A Matter of Taste Chapter IV.

In this chapter of A Matter of Taste, individual food items or ingredients are given the spotlight. Meatballs depart on a journey from downtown Toronto neighbourhoods to the Saigon River, the matrilineal genealogy of kimchi ferments into a culture of appropriation, Palestinian culinary history is highlighted through za’atar, and dandelions are resituated in their rightful place as medicine and a diverse food source through inventive recipes.
 
In Chapter IV.
In this chapter of A Matter of Taste, individual food items or ingredients are given the spotlight. Meatballs depart on a journey from downtown Toronto neighbourhoods to the Saigon River, the matrilineal genealogy of kimchi ferments into a culture of appropriation, Palestinian culinary history is highlighted through za’atar, and dandelions are resituated in their rightful place as medicine and a diverse food source through inventive recipes.
In Chapter IV.

CURRENTLY VIEWING: Za'atar Grows in Palestine (2020) Yasmine Dalloul
CURRENTLY VIEWING: Za'atar Grows in Palestine (2020)
Yasmine Dalloul
Za'atar Grows in Palestine
Yasmine Dalloul
Montreal, QC


Preserving Palestinian culture through its rustic cuisine

At a time where Palestinian voices are muted and heritage hangs on a thread, Palestinian-Lebanese writer Yasmine Dalloul unpacks how the appropriation of Palestinian culinary traditions into the new Israeli cuisine contributes to cultural erasure, and argues for the recognition of Palestinian art, history and culture in the global food landscape.

 

Palestine. To speak or even write the word evokes a feeling of dread or scandal to many. For me, it illustrates a sense of Arcadia: pastoral bliss; people one with nature, working the land, thriving and creating the freshest most delicious food straight from the earth and the sea. Though I was personally removed from Palestine after all four of my grandparents had respectively fled during the first occupation in 1948, our heritage was incontestable in our household: our literature, poetry, education and culinary wealth reigned in my imagination and on our table everyday. I was taught that Palestinian food was widespread and celebrated across the Middle East.

 

Historic Palestine is lush with some of the best produce in the world: juicy oranges in groves weaving throughout Ariha (Jericho) and Yaffa (Jaffa); the fragrant thyme leaves known as za’atar grow wild in the mountainous regions, flourishing from roots found between narrow cracks in the ground; and, of course, plump olives, falling from trees which families have planted and pressed into rich, thick, green oil. Palestinians are known for our coastal meals, generous with fish caught fresh from the Mediterranean and the Galilee, soaked in creamy tahini sauce and served with spiced rice and crisp vegetables.

 

We are known for our earthy, rustic meals, roast chicken atop sumac, onion and olive oil-soaked taboon bread, enjoyed across the West Bank. We are known for our street foods, freshly fried falafels, baked flatbreads and flaky pies filled with crumbly cheese, za’atar, spinach or meat. We are known for fresh, tangy salads dressed with citrus and tossed in the leafy foliage local to the land. We are especially known for the syrupy-sweet, orange blossom infused vermicelli dessert knafeh, originating from the old city Nablus, nestled within the valleys of the West Bank. We are known for our homemade pickling, which we set out in their colorful Khalili (Hebronite) patterned ceramic plates atop a traditional tatreez, Palestinian embroidery tablecloth, and laid across a festive table.

 

And these cultural emblems, from food to art, do not begin to scratch the surface of the bounty that is Palestinian culture and history.

 

     


We are known for our earthy, rustic meals, roast chicken atop sumac, onion and olive oil-soaked taboon bread, enjoyed across the West Bank. We are known for our street foods, freshly fried falafels, baked flatbreads and flaky pies filled with crumbly cheese, za’atar, spinach or meat.
 
Falafel, courtesy of the writer, Yasmine Dalloul
 

But after leaving the region in 2007 and moving to the West, the pastoral Palestine I grew up indulging in felt completely minimized to the point of erasure, starting with the food I loved so dearly. I frequently found myself frustrated with others as I surveyed the food landscape and Palestinian cuisine’s place in it. I was, at first, admittedly proud of the reputation hummus had gained for itself across the West, and was marvelled by the different varieties that were marketed in grocery stores. But I couldn’t shake the pang of hurt upon seeing “Israeli” on package labels, restaurant menus, food magazine articles, or floating out of someone’s lips, describing the food I had been eating since infancy, like my parents before me and their parents before them.

 

Exploring this, I took to Israeli chef Michael Solomonov’s documentary In Search of Israeli Cuisine. I expected the documentary to mirror past articles that paraded Palestinian emblems like za’atar as Israeli without even a whisper of its indigenous influence, but I was surprised to hear Israeli chefs crediting Palestine and Levantine cooking practices in the process of Israel’s effort to evolve its new cuisine.


“At one point in the mid-90s…Arab restaurants started flourishing. Jews went to visit their Arab neighbors whose food they never tasted, really, and said, “what are you eating at home? What do you guys eat?” And we discovered this incredible Palestinian and Arabic kitchen."
– Hedai Offaim (In Search of Israeli Cuisine, Dir. Robert Sherman, 2016)
 

But, if Israeli chefs like Offaim were aware of the origins of the foods they work with, then where, how and why does crediting the Palestinian influence disappear when these dishes make their way across the globe? Why does the online summary of the documentary list food cultures sampled by Solomonov as Moroccan, Persian, Lebanese, French, Italian and Russian, but never Palestinian? Is this a diffusion of two cultures, or is it, rather, simply appropriating a culture altogether?

 
Why does the online summary of the documentary list food cultures sampled by Solomonov as Moroccan, Persian, Lebanese, French, Italian and Russian, but never Palestinian? Is this a diffusion of two cultures, or is it, rather, simply appropriating a culture altogether?

     

 
Labneh, courtesy of the writer, Yasmine Dalloul
 

Reem Kassis, author of the Palestinian Table, states the following in a recent article for the Washington Post, bluntly titled Here’s why Palestinians object to the term ‘Israeli food’: It erases us from history:


“Cultural diffusion is different from cultural appropriation. Diffusion is the result of people from different cultures living in close quarters and interacting with or learning from one another. Cultural appropriation, on the other hand, relies on exploitation and consequent erasure, followed by the willful denying of those actions. Food, after all, is an expression of history, culture and tradition. By this token, presenting dishes of Palestinian provenance as “Israeli” not only denies the Palestinian contribution to Israeli cuisine, but it erases our very history and existence.”
 

And so, the cookbook proves itself to be the ultimate tool of resistance in the battle of appropriation. The Palestinian Table was written by the Galilee native in order to preserve the Palestinian cultural identity. Other authors who have contributed to the effort include Joudie Kalla, (Palestine on a Plate; Baladi: A Celebration of Food From Land and Sea) New York City eatery owner Rawia Bishara, (Levant: New Middle Eastern Flavours), food journalist Laila El-Haddad (The Gaza Kitchen) and, of course, Ottolenghi’s executive chef Sami Tamimi (Jerusalem; Falastin).

 

On a recent phone call, Tamimi stressed to me that these voices are the key to keeping a tight grip on our heritage:


“The wonderful people who write cookbooks and articles need to keep talking about [the preservation of our identity.] And the more we talk and show people that [Palestine] is not a myth, the more they learn. And then maybe I won’t have to do interviews like this all the time (laughs)”
– Sami Tamimi
 

Speaking of cookbooks, Jerusalem, the joint effort between renowned Israeli restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi and his Palestinian friend and partner Tamimi is a tale of two Jerusalemites bonding over their joint love of food. Despite the book’s attempt to bridge the gap between East and West Jerusalem, showing that change is possible and maybe food will help us forgive and forget, the publicity that accompanied Jerusalem was, unfortunately, devoid of Palestinian representation or credit, suggesting that, perhaps, our identity, like our land, is under occupation.

 

     


In a world without colonial trauma, something as joyous as food wouldn’t have to be politicized, and diffusion could be enjoyed by all.

     

 

In fact, the New York Times review of the cookbook ( Jerusalem Has All The Right Ingredients, NYT, July 2013) mentions Israel six times, and does not name Palestine at all, even when referring to Tamimi himself, calling him a resident of the “Arab East.” References to Palestine are instead, guised as “Arab” (twice), “Muslim” (once) and “Christian”(once). Other familar code words include Arab-Israeli and, less frequently, Druze, which are often used to cloak the reality of Palestinian influence on Israel’s food culture.

 

I asked Tamimi about this, and he confirmed my suspicions by adding that often, in Israel, long-winded adjectives once again cloak anything of Palestinian origins. For instance, if the dish in question featured ingredients from an Arab-owned farm, or if a Palestinian cooking style was borrowed, it would simply be referred to as “(unspecified) town in the north” or, again, simply as “Arab.”


“Falastin, Falastini or Palestinian is still a very raw and very hard to word to swallow by the Israelis. For them, it’s threatening.”
– Sami Tamimi
 
Olives, courtesy of the writer, Yasmine Dalloul
 

In a world without colonial trauma, something as joyous as food wouldn’t have to be politicized, and diffusion could be enjoyed by all. But the Israeli appropriation of Palestinian food, especially amidst settlement expansions and the annexation of the West Bank, only amplifies the erasure of Palestinian people and their culture. In the midst of a personal conversation with me, Palestinian-American poet and author Hala Alyan delved into this, saying:


“It’s not just a matter of, as a colonizer or occupier, respectfully referencing the foods that have been adapted into your culture. There’s a separate thing that happens where it’s not even multiculturalism, it’s simply taking and erasing and acting as though these things have originated from Israel.”
– Hala Alyan
 

So, what next? One option, as Palestinians, is to be diligent in maintaining our culture and history in ways as simple as correcting and educating people who don’t know where the food they’re enjoying comes from. We must never forget that we’ve been creating, cooking and enjoying these food traditions for centuries, and that Israel is a relatively new country, formed through the occupation of historic Palestine in 1948.

 

And, most importantly (to me, anyway), we should not be shy about telling people all about za’atar! This holy herb is an emblem of Palestine, with its unruly roots that relentlessly cultivate fresh leaves, symbolizing the grip we have on our own roots, never giving up, holding onto the fact that we will have the freedom to savor our indigenous land once again. This is why every Palestinian, in every corner of the world, has a huge supply of za’atar in their homes, rebelliously enjoying it dry by the spoonful, or simply breathing it in - dreaming of a land that we may well never return to in our lifetime, but feel an unwavering pride towards.

 
Yasmine Dalloul Yasmine Dalloul is a Lebanese and Palestinian writer living in Montreal, Canada. Yasmine has a professional background in lifestyle journalism, content marketing and e-commerce copywriting, but writing about food is her greatest passion. Whether it’s through her weekly croissant blog or sharing the history of some of her favorite traditional dishes with friends, the topic of food and flavor is always on her mind (and fingers!).

 
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CURRENTLY VIEWING: The Auspicious Arrival of Meatballs (2020) Alvin Luong
CURRENTLY VIEWING: The Auspicious Arrival of Meatballs (2020)
Alvin Luong
The Auspicious Arrival of Meatballs
Alvin Luong
Toronto, ON



Meatballs are thrown at each dwelling that the artist’s parents have lived in since their arrival to Canada from Vietnam. These characteristically bouncy and buoyant meatballs are commonly eaten in Southern China and Southeast Asia. While throwing meatballs the artist becomes lost in a torrential storm sending them to the Saigon River which flows into the South China Sea.

 
Alvin Luong Alvin Luong is an artist who creates performances and videos. Luong’s artworks are based on stories of human migration, histories of land, and dialogues from the working class and diaspora communities that he lives and works with. These stories are combined in Luong’s artworks to produce discussions about historical development, political economy, and social reproduction. The artist’s working method is driven by an ethical desire to transcend communication barriers encountered by diasporic and working class communities. This ethical desire has led to the use of narrative performances for video because it is a fundamental mode of expression and communication. The presence of music and humour in Luong’s artworks also stem from the same ethical desire. Luong lives and works in Toronto and is currently creating work about migratory corridors and transitory lives between Southern China, Vietnam, and the West.
 
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CURRENTLY VIEWING: Matrilineal Heritage in a Mason Jar (2020) Julladonna Park
CURRENTLY VIEWING: Matrilineal Heritage in a Mason Jar (2020)
Julladonna Park
Matrilineal Heritage in a Mason Jar
Julladonna Park
Vancouver, BC




“PROBIOTIC. RAW. VEGAN. NAPA CABBAGE KIMCHI.” We cackled at the labels on the sorry looking mason jars filled with sallow yellow leaves.

Kimchi had become ubiquitous in my chosen spaces – a trendy fusion diner, an upscale grocery chain, YouTube channels filled with millennial cheer. I could tell that to them, it was some sort of Asian sauerkraut, a pickle that imbued some kind of cosmopolitan flair to the irreverent melting pot of ‘North American cuisine.’

To me, kimchi will be an inheritance I never asked for, a reminder of the lineage to which I belong – a genealogy of women’s sacrifice and buried stories, and the painful labour that keeps our culture alive.

 
Press play to listen as you read

It was around April that a colleague prepared japchae for our potluck at work. I gazed at the plate, bemused, as she mentioned that it was vegan and gluten-free.

“Cool,” I said, refusing to associate with the dish despite being the only Korean in the room. I picked at the broccoli, inexplicably mixed with the lighter-than-usual noodles. It tasted like nothing.

Japchae is one of my least favorite foods; its traditional ingredients include sliced carrots, spinach, onions, beef, mushrooms and sweet potato starch noodles, its colourful culmination seldom missing from important traditional holiday meals.

 

I didn’t know, until I was over 20, that each of these ingredients demanded different kinds of seasoning and preparation, and that it was an ostentatiously time-consuming dish to prepare.

“It still takes an entire day to cook for a Korean man, you know,” my mother said.

Inside each woman’s life is a casket of hidden stories, matrilineal stories that subvert the assumptions that seep into our thoughts as naturally as the oxygen we breathe. When my mother decided to share these stories with me, it was an induction into a lineage I didn’t know existed, didn’t know was mine to bear, and it began with that conversation.

 

She added, “Cooking is the bane of my existence.”

“I didn’t know that,” I said, surprise and guilt intermixed. “I thought you liked to cook.”

“Lots of women hate cooking, they just do it out of love for their family,” my mother said. She went on to list all the ladies at church that we knew. “She hates cooking, she hates cooking, she hates eating but cooks all the time…”

 

     


Whenever I got up to relieve my mother of her labour – a labour that perhaps was only visible to me – my father nodded as if he had witnessed a harmonious exchange, my momentary favour transformed into an identity, an inheritance.

     

 

I was 23, a radical feminist, able to spout off Nietzsche but still struggling with laundry. When I saw my mother rush between the kitchen and the dinner table and wash the dishes as we lounged around the fruit that she had served for dessert, I was impotent before the dilemma of whether to help or to further enable my father and brother’s indolence.

Whenever I got up to relieve my mother of her labour – a labour that perhaps was only visible to me – my father nodded as if he had witnessed a harmonious exchange, my momentary favour transformed into an identity, an inheritance.

 

So, I was determined in my ambivalence when I began to encounter kimchi in my North American daily life, a life wiped clean of the domestic labour that had immobilized my mother, her mother, my father’s mother, and her mother too.

 

My mother had once had a dream. She loved music with a passion and wanted to study it like her brother had. Their family’s wealth propelled my uncle to an opera career in Italy, nearly unthinkable for Koreans in the 1980s. Yet it was far more unthinkable for my mother to ask her father for anything other than a dowry.

 

My paternal grandmother was a mathematician. She calculated her way out of rural Suwon into a seat at one of Seoul’s most prestigious universities in the chaotic post-war era of the 1950s. Her friendship with numbers manifested in an uncanny sense for real estate, but my grandfather had a habit of spending her savings quicker than she could build it. Their acrimony was founded on her hatred of the kitchen. It was her habit to say, You should carry me on your back instead of asking me to serve you, with all the money I’m making.

If great-grandmother had gotten her way, grandmother would not have existed at all. She told me once that her happiest memory was of running in the fields, away from her father’s rod. Her marriage to my philandering great-grandfather resulted in decades of abuse and household labour against the background of South Korea’s evolution through imperialization, civil war, dictatorship and modernization. It was her kimchi that fed our family before we dislocated ourselves from our multi-generational community to come here, to Canada.

 

Perhaps I was determined that their stories shouldn’t be mine – a saga of tragic depths that felt dissociated from my fragmented and confusing coming-of-age, a constellation of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen rentals at Blockbuster, Britney Spears on MTV, first generation KPOP, awkward school dances and model-minority grades.

But even I failed to keep a straight face when I met a friend for lunch one day at a trendy, vintage diner and saw that my “Roast Duck Pancake” would come with a smattering of kimchi and Japanese mayo.

 

In the Food Network segment featuring this restaurant, this is the dish selected as their specialty. “[A] Korean friend of mine, this is his grandmother’s recipe,” says the toque-wearing young white man as he confidently walks through the recipe with Guy Fieri by his side.

“The kimchi is spot on,” Fieri gesticulates with authority. “That’s a game changer.”

I ate the pancake. It was good.

 
Perhaps I was determined that their stories shouldn’t be mine -- a saga of tragic depths that felt dissociated from my fragmented and confusing coming-of-age, a constellation of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen rentals at Blockbuster, Britney Spears on MTV, first generation KPOP, awkward school dances and model-minority grades.

     



Later on, I met a friend at Whole Foods to shop for groceries. We passed by the produce corner where he pointed out a column stocked with pickle jars. PROBIOTIC. RAW. VEGAN. NAPA CABBAGE KIMCHI.

We scrunched our faces at the sallow yellow leaves and took a picture of the price tag for our group chat, a community of socially-minded gyopo. Our delighted horror soon dispersed into commentaries of our zeitgeist.

 

“Isn’t it wild that zero Korean parents are worried about coronavirus food supplies?” said one of our friends, referring to the lines at Costco that had begun to make national news.

“Literally generations of war, displacement and colonization got us to love our canned goods,” someone replied. “Also, whose parents don’t have an upstairs fridge, a fully stocked pantry and a kimchi fridge in the basement at any given time?”

 

I snickered along as I read, feeling for once like a fish in water. Yet even in the warmth of like-minded youths in the Korean diaspora, I stood transfixed by my ambivalence towards their enthusiastic approach to our culinary traditions, our memories and the folksy nostalgia with which they cast a rosy glow over the female labour that re-enacts the motherland outside of its geographic roots.

 

There’s a special violence to the way we are born to crave our mother as our source of food, and once we are weaned, the bonds of family and love enable us to consume her time, her labour, her dreams.

 

The Korean way of cooking is said to be one that measures by instinct. It’s alien to search up a recipe and encounter an ingredient list mired in the exactitude of numbers.

Instinct and memory are essential ingredients for the kimchi I know, the ancestral art of Korean women who, through their recipes, express their longing for home and their foremothers’ ways. The acquisition of a kimchi recipe denotes a woman’s coming of age in her own home, and then her submersion into her husband’s community, their history and their ways.

 

Bon Appetit, a popular food media website and magazine, has a YouTube video on kimchi that has been viewed nearly 4 million times. Again, a white man presents authoritatively with casual, easy-going diction – “We’re going to demystify kimchi,” he says.

 

     


Instinct and memory are essential ingredients for the kimchi I know, the ancestral art of Korean women who, through their recipes, express their longing for home and their foremothers’ ways.
 

I think of great-grandmother and her irrevocably crooked back; I think of a lifetime of watching my father munch and adjudicate a dish he’s never prepared. Demystify what? Devoid of a mother’s buried dreams, kimchi is one option amongst the hipster’s selection of exotic pickles, a symbol of cultured cosmopolitanism. Kimchi’s only mystery comes from its perceived foreignness, in the way that westerners will over-pronounce a name they know is not their own.

 

Whatever, I think as I close the browser window, cutting off the video mid-play. You can have it.

 
Julladonna Park Julladonna Park is a writer and program manager living in Vancouver, B.C. Her writing has been featured in Human Parts, Haute Magazine, and LinkedIn Pulse.

 
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CURRENTLY VIEWING: Roots, Leaves, Stems and Blooms (2020) Amanda White
CURRENTLY VIEWING: Roots, Leaves, Stems and Blooms (2020)
Amanda White
Roots, Leaves, Stems and Blooms
Amanda White
Toronto, ON



Dandelions are a very common but often overlooked plant. While sometimes seen as a garden weed, they are medicine, a food source and an important forage for pollinators. In addition to their rich cultural and ecological significance, dandelions are a metaphor for perseverance, strength and survival, thriving in seemingly difficult places.

In an effort to understand them better, I have been learning about these plants over the past year while experimenting with recipes for all of their parts, starting with a recipe for dandelion wine developed by my great grandmother.

 
Front cover preview of the zine 'Roots, Leaves, Stems and Blooms' by Amanda White
 



The following is a collection of images of dandelions I have encountered on recent neighborhood walks, notes I have taken, successful recipes and a downloadable zine.


Click here to download the zine for print.

Scroll right for field notes.
 
Plant living in my neighborhood (sidewalk), Spring 2020

Plant living in my
neighborhood (sidewalk),
Spring 2020

 

Taraxacum officinale (thought to mean bitter herb + medicinal) was once native to Asia and Europe and now lives in temperate zones all over the world, everywhere from meadows to sidewalk cracks. A symbol of resilience, strength, beauty and survival, these humble plants have as many names as qualities. Their roots and leaves provide medicine and food for countless animals, from rabbits to humans, their flowers are an important early spring forage for hungry pollinators, and their seeds are both a snack for birds and a game for children.

From root to flower, all parts are edible and medicinal, and have been used over millennia for numerous ailments: to remove toxins from the blood, for kidney, liver and gallbladder health, as a digestive aid, a diuretic, and much more.

 
Root sketch, Amanda White (2020)
 
Roots

Roots: Underlying Support. Community. The organ below the surface of the soil, the root of a plant is like a brain through which they can connect, communicate and form communities and networks with others. The long branched dandelion root is where medicine is concentrated and can stretch a foot or deeper into the ground.

 
Plant community including dandelion, living in my neighborhood (sidewalk), Spring 2020

Plant community including
dandelion, living in my
neighborhood (sidewalk),
Spring 2020

 
Dandelion Root Coffee

    Ingredients
  • Dandelion roots, washed chopped and dried (via air, oven or dehydrator)

    Process
  • Roast dried roots in the oven at 350-400 for 30-40 min; until brown but not burned. Boil roasted and crushed roots (with optional spices such as cardamom or cinnamon) for 10-15 min. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and it is ready to drink (serve as you would coffee).

 
Washed root, 
Summer 2019

Washed root,
Summer 2019

 
Dandelion Root Pickles

    Ingredients
  • Generous handful of washed roots, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 2 tsp powdered ginger root

  • 12 part tamari

  • 3 12 parts apple cider vinegar

    Process
  • Place all ingredients together in a clean mason jar. Put on lid (use wax paper under rind to avoid rust). Wait 3 weeks before using, keep in fridge.

 
Harvesting roots with volunteers at Iceland Urban Agriculture Teaching Garden in Mississauga, Summer 2019

Harvesting roots with
volunteers at Iceland
Urban Agriculture Teaching
Garden in Mississauga,
Summer 2019

 
Leaves

Leaves: The kitchen of a plant. The fierce looking long and jagged leaves gave them the name Lion’s Tooth (from Dents de Lion in French). Its leaves form a rosette at the ground and cleverly funnel water straight to the root. Young leaves in early spring before flowers bloom are less bitter, but they are edible at all times and can also be dried to make tea.

 
Leaves sketch, Amanda White (2020)
 
Pickled Dandelion Greens (dill)

    Ingredients
  • 1 bunch greens

  • 1 small red onion

  • Fresh dill (to taste)

  • Raw garlic (whole cloves)

  • Brine:

    • 1 part white vinegar

    • 3 part water

    • 1 tbsp - 12 cup sugar (to taste)

    • 1 tbsp salt

    Process
  • Chop greens and red onions, mix, place in jars with whole garlic cloves and dill. Mix brine, heat brine first if desired. Fill the jar within 1” of top with brine. Poke with utensil to remove air bubbles. Let marinate for at least one day, keep in fridge use within two weeks.

 
Leaves forming rosette with small bud at centre, Spring 2020

Leaves forming rosette
with small bud at centre,
Spring 2020

 
Pickled Dandelion (apple cider)

    Ingredients
  • Bunch greens or whole plant

  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced

  • 1 red onion thinly sliced

  • 1-2 inches of ginger root

  • Optional hot peppers or flakes

  • Brine:

    • 1 part apple cider vinegar

    • 2 part water, salted (6 tsp/cup)

    • 1 part tamari or low sodium soy

    Process
  • Layer greens/plants (whole or chopped) onion, garlic, ginger in jar. Fill to cover with brine, leave 1/2” space at top. Refrigerate for two weeks before using for best flavor.

 
Harvesting leaves with volunteers at Iceland Urban Agriculture Teaching Garden in Mississauga, Summer 2019

Harvesting roots with
volunteers at Iceland
Urban Agriculture Teaching
Garden in Mississauga,
Summer 2019

 
Dandelion Pesto

    Ingredients
  • 2 cups packed dandelion leaves

  • 1 dozen large basil leaves (optional)

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 cup lightly toasted nuts (pine/hazel)

  • 12 cup olive oil

  • 12 cup parmesan cheese

  • Kosher or sea salt (to taste)

    Process
  • Chop and blend all ingredients (except salt) in a food processor or blender. Stir in salt to taste.

 
Pesto, 
Summer 2019

Pesto,
Summer 2019

 
Stems

Stems: Support and elevate. Growing straight up and right from the root, the stems are hollow, sometimes purplish, smooth, shiny, and when broken ooze a milky sap that is said to be good for skin issues.

 
Stems sketch, Amanda White (2020)
 
Pickled Dandelion Stems

    Ingredients
  • 8oz dandelion stems and midribs

  • 1 cup white vinegar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 3 tbsp sugar

  • 6-8 bird eye or other chilies

  • Allspice berries

    Process
  • Fill jars with stems. Mix all other ingredients in a large container, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour over stems to cover, distribute chilies and allspice evenly.

 
Picking flowers together, Spring 2019

Picking flowers together,
Spring 2019

 
Blooms

Blooms: A single bright golden yellow flower sits proudly upon each stem. They may seem bold, but they are sensitive, stretching out wide in the sun and closing in tight at night or when rain comes. When the flowering is done, the seeds emerge together as a sphere, each with a tuft of grey hair. Many people make wine from their flowers. This jelly recipe is based on my Great Grandmother’s recipe for Dandelion Wine.

 
Blooms sketch, Amanda White (2020)
 
Dandelion Jelly

    Ingredients
  • 2 heaping cups of blooms

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • 4 cups sugar

  • 1 pkg liquid pectin

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 12 pint jars, x5

    Process
  • Collect and rinse flowers. Remove green parts and save petals only. Pour boiling water over flowers and let sit for 4hrs to overnight. Strain with cheesecloth. Bring infusion to a boil in a pot, add sugar and lemon and stir. Add liquid pectin and bring to a rolling boil for 5 min, stirring and skimming foam. Pour into sterilized jars leaving 1/4” headspace. Process in bath.

 
Flowers soaking in water, Summer 2019

Flowers soaking in water,
Summer 2019

 
Plant living in my neighborhood (flower gone to seed), Summer 2020

Plant living in my neighborhood
(flower gone to seed),
Summer 2020

 
    Names in many languages:
  • Pu Gong Ying; Doodooshaaboojiibik; Pissenlit; Common Dandelion; Dente Di Leone; Kahonro’tótha Otsì:tsa; and many more.

    Some common names:
  • Little Suns; Lion’s Tooth; Clock Flower; Piss-in-bed; Priest's Crown, Swine’s Snout; Puffball, Bitterwort and many more.

    Further reading:
  • Geniusz, Mary Siisip, et al. Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask: Anishinaabe Botanical Teachings. University of Minnesota Press, 2015.

  • Grieve, M. A Modern Herbal: The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folklore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs and Trees with All Their Modern Scientific Uses. London.: Tiger Books International, 1998.

 
Great Grandmother’s dandelion wine recipe, with plant, 
Spring 2019

Great Grandmother’s dandelion
wine recipe, with plant,
Spring 2019

 
Amanda White Amanda White is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar working at the intersection of art, environment and culture, with a particular interest in alternatives to dominant visualizations of the environmental. She has exhibited and published her work widely and across disciplines with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, among others. White holds a PhD from Queen’s University, MFA from the University of Windsor and BFA from OCADU.

 
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Overview
A Matter of Taste Chapter Two: Pinki Li, Lauren Marsden, Anya Shen, Weppler & Mahovsky


Chapter V.


Overview
A Matter of Taste Chapter Two: Pinki Li, Lauren Marsden, Anya Shen, Weppler & Mahovsky


Chapter V.