Today’s post is bittersweet. This is the last Cultured Kitchen. It seems like only yesterday that we started exploring different cultures around the globe and how every community has its history rooted at the core of its recipes. Food is more than sustenance- it represents memories, stories and ceremonies. Since we have virtually traveled the earth in this food blog series, I would like to share some do’s and don’t’s that we hold dear in our kitchen, along with some resources from great authors who are taking food culture to the next level through intersectional lenses.
A List of Do’s:
Sumac. It is a consistent staple spice in our cooking. The savory flavor and light aroma gives amazing support to almost every dish. Mix it into salt rubs or season vegetables and stir fries.
Saffron: Notoriously pricey and easily mistaken for Safflower (different threads from a different crocus) in large quantities, you can purchase a small container of saffron from any one stop shopping grocery store. Once we have our saffron home, it doesn’t typically make it into a soup pot. We use it along with vanilla for infusions to go into drinks. Steeping two vanilla beans to one healthy pinch of saffron in a bottle of your favorite base for up to six weeks will produce delicious results.
Rice vinegar: We use this as a replacement for citrus, as it’s mellower than apple cider vinegar and either enhances a broth while it’s cooking or adds zing in place of citrus garnishes or zests. For soups, half a tablespoon or so per cup renders a tangy flavor.
A List of Don’t’s:
If your main squeeze loves pepper flakes, don’t lock lips with them until they’ve cleaned the pepper flakes from their lips. Unless, of course, you want red hot lip blisters like me.
Don’t forget to check your traditional food references to see what works. One time my partner attempted buffalo hot wings with a chunky batter made from equal parts lentil flour and medium grain cornmeal. The batter barely stayed on, and let’s just say the taste was earthy.
Don’t trust a Thai recipe without tamarind. The tamarind provides the sour tang that many Thai dishes are known for. It comes in a little rectangle that slowly dissolves in the pan. Beware of the tamarind seeds that hide in the block.
Two Women Making Food Waves
Soliel resides in Mexico and is slated to open her first restaurant this month while also working on a documentary. She has written for years about the importance of preserving a culture’s food history. She’s been published through Bitch Media, New Orleans Literary Journal and more. Find her on Tumblr at soleilho.tumblr.com.
Pamela K. Santos
Pamela works for KBOO Radio in membership services, while also hosting Bread and Roses Collective. At 39 years strong, Bread and Roses is the longest running intersectional feminist broadcast show featuring authors, food discussions and panels from people of color; it is now a podcast! Find them at kboo.fm/program/bread-and-roses.