commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
Is May 1.

We'd much prefer you to post late than not at all, but if you can post on time, please do so; people get really excited about having lots of great posts to read on the day.

If you can't post to Dreamwidth, or perfer to post somewhere else, please use Open ID to drop a comment to the round-up post I plan to make on the day.

*is excited*
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
Theme: Half-Homemade

Fresh fruit filling in storebought pastry, pasta sauce from a jar with 10 extra ingredients added, packet soup respiced to suit your own tastes ... every cook has their tricks and shortcuts. Talk about yours!

Deadline: May 1, 2012

The first announcement/guidelines post is here.

The only change from the guidelines, etc, given there is, I have created a community for the carnival, as several people asked for a place other than their own journals to put their posts.

I will crosspost my entries from the first round, and people are encouraged to crosspost their first-round posts as well.

There will be a discussion post in the new community.
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
So, I think that went well; there are lots and lots of fabulous posts and comments and discussion that I found and linked to and there may be more I haven't seen.

(One Very Important Note for contributors; PLEASE come and drop me a link to your post. This somehow did not happen consistently this round, and it really does matter. Even if you know I read you, I might be ill, or behind, or distracted, or even mistakenly think that you're making a private post about cooking and don't WANT a bunch of strangers dropping in, and I might miss your post, or not know I am meant to link it, and that would be SAD. A lot of posts got linked later than I would have liked because of this issue, and I am haunted by the fear I may have missed a whole pile somewhere.)

In general, many thanks and much love to all of you, I was afraid to commit to hosting more than one round because of my spoon-supply issues, but this round was surprisingly manageable. I am, for now, inclined to keep hosting the carnival, at least for one or two more rounds. I generally like to make sure things are at a certain level of maturity before I foster them out, if I can; it seems to make for better longevity.

Ergo, a poll.

Discussion of any or all issues related to the carnival is MOST welcome in comments; the poll is meant to get me certain information which I want to have in a handy format, not to limit general discussion.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 59

I am taking this poll

View Answers

... and I participated in the last carnival.
15 (25.4%)

... and I read more than three posts from the last carnival.
27 (45.8%)

... and I am planning to get around to writing something/reading more than three posts from the last carnival.
9 (15.3%)

... and I missed this carnival but am hoping to participate in the next carnival.
5 (8.5%)

... and my level of participation/interest is hard to describe but I have generally warm feelings towards the basic idea and some opinions to express.
3 (5.1%)

... despite having neither read nor participated, nor planning to in future. I like taking polls. I appreciate having a box to check and I understand that you may therefore choose to ignore my comments.
0 (0.0%)

The next Carnival should be

View Answers

... in three months
26 (53.1%)

... in six months
17 (34.7%)

... in twelve months
4 (8.2%)

... at some other regular interval; I will explain in comments.
2 (4.1%)

... in three, six, or twelve months - I will say which in comments - but first you should shift things to avoid a conflict which I am about to tell you exists.
0 (0.0%)

May I help?

View Answers

I'll promote the carnival!
22 (44.9%)

I'll collect posts!
1 (2.0%)

I'll beta posts!
6 (12.2%)

I'll do general hand-holding!
5 (10.2%)

You have a problem which you haven't noticed yet; I am about to point it out and offer to help fix it, or at least make some suggestions!
2 (4.1%)

There is a potential awesomeness-increasing option for this carnival that you haven't thought of; I am about to point it out and offer to help implement it, or at least make suggestions!
3 (6.1%)

I don't want to commit to a regular gig but I hear rumours you have a chronic illness; if you're flat on your back next deadline I'd be willing to join the Last-Minute Carnival Saviour Squad!
10 (20.4%)

I can't do anything concrete, but I'll think good thoughts and say good words about the carnival or send people over here if I get a chance! (Don't think I don't value this: trust me, I do! - MRN)
30 (61.2%)

I have a theme suggestion:

We Ticky Because We Care!

View Answers

16 (32.0%)

13 (26.0%)

7 (14.0%)

9 (18.0%)

Fox in Sox!
22 (44.0%)

Knox in Box!
7 (14.0%)

Fox in Sox on Knox in Box!
13 (26.0%)

Knox in Box on Fox in Sox!
9 (18.0%)

12 (24.0%)

9 (18.0%)

9 (18.0%)

16 (32.0%)

Chicks with Bricks Come!
8 (16.0%)

Clicks with Blocks Come!
7 (14.0%)

Chicks with Bricks and Blocks and Clocks come!
16 (32.0%)

12 (24.0%)

12 (24.0%)

7 (14.0%)

11 (22.0%)

17 (34.0%)

19 (38.0%)

15 (30.0%)

20 (40.0%)

13 (26.0%)

Ice Cream!
19 (38.0%)

18 (36.0%)

Creme Brulee!
16 (32.0%)

16 (32.0%)

9 (18.0%)

19 (38.0%)

14 (28.0%)

20 (40.0%)

17 (34.0%)

27 (54.0%)

18 (36.0%)

21 (42.0%)

14 (28.0%)

20 (40.0%)

Fair Trade!
29 (58.0%)

26 (52.0%)

19 (38.0%)

23 (46.0%)

15 (30.0%)

commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
The announcement post was here. The discussion post is here; both have lots of interesting stuff in comments.

Please link your post in comments here: there is no guarantee I will see your post and add it if you do not link it here.

Posts which went up before I made this post:

I posted Thoughts on Bulk Food and [kinky is] Using the Whole Damned Bird.

Daedala "wrote rather a lot about buying an entire animal and eating out of your freezer for a year".

17Catherines posts a festival of links and recipes.

Executrix posted on basic bread-making Part One and Part Two and linked to The Basics on

Cpolk posted On How to Use a Recipe and Cooking for One.

Susan8020 posted A Varied Collection Of Links to Her Food Writing.

Legionseagle posted on Lancashire ways of cooking cheap meat slowly and to excellent effect, as well as Tripe, Cowheel, Elder, Blackpuddings and all points offal and Means of Production, Distribution and Exchange, well, actually just the last two.

Ysabetwordsmith posted Slow Cooking for Beginners.

James Bryant posted a brief but useful comment on expiry dates.

ConGirl on beans.

Kake on How to cook when you have money, but no time or energy.

AmazonSyren on Food Security, New Domesticity, and Economic Privilege and on Imbolg and Cooking for People Who Don’t – OR: Eating Local in the Dead of Winter.

Linked In Comments here:

Kathmandu wrote a very simple recipe for tomato-egg-drop soup.

Ursula posted about cooking beets, cabbage, and squash.

Crystalpyramid wrote a thing on lessons I learned from being time- and money-poor and vegetarian, and also soup recipes and a thing on lessons I learned from being time- and money-poor and vegetarian, and also soup recipes..

Seekergeek put up a post on organizing and making useful the much reviled chest freezer.

Ursula on cooking beets, cabbage, and squash.

Highlyeccentric on learning to cook from cookbooks.

Nancylebov on Scrubbing 101, A little more about scrubbing, and Mirepoix, an easy way to add savoryness.

Oursin on Cooking within [your] limits.

Chickenfeet on on beans and cooking like a peasant.

Indywind on Cooking when low on cope/brain.

Oyceter on Random tips for fast Chinese food.

Dichroic on Sunday cooking - making large portions when you have time for later when you don't.

Silveradept has some anecdotes about learning to cook by yourself, when you've just gotten out into the world on your own.

Whump on making marinara sauce and cooking for friends and family in crisis and change.

JessetheK's high-protein, low-carb, gluten-free lunch ... following this basic five-ingredient method.

Automaticdoor left a very long comment on oyceter's DW with a recipe for a rice noodle/egg drop soup that is gluten-free, vegetarian, and can be modified to be vegan.

Resolute on making Hobbit Polenta ... Hobbit food being defined as food that contains onions and mushrooms ...
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
Solicit or offer ideas, cheer each other on, ask for or offer data or resources, team up and do a group-authored post or a mini-carnival cluster of posts, find a beta, be a beta ...

I would like to say: I am not at all worried about avoiding duplication, and suggest that nobody else be either.

If eight people do posts on How To Cook Eggs, they will all be different, they will all be right and useful, and each of them will be somebody's absolute most useful and favourite post of the whole carnival.

Carry on!
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)
The First (and I hope not the last) Cooking For People Who Don't Carnival: Food Security Round.


Due date February 2nd 2012.


I will make a master post in this journal on that day for people to post links to.


Food Security is defined by The World Health Organisation as existing

when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.

Food security is built on three pillars:

Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis.
Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.
Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.


Write a post to pass on something[s] you know that you feel is useful to anyone who wants to increase their level of food security by increasing their level of skill, knowledge, comfort around getting, storing, or preparing food. How-tos are good, recipes are good, linkspams are good. Reflective essays are good too, even if not of a strictly practically useful nature. You are your own best judge of what's on-topic. On February 2nd, come back and post a link to it in the comments of the Carnival Round Up Post.

You don't need my or anyone's permission or approval or anything for your choice of topic or angle of approach. I am going to make have made a post for discussion and idea sharing, but nobody is in any way required to use or even read it.

You don't need to "sign up". If you find it useful and motivating to make a public commitment when you want to make sure you get a thing done. the discussion post would be good for that, but it's in no way required that you tell anyone if you are in or out. Come February 2, if you have a post, come and link it.

You cannot "miss the deadline". If you finish a post later, come and link it then. The point of a carnival as I see it is to make a community thing of it and to exchange ideas, so it's nice to have a LOT of posts on the due date just to make it that kind of collaborative, but more at a later time are great too, they keep the momentum happening.

Posters are asked to keep the following guidelines in mind, using their own judgement to interpret them:

Think of your audience as highly intelligent beginners: that is, posts should be addressed/useful to one or more of new cooks, people not used to doing their own grocery shopping, people adapting to a sudden income drop, people who have had an income increase and want to use it to improve how they cook and eat, people adapting to living and eating alone instead of with a family, people adapting to living and eating with a family instead of alone, people adapting to a disability, etc.. If they are also useful to experts looking to become more expert, that's great, but experts shouldn't be the main intended audience.

That said, Describe much; Prescribe little. Readers may be complete beginners in the kitchen, food store, or garden patch, but they are, and deserve to be respected as, experts on their own lives, resources, abilities, and circumstances. Avoid the phrases, and the mindset, "anyone can", or "everyone should".

Diet Talk and the Food Police:

Should be a band name. And it shouldn't be happening at this carnival. Again: Describe much; Prescribe little.

Please be especially careful not to:

-- label certain foods "good" and others "bad", unless you are comparing the firm green chard to the wet brown chard. No guilty pleasures, no "healthy" vs "unhealthy", no "more food than anyone needs", no "natural" versus "unnatural", and so forth. This is surprisingly tricky. I think it's worth learning how to do.

-- Be prescriptive about how much or how little or what kind of food anyone "needs", or how often.

-- Write a post about your (weight-loss) diet or about calorie restriction or about how everybody's life can be made perfect and shiny by us all avoiding entire classes of foods.

DO feel free to talk about: not liking some foods. Foods that don't work for you. Foods that make you sick. Foods that violate your personal ethos of eating. How you do and don't want to eat. Ways in which you yourself feel you have been smarter and healthier or less smart and healthy in your approach to food. If your post is on a topic in this area, consider getting someone you trust to look it over quickly before you post it, and consider warnings and cuts, because these are incredibly valuable and necessary conversations but they're also conversations many people have to pick their times for carefully.

And, of course, to quote the fabulous [personal profile] kerrypolka, "-isms in my opinion are not good". Do your best, be ready to do better if you find you have made a mistake. Be kindly - not necessarily "nice" or "polite" or "quiet", but kindly - with yourself and others.

Please feel absolutely free to link or promote this elsewhere.
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)
So I have been musing about food, the buying and the cooking and the eating thereof, and about my Cooking For People Who Don't tag.

I have a lot of strong opinions about food, of which probably the strongest is, Describe Much, Prescribe Little. Which makes talking about it tricky, but ultimately really rewarding.

And it occurred to me last night as I was adding a handful of vegetables and a hefty shake of spice to a canned soup that one of the things that I really want to do when I write about food is to help increase people's levels of food security.

It seems to me that one of the less-considered factors that goes into determining someone's food security or insecurity - subjective AND objective[1]- is, well, knowledge, and access to knowledge. You have to HAVE resources - money, accessible grocery stores with good food in them, transport, a kitchen, physical capacity, maybe some assistance, cooking utensils, time[2] - and you have to know what and where they are and how to use them.

I don't mean, by the way, that NOBODY ever talks about this stuff. Obviously, lots of people do.

But the large, mainstream discussions about food security, especially food security for people on low/fixed incomes seem to me to consistently miss or just plain ignore lack of time, and to be dismissive and minimising and generally privileged and clueless about lack of knowledge.

And the higher up the hierarchy of food needs the conversation gets, the more prescriptivist and privileged it seems to get.

And here's the thing. Everytime you want to take a step up that pyramid, you're accepting that food security just got harder to achieve and maintain, and you're going to need more resources.

My family is fortunate. We get to live at the top of the pyramid most of the time, if we choose to. We don't always choose to, because there are always going to be times when something else is more important to us. But mostly, we can choose to eat things that are tasty and nutritious, which were produced under conditions we find ethically acceptable, that we bought from suppliers whose practices and standards we mostly approve of.

And here's the thing: I honestly, seriously, absolutely don't think anyone needs to do things the way we do. I am not interested in telling people what they ought to do.

What I want to do, and try to find ways to do, is share what I know about getting, storing, and preparing food in the hopes that I can make it easier for someone else to get to where they want to be on that food pyramid.

And I have found over the years that with Food Education as with Sex Education the place where the biggest need is is between Zero and Two: I know a lot of people who are or have been in a position where the major factor in keeping their level of Food Security lower than it ought to be is that they don't know how to buy, store, prepare, and flavour their own food, so they have to depend on someone else - whether that's a family member or a diner or a food company - to do some or all of that for them. It's not just that they don't know how to cook, they don't know who to ask or how to ask or how to access the people who know. So they spend more than they can afford to on food that is less than acceptable to them.

Getting from Zero to Two is not easy. It's a LOT more complicated than disdainfully telling someone that a carrot is "better" than a Mars Bar[3]. And it's risky: when you're trying to get from Six to Eight you end up with some stuff that isn't quite what you wanted it to be. When you're trying to get from Zero to Two, you end up with some situations where what used to be food isn't anymore, because you burnt it or salted it to death, or it rotted. If your Food Security is already shaky... your ability to learn by experiment is kind of limited. Safer to stick with Ramen, or Freezer Pizza.

So when I write stuff for the "cooking for people who don't" tag, I want to be posting about making complex, effort-intensive food, totally from fresh ingredients, and about Doing Stuff Mostly From Cans And Packets and tweaking it a bit to make it tastier and more nutritious, and about things like What A Chest Freezer Can Do For Your Vitamin Situation, or How To Safely Store Twenty Kilos of Beans and Ten Of Flour and Which Things It's Worth Scrimping Elsewhere To Get In Bulk and What It Is Best To Just Get Weekly, and How To Build A Herb/Sauce/Spice Collection at One Jar Per Paycheque, or Living As Well As Possible In A Food Desert, and about Making A Pound Of Meat Feel Luxurious In A Dinner For Six, and about Good Stuff You Can Do With Leftovers. [4]

And I hope it's useful. I want to start doing more of it, and linking to other people who say Smart Stuff About Food.

So that's my Food Philosophy, sort of. Or at least my Talking About Food philosophy.

[1] By objective I mean, how many days worth of good, healthy food you actually have, or can definitely get and by subjective I mean how close that puts you to your own internal sense of "enough".

[2] Time may actually be one of the LEAST talked about resources that goes into a person or family's level of food security.

[3] Also, you tell me that at the half-way point of a 20 km winter hike and I will EAT YOUR HEAD.

[4] Topic requests welcome. Anyone want to listen to me talk about freezers?


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