Tag Archives: fermentation

Outsider Kimchi

Viola

i wait and i wait….detail of “Viola Wears Patience”, fired ceramic.

kimchi lineup

Kimchi Line Up ready for “Martha”.

Kimchi at Martha

“Martha” menu.

I’m neither Korean nor farmer nor chef.  I make kimchi in upstate NY.   Toggling time spent in a kitchen and an art studio ensures an honest days’ work – 2 deliveries per month to Martha in Newburgh while riding the highs of  creative tides in a studio full of possibilities and a ton of clay and steel.  Sounds magical, right?  Well, it is, but then an event last week confounded my perfectly suitable life with a tidal wave of despair – crashing into my unsuspecting naive enteric nervous system, sending a message in a bottle in exchange for my soul (and the health of my GI tract) Here’s what it told me: “Forgive what we must say.  Your computer is not being controlled by you – a victim of identity crisis you poor thing! Give us access to your Mac and we’ll straighten out what I now can see is a very messy and compromised life.  We promise to restore the magic. Sit back.  So I watched and i watched. Fingers demonstrating awesome speed happening on my computer from another faraway country.  It got worse and although no personal  credit information was revealed (hopefully) , the stressful session ended with a violent cursor war.  Aghast and argh!  I’d been chased through imaginary alleyways (although my legs were no match for  how fast those fingers could run)  no cops  around, a self proclaimed ruling class had  overtaken my Mac and all those college years – wasted!  What could possibly get me through to the other side where Alice wound up, where love and peace happens along with our much revered 4 legged friends.  Ironically, a trustworthy  computer programmer, Adam Saunders, (also my son!)  advised me to change all my passwords and then to hold my finger on the off button. One itty bitty still gesture.  No swords. No foul language. No soul swiping dictator in my face.  OFFLINE I went.   Days later, I am back inside my brain, where cunning fellow humans and brutally fast fingers are faint memories and here is the brilliant and simple lesson I borrow  for now:  Every single day I wake up my body with coffee,  refresh my soul with  real books followed by movement like a  country walk or a run or yoga and re-focus with a serving of creative enlightenment  that sometimes manifests, but sometimes doesn’t. Either way, however the day goes, all the jobs I take on remind me that I am a person. If I pay attention to being a person.  And then I treat myself to a warm bowl of soup and kimchi.

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Artful Kimchi

photo(4) photo-3

The world of “kimchi” has grabbed my attention. Sourcing it back to the specifics of culture, taste, health, sustainability, fermentation and human longevity, making kimchi on a regular basis transports me to Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto – huh? – well, really, it has both mellow and fierce undertones, pacifies me to stillness and most of all, all the parts relate to each other and if your brain can handle it, each flavor texture and color speaks to it’s neighboring flavor texture and color – little random acts of kindness inside a mason jar.
I choose the veggies, sort them, clean them, chop and organize them according to color and size, add spices to soothe and surprise, then I press press press in remembrance of  understanding where each once comes from, which farm, which NYS county, or at least that’s the goal. I want you to discover things in the kimchi and feel good, not only because that’s a nice thing to do, but because you will come back for more – maybe or maybe not for health, maybe for the cracker-jacks-box-like surprise. (and you don’t have to eat the entire jar to find it!)
Soon, I suppose I need to mention our “gut brain”.