Professional kitchens get gentrified while foodies pretend to be ordinary folk

June 16, 2010 /
Celebrity chef shows how to prepare chicken wings for sailors at naval station

A story by Lisa Abend in Time this week, “Kitchen Gods,” chronicles the rise of the celebrity chef and the role of “the global hum of diligent foodies at their keyboards” in creating rock star chefs. Ok, so the chef as rock star isn’t anything new. I mean, unless you’ve been living under a rock,…

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From Russia to Israel and back (to Siberia) again

June 11, 2010 / Comments Off on From Russia to Israel and back (to Siberia) again

Birobidzhan: A Jewish homeland in Siberia, endorsed by Stalin. It sounds like either the beginning of a Soviet joke, or a satirical novel by someone like Michael Chabon. I’d heard about Birobidzhan before, but had thought the idea died off a long time ago. It was established by Stalin in 1934, and is still known…

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Don’t worry, we’ve got our best minds on it!

June 10, 2010 / Comments Off on Don’t worry, we’ve got our best minds on it!

Back in my vegetarian days, I generally avoided faux meat products. Partly because I turned out to be one of those people who just can’t quite buy that it tastes like the real thing. That, and I couldn’t ever get over tofurky. Can we all just agree that it’s a disturbing “food”? The rows of…

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Baby dictator photos art project explores nature of evil and motherhood

June 9, 2010 /
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Baby dictator photos - baby dressed up as Stalin

I have conflicted feelings about mommy blogging. It’s an activity which, like much of online living, presupposes some kind of inherent relevance to your personal life. But what about the child as art canvas? I’m not talking Sally Mann or Tierney Gearon style photographs of their children in day-to-day life. I’m talking about costuming and…

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New film: Soviet Jews in Minnesota

June 3, 2010 / Comments Off on New film: Soviet Jews in Minnesota

Leaving aside the questionable capitalization—The American VOICES of the Soviet Jews—this new documentary from the Minnesota Soviet-Jewish community captures the stories of Soviet Jews who lived through WWII. I like that it turns the camera onto ordinary people who just happened to be born into the wrong time and place. And that after all that…

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Soviet gulags just not sexy enough for the zeitgeist

June 2, 2010 / Comments Off on Soviet gulags just not sexy enough for the zeitgeist
Cover of Purge by Sofi Oksanen

I just finished reading Purge by Sofi Oksanen, recently translated into English from Finnish. I’ve been slowly reading for about a week now, but then halfway through, I suddenly got much more into it, and finished the entire book in a night. It’s not a book to read before bed, in case you also plan…

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Caffeinated conspiracies and indie economics (2)

May 20, 2010 / Comments Off on Caffeinated conspiracies and indie economics (2)
Loyalty card for Toronto Coffee Conspiracy

(This is the second of my posts on independent coffee shops and socioeconomics. The first looked more specifically at the microcosm of Cabbagetown coffee culture.) Like the Tim Hortons and Jetfuel debate in Cabbagetown, the newly formed Toronto Coffee Conspiracy (TCC), is equally applause-worthy and depressingly elitist. In an effort to encourage people to support…

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Women! Chefs! Sexism!

May 11, 2010 /
Lego woman chef figurine representing female chefs and sexism

Tired of hearing about gender bias (read: female chefs and sexism) in professional kitchens? That’s too bad, because the problem isn’t going away. Amidst the hubbub over the recent James Beard Awards, more than a few people noticed the nearly uniform lack of women on the winners’ list. Three out of 24, to be precise.…

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Hating Mother’s Day is as damaging as sentimentalizing it

May 10, 2010 /
Not-Happy Mother's Day graphic

Amidst yesterday’s many saccharine mother shout-outs and articles, seeing “Why I hate Mother’s Day” pop up in my Twitter feed was a breath of fresh air. Hating Mother’s Day? Of course I clicked. On a day that wallows in the sappiest of mother-cliche (If a child doesn’t pen an ode to mother’s food, does that mother…

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Caffeinated conspiracies and indie economics (1)

May 2, 2010 / Comments Off on Caffeinated conspiracies and indie economics (1)
Intelligentsia coffee beans commonly served in Toronto indie coffeeshops

(This is the first of two posts looking at Toronto indie coffee shops. My next post will talk about the recently launched Toronto Coffee Conspiracy.) When was the last time you applauded the opening of a new Tim Hortons or a Starbucks? Now think about your reaction anytime a new independent coffee shop opens up…

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