Discover more from Broccoli Rising, the Newsletter from Ellen Kanner
Broccoli Rising. and a Witch’s Brew of Science, Magic, Myth and a Little Shakespeare
Ever notice the overlap between witchcraft and cooking? Shakespeare’s weird sisters get a lot of buzz, what with their
Bubble bubble toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble
But they’re not the only characters who know their way around a cauldron. I have a fondness for Cerridwen, the most badass sorceress in Wales, according to myth. She was a genius of a cook, always at her cauldron. The magic she didn’t possess, she could create there.
You can, too. The kitchen is where the magic happens. It’s a place of transformation. You don’t have to be a witch, you don’t need eye of newt or toe of frog. In fact, please don’t — we’re vegan around here. You don’t even need a cauldron. Creating something-from-nothing magic just takes knowing fermentation fundamentals. So join me for two fermentation workshops Thursday, November 9 and Thursday, November 16. They’re vegan, virtual and free through Miami Dade Public Library System. Workshops are open to the public but space is limited. Register now.
Cerridwen was the mother of two, a beautiful daughter Creidwy and plug-ugly son, Morfran. Well, looks aren’t everything, but it was enough to make a mother worry. Cerridwen wanted to her son to have something in his corner. She got her assistant Gwion to load some wood under her cauldron, fired it up and set to work.
If she couldn’t turn Morfran into Ryan Gosling, she could at least give him some smarts. She crafted a recipe that would impart to him all the world’s wisdom. She added sage, wild greens, some ramps, and let everything simmer and reduce. But it was still lacking something. Don’t you hate when that happens with a recipe? Cerridwen wasn’t happy either.
She deputized Gwion to stir the pot for her while she went in search for the missing ingredient. Stir slowly and gently, she explained, don’t agitate, don’t splatter. The recipe takes time — a year and a day, in fact.
Wisdom — and fermentation— take time. Like Cerridwen told Gwion, don’t try to rush it.
Fermentation also called culturing, is an ancient practice transforming grapes into wine, smelly starter (talk about bubble, bubble) into crusty, tangy sourdough, crunchy nuts into creamy cheese. It adds punch to raw produce, not to mention immortality. Eating cultured foods doesn’t quite do the same for us, but it does boost our immunity and reduces inflammation. Fermentation metamorphizes foods, and those of us who eat them. That to me is magic.
Maybe you’re more comfortable knowing the science. Okay. You’ve got your own ecosystem. It’s your gut, or microbiome. Feeding it cultured foods like miso, tempeh, kombucha, plantbased cheeses and yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi with their live strains of beneficial bacteria and yeasts — we call them probiotics — creates a healthy environment resulting in better digestion, better mood and mental clarity, and overall probiotic glow and energy. Happy now?
Science and magic are as interconnected as witchcraft and cookery. Arthur C. Clarke wrote, “Magic is science we don’t understand yet.” Or, back to Shakespeare, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in our philosophy.”
Want to know how it turned out with Gwion and Cerredwin? Email me at email@example.com. I geek out on this stuff.
October 31 Happy Halloween!
Enjoy some Halloween treats, but eat cultured foods. They’ll help counteract any overindulgence. I’ve also been told they’re also a good hangover remedy, but I can’t vouch for it.
November 2 All Souls Day aka Day of the Dead
November 7 Election Day
November 9 and 16, my two-part fermentation workshop through Miami-Dade Public Library. They’re virtual, vegan free and open to the public, but space is limited. Sign up here to register
November 12 Diwali - India’s festival of light, celebrating the power of good over evil
November 23 Thanksgiving/National Day of Mourning
Fun with fermented foods
Japanese curry with miso richness and probiotics
Tempeh panini from tempeh superstar Betsy Shipley
Vegan tempeh bacon — salty, smoky and cultured
Coming soon, look for more Broccoli Confidential online cooking classes, interviews, and other special events and opportunities for paid subscribers. Free subscribers, you’ll always receive my free weekly Broccoli Rising newsfeed. But consider upgrading to paid membership. I’d hate you to miss out.
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