O Moldy Night: A pop-up museum of molded gelatinous food

"Jell-O by the Sea" by home cook Kate Fulbright

Three (m)old friends -- Kate Medley, Emily Wallace & Kate Elia of North Carolina -- have a long-standing relationship with Jell-O and its molds. So, they recently got folks together to create gelatin masterpieces for "O Moldy Night," their pop-up museum celebrating molded food.

They write:

As for the three of us, our relationship with molds began with the campy — ’70s recipes and good “mold-fashioned” wordplay: A birthday cake with the slogan "I'm old" started our endeavour. But our obsession with the molded eventually expanded to reflect our combined careers in art and food. We wondered about the rise and demise of shaped and gelatinous foods and became enamored by their aesthetics. So, what began as a years-long joke to elevate aspic to a pedestal eventually solidified (as gelatin is wont to do) into a pop-up museum project deemed "O Moldy Night," which displayed the works of some 40 chefs, home cooks, grandmas, and artists at The Durham Hotel in our North Carolina town. Materials ranged from tomatoes and carrots to pig’s feet, chicken tenders, and crushed pineapple.

Take a gander at some of the other creations over at The Bitter Southerner.

Previously: The Mid-Century Supper Club revives kooky recipes of yore

image via The Bitter Southerner

(Neatorama) Read the rest

Dirt therapy: Help this incredible community farm in Bellingham, Washington build a greenhouse by the freeway

My sister-in-law Mary Loquvam was thinking globally and acting locally long before urban homesteading became hip and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch grew to double the size of Texas. In the last decades, she's pioneered recycling programs at airports, led efforts to revitalize the Los Angeles River ecosystems, and directed the L.A. Audobon Society. Now living in Bellingham, Washington, Mary and her neighbors have transformed an unused plot of land along the highway into the nonprofit York Community Farm where they've grown and distributed hundreds of pounds of dry beans, potatoes, and winter squash to the community. The real centerpiece of their effort, Mary says, is their farm internship program that provides "living-wage, resume-building, meaningful work experience for underserved members of our community- our recently-incarcerated, homeless, and veteran folk."

Mary and her York Farm friends have just launched a Kickstarter to fund a greenhouse so they can grow food year-round and build an aquaponics system that "has much greater per acre yields, and uses 90% less water, than traditional land-based farming."

"York Community Farm envisions being a catalyst for development of a social benefit aquaponics industry where the bottom line is not generating revenue for stockholders but, generating living-wage jobs for struggling communities in our region and beyond," Mary writes.

I love their slogan: "Improving lives through dirt therapy!"

Please help York Community Farm build a greenhouse by supporting their Kickstarter!

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Flying Spaghetti Monster pasta strainer

Ototo's Flying Spaghetti Monster pasta strainer is a houseware, a religious artefact and a novelty item, all rolled into one $17 package! (via Geeks Are Sexy) Read the rest

Watch how to find and eat giant puffball mushrooms

Tim Farmer found a giant puffball mushroom in the woods, a fall delicacy that requires a little good luck and timing to enjoy. They are a lot safer than picking other wild mushrooms because they are pretty easy to identify. Read the rest

This is the world's smallest sushi

At Tokyo's Sushiya no Nohachi (すし屋の野八) you can order sushi made with just one grain of rice (粒寿司). Fortunately, after the novelty wears off, you can also order regular-sized sushi that's said to be excellent! A plate of tiny sushi is free, so long as you also drop around US$50 on regular sushi. The tiny sushi plate includes Toro (tuna), Tai (sea bream), Chūtoro (medium fatty tuna), Hokkigai (surf clam), Uni (sea urchin), Tako (octopus), Tamago (egg), Gari (pickled ginger). From Tofugu:

The tiny sushi idea originally came from a customer in 2002 who challenged the owner's son (Ikeno Hironori) to see how small he could make a piece of sushi. Over time, it became something they were known for.

That said, when we asked how often they need to make a plate of small sushi, we were surprised.

"Just a few times a week and at most five times in a day." Though when customers from overseas order, they tend to be extra enthusiastic about the tiny sushi.

He told us that one woman from Europe burst into tears and cried for an hour and a half after seeing the cute, little sushi.

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What makes good deli meat?

Gourmet charcuterie expert Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions knows from good meat. I still like Oscar Meyer bologna.

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Review: Lynx Sonoma smoker makes the perfect turkey

Every year we invite a bunch of friends over for Christmas dinner. We always have oven roasted turkey. But for 2017, I was given a loaner unit of the Lynx Sonoma Propane Gas Smoker, so I decided to smoke the turkey this time. The smoker sells for about $3200. It arrived on a truck. It's made of stainless steel and looks beautiful. It weighs 250 pounds, and wasn't easy to roll across the lawn because gophers have turned it into Swiss cheese. After I got the metal beast settled on the back porch, I opened the instruction manual.

The first step (after buying a tank of propane) was to download an app for my smartphone and connect it to the wifi radio in the smoker. This took a long time. The app needed the smoker's serial number. I couldn't find it. I had to call Lynx to find out where the PIN code on the smoker was. It turns out it's under a little drawer that contains the control panel. I had to get on my hands and knees and crane my neck to see the tiny numbers printed on a sticker, which doesn't peel off. I took a photo of the sticker and zoomed to see the numbers (note to Lynx - please move the sticker, or better yet, let people use the app without requiring a serial number). It also took several attempts to connect to the smoker, but once I got it, the app worked fine. The main purpose of the app is to let you see a temperature graph on your phone. Read the rest

How to tell good meat from the mediocre

Meat master Eli Cairo explains how to spot good meat from the not-so-great.

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Watch this guy make chocolate bars from scratch with cacao beans he grew

Gabe at H.I.S Survival demonstrates the fascinating process of making chocolate from bean to bar. He also describes some of the many kids of cacao pods and has plenty of tips on how to improve the yields from each batch. Read the rest

Bad news: Omega 3s don't confer any significant health benefits; good news: They're mostly harmless

40+ years ago a pair of Danish scientists acquired the mistaken belief that Greenlanders had a very low incidence of heart disease (turned out that people who live in extremely rural conditions without access to modern medicine just have a low incidence of reported heart disease); they concluded that the Omega-3s in their diet was responsible and a thousand nutritional supplement fortunes were born. Read the rest

Child gets first taste of wasabi

"Wanna try it?"

"No." Read the rest

Watch how to set up a food forest

One of the more interesting methods of gardening that people are trying is the food forest, where they convert a yard into a low-maintenance garden that doesn't really look like one.

A lot of urban gardeners point out that the "Back to Eden" / "Food Forest" options are not going to give optimal yields on smaller parcels of land, and certainly are not ideal if you're doing an urban or suburban garden as a commercial venture.

Does The BACK TO EDEN Method Actually WORK!? (YouTube / The Gardening Channel With James Prigioni) Read the rest

Watch how to make transparent potato chips

Barry Lewis from My Virgin Kitchen decided to make clear potato crisps, and they look amazing, like little starchy dried jellyfish. Read the rest

Cheeseburger removed from Happy Meal menu

McDonald's is to cut a certain high-calorie item of junk food from the Happy Menu marketed to kids: cheeseburgers.

“We hope these actions will bring more choices to consumers and uniquely benefit millions of families, which are important steps as we build a better McDonald’s,” Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook said in the statement. After child obesity rates in the U.S. almost tripled since the 1970s, McDonald’s is seeking healthier ingredients while trying to boost its image with more environmentally friendly packaging.

For those who appreciate the inherent absurdity of trying to make McDonald's a place of health and youthful wellbeing, a classic Onion story is always worth revisiting: McDonald's Drops 'Hammurderer' Character From Advertising. Read the rest

Unappetizing vintage food photos

I find food photos on Instagram to be boring, but not Tom Kelley's vintage food shots from the Getty Images archive. These photographs provoke a gut-wrenching emotional response in me. #nofilterneeded

"10 Vintage Food Photos That Will Make You Squirm" (Thanks, Ben Cosgrove!)

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Hiding meth in a burrito is no way to treat a burrito

It's hard to find decent Mexican food in Canada. We're lousy with Taco Bells and, out west at least, we've got Taco Time. But these are just chains offering a cartoon version of the real deal. The first time I went for burritos with friends in San Fransisco's Mission District, I damn near cried.

The food was so good, I regret having not hired a poet to capture the emotion surrounding my meal. I've spent the past three months in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. Same deal: the Mexican cuisine here is phenomenal. Hell the gas station down the street from me serves up fresh carnitas. It tastes like heaven. Back home in Alberta, gas station food tastes like death. I love Mexican cuisine! The thought of returning to Canada, with its sub-par joke tacos, fills me with ennui.

So, when I read how cops in Los Angeles discovered that criminals were moving crystal meth through the city disguised as burritos, I took it kind of hard.

According to The LA Times, two LA patrol officers were conducting a routine traffic stop when they discovered the occupants of the vehicle they'd pulled over were packing 14 beefy-looking, tinfoil wrapped burritos. The burritos turned out to be jammed full of around 25 pounds of methamphetamine. Obviously, arrests were made, but the thing that bothers me is this: while they got the drugs and a handgun off the street, no body even mentioned the fact that they'd desecrated those burritos. I just don't get it: in a world so bereft of decent Mexican food, doesn't anyone care about the damn burritos? Read the rest

Watch how to make Breaking Bad meth candy and dipping sticks

In an alliterative homage to Breaking Bad, Binging with Babish shows viewers how to make the dipping sticks that Walter never got, as well as some dangerously delicious candy meth. Read the rest

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