Saturday, January 24, 2009

Foodie day

Friday was Foodie Day for me. Started off with a class in the morning on a particular kind of breadmaking. The teacher is a Weston Price adherent who advocates grinding your own grain and soaking it. As she said in her introductory email: "This process ... neutralizes the phytic acid that is in the bran of the grain. Unneutralized phytic acid blocks the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and iron in the intestines and can lead to mineral deficiency over time."

Are your eyes glazing over? Yeah, me too.

The teacher explained her process as she prepped flour that she had already ground and soaked overnight. The kitchen was a bit chaotic, with two dogs making a din at the doorbell, a couple of chirping parakeets (and their talking mirror) and the phone ringing. She has six kids, ranging from 12 to 24, plus a couple more pseudo foster children. Which gives you an idea of her multi-tasking abilities.
The presentation was a little scattered, but resulted in the nice loaves ready for the oven that you see at the top of this post, plus these waffles. Which were really outstanding. Very light and fluffy. The batter is made in the blender. Definitely a technique I'll have to try.

We were all impressed by the sunflower-shaped loaf made by a friend of hers. I wish the friend could have been there to explain how she puts it together.
We also got a chance to see a couple of electric grain mills in action. The teacher has a very noisy K-Tec model, while one of the students brought along her Mil-Rite stone mill, shown here grinding brown rice. The former costs $200, the latter $400. That's some serious gadget commitment.
Now, I tend to shy away from evangelists, especially when there are contemporary messiahs involved. But there wasn't much hard-sell here and just a whiff of whackaloon ("All white salt is poison!").

In any case, reducing processed foods and eating more organic vegetables and whole grains is a sermon I can say "amen" to.

I'm still not sold on kombucha, though. It's sometimes called "miracle mushroom" but it's really a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts, or SCOBY, that can reproduce. You ferment it in tea and sugar. The result is a vinegary drink that is supposed to be healthful. Some of the claims: eases joint pain, increases sex drive, makes hair thicker, is a soothing foot soak, eases digestion, relieves congestion, reduces blood pressure, heals boils, improves circulation, prevents bladder infections, smooths out cellulite, repels mosquitoes and removes rust!

I'll stick with the proven blood-pressure-reducing therapy of dog petting. There were two sweeties there to keep me happy:
I had to bug out before the bread was done baking to meet up with two other (human) sweeties, namely Jen and Manisha. We did a whirlwind rampage through H-Mart, mainly for Jen to stock up on goodies for Chinese New Year (which is Monday).
That's Manisha with camera in hand, and Jen happy with her cabbage.

We didn't have a lot of time to dilly-dally with our cameras, though H-Mart is quite capable of providing hours of shopping pleasure. Given my recent produce spree at Berkeley Bowl, I was able to limit myself in that arena. But I couldn't resist a lovely bunch of yu choi, and some taro to try. And some frozen dumplings and rice noodles, which then got me caught up in H-Mart's weird sale pricing system. If you buy one sale item, it costs you, say, $6. If you buy two, it costs $3. I guess it's their way of getting rid of expiring stock really fast.

I also needed more brown rice vinegar, which I usually recognize by the label. It would appear there's a knock-off. Look at the differences in the labels. So close, but not quite. I'm sure it's fine, though.

So anyhoo, I guess I need to cook a bunch of interesting stuff this week!


  1. i have another friend who's become a bit of a weston price devotee. i find it all interesting, but a tad too dogmatic for me. i'm with you on just reducing processed foods and eating organic veggies and pasture raised meats. everything else feels like gravy. mmmmm. gravy.

  2. I'm glad I wasn't the only one glazing over, after about four words on the chemistry of flour, I was still reading, but it was processing in my brain as "blah-de-blah, blah, blah". I'll stick with my King Arthur flour. I like baking bread for the mental therapy and flavor, rather than the chemistry.

    I look forward to hearing about your culinary whip-ups this week.

  3. Ummm waffles look delish! That puppy on the right is just BEGGING for some more petting :)

  4. We should do this again when we have more time!

    I am still confused about the rice vinegar - which one is the genuine one?