (and sometimes used as an art and food exhibition hall) by the alien from aliensdayout. Besides it having a spectacular name that rhymes with itself, it also serves up a nice array of caffeinated beverages and foods and sweets, of which a great deal are vegan-able. There is also--tucked away in a ceiling nook, next to some sort of pomegranate-related box--a Gundam robot. I'm going to assume it's like a gargoyle and will protect all in Harunohee from mega-beasts and other, more evil, giant robots.

On Sunday, on my first visit, I had a nicely foamy soy latte and a bit of disappointment that they had no food to eat on the weekends. But, as I was told, they would have food during the week. So, I finished my drink, and read some more of Swamplandia!, and went home, with thoughts to return.

And so, this being Wednesday, and solidly in the week, I visited again. I ordered a lunch set and was brought some buckwheat tea to drink as I waited. It was yummy.

The food turned out to be curry, which was nice, with so-gogi, which is Korean for beef and also nice, though not something I wanted to eat. Sometimes I forget to say things I should say. They were quite understanding and said they would eat the curry and made me the food they generally serve on Thursday and Friday, which is a sprout bibimbab. Since I can't have the red pepper paste generally poured on such things (gluteny), they sprinkled some sesame oil on instead. This was also yummy. As was the espresso afterward.

The alien happened to stop by while I was there, and so, just in case, Hello, again.

On the bus back home, I opened a window. It was bright and breezy and just warm enough. I listened to  Neko Case, Asobi Seksu, and The New Pornographers. I dreamed not of summer so much as spring, which in Korea lasts for about two weeks. You have to be prepared, or you'll miss it.

Happy such and so forth, readers. Try not to get involved in too many wars.


p.s. Yes, you are right. These pictures are not from Harunohee. These are pictures of food I ate this week. Next time I go, I'll take pictures. Promise. Or, you could just look here.

p.p.s. Completed a review of The Secret History of Fantasy for Strange Horizons and will let you know when it is readable, readers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

There Is So Much Stuff Here

Hello, readers.

I am listening to Antony and the Johnsons. I like them. They sound like a church I wish existed and maybe does, somewhere, in some multi-verse or another. As a friend told me on Facebook, "There is so much STUFF here."

Here is some stuff that, of late, I ran into--or ran into me, as the case may be.

Sarah Kay is a spoken word poet. She, along with Phil Kaye, runs a group called Project V.O.I.C.E. It is a group which works with young people, teaching and encouraging them to engage the world and its stuff through spoken word poetry. She recently gave a talk at TED in which she performed two of her works, "B" and "Hiroshima." They were quite good. They made me kind of almost cry.

You can find several of her stuffs online, such as, "Love Letter from the Toothbrush to the Bicycle Tire," which is silly and funny and probably not apt to make you kind of almost cry.

An excerpt from David Foster Wallace's unfinished novel, The Pale King,  appeared in The New Yorker recently. It is about a boy trying to connect with all the parts of himself. It is called "Backbone." While not spoken, it is good, too.

Yesterday, a student asked me, "What about plants?"

She was speaking to my vegetarianism. I said, "Well, erm, I've thought about that and though I don't really know if they feel pain, I think maybe they don't---and, from what I've read, organic farming tends to probably not produce quite the same amount of pollution (or resource burden) as animal farming. 

She seemed satisfied with this.

I was not. In my thinking about food, it has never really entered my mind that living did not entail some amount of other stuffs dying.

Brian Cox (scientist, British, knows stuff) has a series of BBC documentaries called, Wonders of the Universe. In the first episode, he discusses Time and Loss and Life. In the second episode, he discusses how all of the everything that exists--including you and me, readers--was born from the heart of dying star.

Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I shouldn't call myself an ethi-tarian, which is a dumb made-up (kind of pretentious sounding) word I just made-up that means someone that tries to eat ethically according to one's one arbitrarily defined sense of ethics--in this particular case, causing the least amount of suffering to, in no particular order: that which you eat, the people who tend that which you eat, the world which gives birth to that which you eat, and also penguins and polar bears because those guys need our help.

Speaking of plants:

Carol Kaesuk Yoon's "No Face, but Plants Like Life, Too" from a week or so ago in The New York Times.

An article from 2009 in Wired about plants having social lives.

Also, this TED talk from the end of last year: "The Roots of Plant Intelligence" (which is not the source of the crush referred to in the tags, though Mr. Mancuso is a fine bit of stuff as far as stuff goes).

I can smell my beans boiling. I should check on them.

Happy stuff, readers.

Everything is alive.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Now With More Pancakes. Also, Coffee.

Hello, readers.

It is the weekend. This means I made pancakes. Also, today I used, for the first time, my very own hand-grinder to hand-grind coffee beans. I don't know if a hyphen is really necessary in the word hand-grind, but it appears my fingers think so, and I've learned not to argue with body parts. It leads to such silly horror movies.

The other thing I did today was work on a review for Strange Horizons and attend a celebration of fermentation. This latter thing was an even in Itaewon where many makers of moldy good things--such as beer, cheese, kombucha, pickles, etc.--gathered to display their wares.

I sampled some kombucha and coconut peanut butter and much conversation. With fellow gluten-free person and fellow lovers of Radiolab. I also got to share some gluten-free beer with the brewers in attendance, as well as a friend, who is also a brewer and has promised to attempt, in his mad ways, the making of gluten-free beer.

I also met Mipa of Alien's Day Out, whose link you can find over there to the right. This marks the first time I've ever met someone who writes a blog that I follow who is not already a friend--in the let's grab a coffee sense of friendship, as opposed to the goodreads friendship, for example, which I share with Neil Gaiman.

It is always nice to meet so may people in one place who are passionate about things. You learn so much and, in this case, you get to eat some really good pickles.

Remember to check out the Gluten-free Ratio Rally, readers, if you're in need of it, or just interested in baking something up in a mad baker sort of way.


The recipe for pancakes today came, mostly, from GF in the City. That flour there is teff and brown rice flour. There's salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, too. And baking powder + baking soda. And I forgot about the potato starch, but they turned out alright. You'll see.

The thing you can do with soy milk (milk of any kind, really), is put a tablespoon of some kind of vinegar in it, and wait a bit. What happens is you get something like buttermilk. And, if you use apple cider vinegar, as I did this morning, you get something like amazing. What you do after that is mix the amazing, along with egg or an egg-replacement, into the above flour. Your goop will look like the above. The baking soda, plus the acid from the vinegar, is what makes the bubbling.

Oh, heat. How useful you are.

A stack of yum.

Another in the series, Pancake with hand.

Bonus. Polenta.

Happy madness, readers.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Pancakes and Promises

Hello, readers.

I promised pictures.

Here are pictures.



A mix of buckwheat, oat, teff, and brown rice flours, along with tapioca and potato starch.

Goop. Used Gluten-free girl's recipe, sans the flax and egg and almond and buttermilk;
 plus some chia and soy milk.


Hand with pancake.

Pancake with home-made maple syrup 
(made with maple that how you make maple syrup? It's how I made it.)

Sweet potato hash with some purple cabbage.

Happy imagining, readers.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Korea and Gluten and The Future

Hello, readers.

I am back in Seoul, in Korea. I have an iPod now. It tells me real-time bus information and the weather and nearby restaurants and also sometimes I listen to music on it. My students have complimented its fuschia-ness, as well.

Sweet potato tacos with pineapple slaw. Also, beans. Gluten-free tortillas.
The Wild Cow in Nashville.

One of the things that occurred to me during my sojourn into the U.S., was how much it had actually weighed on me, the explaining to Koreans what it means to be allergic to gluten, as well as a vegeterian. Sometimes, in Korea, it is quite simple. People understand. They are considerate and accommodating, where accommodation is reasonable (such as, "Please don't put the wheat tortillas on the plate with my naked fajita."). Sometimes, though, it is less simple and seems to involve explaining that fish and chicken and pork are all meat and once, truly, someone did refuse to not put the wheat tortillas on my plate for reasons that escaped me at the time but which I chose later to imagine involved their being quite attached to the way they believed a plate of food should be arranged in terms of color and shapes.

Huevos rancheros as had at The Laughing Seed Cafe in Asheville, NC. Note, that is tofu, not eggs.
And they were yummy. And, yes, those stalagmite formations are gluten-free.

I respect obsessive attention to detail, so I was happy with my made-up reason.

All of this is to say that I will continue to eat out and learn more and useful ways to explain things in Korean and also that I bought a toaster oven.

Hopefully, it will arrive soon.

This is a boston cream pie cake. It is gluten-free. It can be had at The Posana Cafe in Asheville.
Most everything is gluten-free here. Everything everything is good.

And then I will bake things according to ratio's in the way currently being expounded by the Gluten-Free Girl of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.

She, and other blogging people, are calling it The Ratio Rally.

Vegetable tempura at Posana.

This month is pancakes. I made some this morning. My mix of flours included buckwheat, oat, brown rice, and teff, as well as the starches of tapioca and potato.

I used soybean milk, too.

They were tasty. I failed to take pictures.  I promise not to in future times. There are many more pancakes to make. You will see them.

It's possible this blog will begin to have many pictures of food, both as fun-ness and as motivation to not stop making tasty things as inspired by both Nashville and Asheville's astounding plenty of yum: pictures of which have decorated this post.

Other people do this cooking and picture thing. Gluten-free girl, for one, as well as Alien's Day Out, whose quixotic attempt to remain vegan in Korea has often inspired me, if not to be vegan, then at least to remain vegetarian in the face of those occasional Korean questions/temptations as to whether chicken might not be some kind of un-meat.

I enjoy reading these people. Much in the way that I write stories due to my love of reading stories, or often blog because of my love of reading blogs, I imagine the chronicling of my food adventures in Korea will follow a familiarly imitative and celebrative path.

We'll see. You never know with the future and food. Once we have replicators I don't know what we'll do.

Spring rolls at Posana.

Happy #foodisgood, readers.