I once sat in a sermon for Lent where a priest suggested that rather than giving something up we invite in a new, more supportive habit. Honestly, I found this to be rather refreshing and it felt, well, doable. We once again find ourselves at the time of year where there is much focus on what we should not have eaten, shame about how much we indulged, or pressure to "fix" something about ourselves. New year, new you, right? Eh, let's take my priest's Lenten advice and invite in something new instead shall we? One of my favorite things to do is to find some aspect of cooking that I desire to learn more about and make it a focus of the year. Learning a technique or cuisine fosters discipline, feeds curiosity, and connects us to other people, places, and cultures. Currently, at the shop, we've been thinking a lot about fermentation.
Along with learning to create delicious sourdough bread, Steve has begun incorporating fermented and pickled foods into nearly every meal and feels better for it. He creates a lovely lineup to accompany him and his partner's dinner each evening.
Fermented foods aid in digestion and they add brightness and zing to a dish. Pictured at the top is a beautiful Kimchi Brown Rice Bliss Bowl from the plant-forward Love & Lemons blog. The good gut bacteria which result from fermentation are found in more than fermented veggies and Kimchi. It is also produced in sourdough starter, yogurt, kefir, miso, and kombucha. While these types of foods often get pigeon-holed into the trendy box, in truth, they have been incorporated into diets for thousands of years. This year, why not play with incorporating fermented foods into everyday meals? Or go crazy - learn how to ferment yourself. It is affordable and fascinating to watch food transform in front of your eyes.
Jill has put together a beautiful window laden with fermenting, kombucha, and canning cookbooks, tools, and kits. For more inspiration on fermentation, follow @NomaFerments.
Despite the gray skies and lawn-flooding rain this week, we have felt a pull towards renewal and the desire to lay the old to rest and invite in the new. At the shop, we have finished counting, restocked, dusted even the highest shelves, mopped floors, and realigned entire sections of the shop. It feels good, freeing. And wouldn't you know it? The color palate at the shop mirrors the current tones of nature with rich browns, creams, black and dark green flanked by the hope of Spring green that is sure to reveal itself as a result of these heavy rains before we know it.
Browse the New
Is there a better cure for gray skies and winter blues than a pop of spring green? Nope. Emphasizing colors that make you happy can help lift your mood and your table. On the subject of keeping the blues away, why not curl up with a good book? We love Every Day is Saturday and Ruffage.
Update your neutrals with these gorgeously textured dishes in browns and cream. We love seeing a nod to the classic brown glaze trending. If you have some pieces from the '70s or perhaps a Brown Betty teapot, try picking up one of these pieces to modernize and bring life to something that may feel dated.
Black and cream patterned bowls with accents of red add interest and texture setting off the Japanese Donabe on lacquered wood cake stand.
Rich dark greens play off one another in this collection of ramen bowls and basil enameled iron Staub tea kettle. How cool are those jade-colored dragon chopstick rests?
Hunger is not a problem. It is an obscenity. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
- Anne Frank
Australia and Puerto Rico
With the horror of the Australian wildfires and yet another natural disaster hitting Puerto Rico, one might feel overwhelmed with ways to help. World Central Kitchen let by chef Jose Andres never left Puerto Rico and is already on the ground in Australia. Their efforts to mobilize food and comfort for those in need, their promotion of fruits, grains, and vegetables from local food sources, training locals in running more efficient kitchens, and their promotion of those producing food in the affected markets is inspiring.
World Central Kitchen uses the power of food to empower communities and strengthen economies. After WCK has led a food relief activation and the emergency is over, we sometimes make an ongoing commitment when we feel we can successfully address chronic food system challenges with our unique mix of talents and resources. Through locally-led approaches, our long-term programs advance human and environmental health, offer access to professional culinary training, create jobs, and improve food security for the people we serve.