On One End of Change (Part 1)

My kitchen (and in-home wifi!) in Santa Fe have been in working order for about 2 days now. So it would seem incredibly appropriate to write a post regarding the place of New Mexican chiles in Mennonite cuisine (maybe in that tiny room off to the left of the bierrocks), the color of the new stove (green!), or what my first food endeavor is here (chicken stock... clearly).

But I fully realize that there are things left undone for us. Namely the results of one very thrilling Freezer Challenge. I know you've just been sitting with bated breath for this day, for this news...You may exhale...

Along this freezer path, there were some bright, beautifully delicious moments - poetic memories smelling of earthy lamb in a Cassoulet, the texture of pure silk raw given by some fine Escolar in a Sushi Roll made with Joleen. Simmered and pureed Cherries for the most joyous of New Years' souffles (apologies but eating commenced and was completed before a camera was remembered).

The beginning of Cassoulet
And the end...

Joleen on Tuna
The aesthetics were a challenge. Joleen's roll fared much better!

Let us not forget the Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup (above) made with that smoky pork stock of my dreams. This is indeed in the Success category of all things.

And alas there were failures... In particular: one disgruntled Banana Bread and some Berries seemingly too ancient to even sketch a tale for themselves.
Oh and those Tortillas and Ricotta Cheese burnt with a freezer cold to their core.

Even with all the cutest of accoutrements I could muster, that Banana Bread I remember enjoying 5 years ago was a disappointing fare. As Joleen said, "Well, I'd eat it I guess." 

Even I have limits.

But mostly there were giveaways...
Green peas and Cherries and Ginger to Emily.
Leaf lard and Razor Clams and Turmeric to Janan.
Chocolate and Pear Sauce to Bill.

And really... What result could be more gratifying than a friend enjoying a meal (even in your absence) because of the fact that you needed to empty your freezer? The cold becomes the tie that binds.


On the Intersection of Rabbit and Justice

Last night's dinner conversation and doodle theme: Rabbits. Everyone got a turn. 

I’ve been puttering away on the keyboard, trying to devise a blog post for my successes and failures in the freezer category... 
Demolished Corn tortillas. Freezer Burnt Razor Clams. Mediocre Banana Bread. 
Heavenly Cassoulet with Lamb. The Freshest Tasting Pear Sauce. Chocolate. 

And then someone goes and steals my friends' rabbits. Since for the time being (the moving truck has been delayed) I still write a food blog in Portland I feel compelled to comment

If you haven't heard about this rabbit melodrama you can read about it here . A quick rundown in case you're not into the clicking... 18 rabbits were stolen from an urban farmer (though he does not call himself that) in Portland last Saturday night. Enter my friend Levi who you might remember from here or here or here. Levi also works as an instructor for the Portland Meat Collective. In fact there was a class on raising, slaughtering, and cooking rabbits scheduled for Sunday, the day after the theft. It's believed to be politically motivated, but ironically the thief left 10 nursing bunnies behind. All of which, without a lactating mother to be found, died on Sunday.

The media picked it up quickly (as did Portlandia...rumor has it) and so did a LOT of feverishly opinionated folks. The comment streams have blown up with some fascinating streams of consciousness, and I’m reminded of a particular lesson I learned once: That a violent act in and of itself is often not the most shocking thing, but rather the audience’s response to the violent act. I quote a comment here, "Enjoy your karma killers! Live by the sword, or slaughtering knife, die by the sword." Ouch. 

Maybe it's the Mennonite in me, but all effective dialogue seems to have ceased. Dialogue being one of the prime goals of Camas Davis, the Portland Meat Collective (PMC) brain. She provides a thought-provoking, wonderfully-articulate update here

To move away from the vegan vs. carnivore, PMC vs. vegetarians... I am stunned at the number of people who applaud the person who stole from my friends. Because politics aside, someone invaded their home. Stole something important to them. The sensation of home invasion is a gross one, and this instance is no exception.

I wonder about the role of culture in this dramatic plot line. The act of rearing animals for consumption in an urban context is not yet a normalized one I would argue. It seems that the reaction of disgust, dismay and anger is heightened when one sees a slaughter come from that distant farm and onto a neighbor's front porch. Even the animal itself is a thing to ponder... Eating rabbits is still somewhat of a cultural taboo at the moment (though they've been eaten by many cultures for centuries). So although rabbits are making a comeback on our menus, there is certainly still a "you're eating my dog" dynamic. I wonder if the reaction would the same around chickens (which have become much more normal for both eggs and slaughter in urban farming)? Cows? Pigs? Insert animal name here

But if one considers the elements of socialization and cultural relevance (among many other considerations I've not touched on) and is still in disgust, then by all means, express oneself. I'm an advocate for that. Yet would there not have been a better alternative? Is home invasion really the best route? 

Rather than go on a longer political diatribe about the ins and out, the rights and wrongs, and the ethics of eating animals, I thought a few questions might go a bit farther. Because questions are the birthplace of a conversation. A conversation in which crimes are not condoned, people are not damned, and disagreeing minds exhibit a respect where respect is not expected.
So have a coffee, a Zanax, whatever it is you need, sit down with that crazy carnivore/vegan/farmer/rabbit advocate and talk. Nonviolent rules apply.  

- Many of the comments in the discussion reference biblical passages and an opinion on what Jesus would do or say... what do you think Jesus would do or say?
- What would Miru Kim say? 
- Is the Portland Meat Collective in an exceptional position of vulnerability due to their position of transparency in the meat-eating process? If so, how should we as a community respond to that vulnerability? 
- Does the means justify the ends? (Interpret how you wish) 

I think I hear the moving truck. Back to that freezer...