Buying (and cooking) Local Food

The Sheffield Cookbook I love cookbooks and have a fairly deep collection.  Some I have cooked with extensively, some I have yet to cook from.  I have read every one–cover to cover.  Reading cookbooks is a sensory experience for me.  I enjoy the feeling of the pages and the anticipation of what will appear next as one moves through the volume.  I love to imagine the tastes within the recipe, to anticipate combining new foods and to consider the mouthfeel–whether soft and creamy or crunchy–of the first bite or to imagine the smell that will fill the house as the food cooks.  It is a happy place for me.  I bought a new cookbook today that promises to provide these sensory experiences, but also a bit more, a bit extra.  Continue reading

Redevelopment on top of old: Xintiandi

Xintiandi neighbourhood redevelopment in Shanghai as viewed from an upper floor of the Langham Hotel. 

Xintiandi neighbourhood redevelopment in Shanghai as viewed from an upper floor of the Langham Hotel.

In Shanghai, some distance from the Iconic Bund, is a relatively new tourist district called Xintiandi. Surrounded by skyscrapers, the district is a pedestrian area comprised of upmarket shops, many of which are global brands (e.g., Starbucks, Shanghai Tang, Vidal Sassoon). The site is an example of heritage type preservation whereby buildings are repurposed for commercial use. While building facades remain, the original purpose of the buildings, and often their interiors are stripped away. The Xintiandi area is comprised largely of redeveloped Shikumen houses, which were smaller workers houses. Somewhat ironically, this site of tourism and global commerce was also the site of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist party.

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Spacing juxtapositions


Finding space in a neoliberal city

Jordan road runs along the edge of Mong Kok.  As one progresses down the street  towering behind is the ICC building, which completed in 2010 is the worlds fifth tallest building and bosts a hotel that has the highest lobby. The street runs through a market district with side streets are impassable in a car becasue of market stalls and street hawkers (leagal and illeagal) physically stand in the way automobiles while the throngs of people make other forms of mobility also as impossible. Continue reading

After work family eating

Chicken home grown

I was talking with a couple of my work colleagues this week about family eating. Putting aside that a number of us do research on food related topics, even those who do not do this kind of work are pretty food aware. There is a member of staff who works on ice fields, but also raises sheep for wool and food (see the post about his lamb here), another member of staff is involved in bee keeping with his local church (he also sells the honey in the department), many of us have small vegetable plots.  I have raised chickens.  An even larger number cook. This provides great opportunities for recipe sharing. Continue reading

We need to talk about hunger


If you look through the door of my pantry you will see a window into my world.  My pantry expresses my likes and dislikes and my cultural background by the presence and absence of certain goods. You will also see that in my house, we are not hungry.  I have been hungry in the past.  I plan against this by stocking up for the possibility that there might come a day when I might not have money.  It isn’t an entirely rational approach to domestic food provisioning as it is a practice that produces waste.  But, I always know where my next meal is coming from.  And I also know I am lucky to be able to be so potentially wasteful. My household budget is shaped by my past experience of hunger.  I am sure I am not alone, but for some reason hunger is not a fashionable term these days.  What is that all about?

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We connect through laughter

We connect through laughter

I have no idea who the gentleman in the picture is, except that two things in particular struck me about him as I sat opposite him on the MTR heading toward Shenzhen, and the magical world of Lo Wu Commercial city. The second was his attire as he was smartly dressed for a day out to collect provisions with a friend across the boarder in China.  The first thing that caught my eye about him, however was his smile, which seemed to cover his whole face. What was particularly unusual is that smiling is something particularly uncharacteristic amongst adults in Chinese cultureContinue reading