Bookmarks, June 27, 2021
A weekly list of things I’ve stumbled upon and found to be worth sharing. This week: the knowledge and experience of Indigenous elders in preserving foods and culinary traditions, Vietnamese coffee traditions in Seattle, and masa’s third wave.
Red Chef Revival
An award-winning series now available on CBC Gem, Red Chef Revival’s six episodes look at the culture and food traditions of different Indigenous peoples in Canada. Hosted by three Indigenous chefs, the series looks at the cultural and spiritual significance of Indigenous foods, the role of elders in preserving culinary traditions, and the resilience of communities in the face of a violent colonialized past.
“We’re cultural ambassadors now, we’re fire carriers, we’re knowledge keepers…That’s the ultimate goal of modern Indigeneous cuisine…not to lose the integrity of what you’re going for but make something different.” Rich Francis, Episode 1, Osoyoos
“Indigenous food isn’t–it’s not new. It’s always been there; it’s just never been noticed…All these marketing ploys…Nose-to-tail is not new. Foraging is not new.” Shane Chartrand, Episode 5, Blood Tribe
“Indigenous food, what it means to me: it’s our culture, it’s our hearts, it’s our spirituality, it’s ceremony, it’s who we are.” Cezin Nottaway, Episode 6, Nemiah Valley
How Indigenous memories can help save species from extinction
Fisheries around the world have been badly managed and overfished. Scientists have dismissed the knowledge Indigenous peoples have of the species and food chains in their waters. Now it looks as though Indigenous elders hold the key to better understanding of how to safeguard marine species.
“Around the world, the memories of elders like Mason are playing a powerful role in understanding and helping to preserve marine species. A growing group of researchers, some of them from within Indigenous communities, is translating the qualitative stories of fishermen into quantitative data, in a process that often requires sensitive negotiations and uncomfortable conversations between Indigenous leaders and Western institutions. Their recollections can help fill historical and geographical gaps that have eluded scientists until now.” Vox
Phin is more than a coffee shop–it’s a journey from Saigon to Seattle
Bao Nguyen’s story of Vietnamese coffee traditions, what they mean to him, and how they inspired his own coffee shop in Seattle.
“In my eyes, traditions are guides, not anchors. I designed my coffee shop around the phin not out of staunch devotion to traditions but because the phin is both a connection to my predecessors and a proclamation of my Vietnamese heritage. The phin is my coffee mother tongue, and with it I can speak proudly and freely.” Eater Seattle
Welcome to the Golden Age of Masa
All about the third wave of masa, the nixtamalized corn flour used in authentic tortillas.
“Organic tortillas can cost up to five times that of tortillas made from Maseca, and that figure only rises for handmade tortillas at restaurants. The result is a double standard that venerates the idea of a well-made taco, but also prevents the taquero from using better ingredients and selling tacos at a livable price. Something weird happens when you place a tortilla under beautiful ingredients. Before it was a ‘small plate.’ Now it’s ‘just’ a taco. In a market where customers don’t think twice about paying $6 for a cup of coffee or $25 for a bowl of pasta, why are they unwilling to spend a few more dollars for a taco made with especially flavorful heirloom corn?” Epicurious