Recently TJ posted A Recipe for Kale Chips on Bricolage, kicking off another layer of food culture here at Beams. The context for this push towards a post-postmodern food culture has been nicely articulated by Andrew Baxter in an underrated Beams article called The Case for Food. One of the points that food writers and activists such as Michael Pollan and Jamie Oliver often make is that in western culture, and North America in particular, we've lost the cultural transmission of food knowledge. As modernity set in, and we became busier and busier and food became more and more packaged and processed and the food supply became centralized and outside of society, we eventually stopped teaching our children how to cook. So the development of a post-industrial food culture- one that includes local, whole foods, traditional knowledge, and artisan hands on food creation as parts of its ken- is greatly hindered by many folks simply not knowing how to cook or make their way comfortably around the kitchen. To combat this Jamie Oliver has created a foundation called The Ministry of Food, which are centers he's set up in England, Australia, the US and now Canada, where local folks are offered free lessons about cooking basics. We here at Beams would like to jump into this fray, helping to enact this self-reliant food culture by sharing (and receiving) recipes, ideas and knowledge around food.
On that note, today's offering is a recipe for mulled wine. It's a hybrid of a recipe by Jamie Oliver and couple of others. I had it the other night and can attest to its full flavors and heavenly glow. One of the things about cooking from scratch, and about using fresh whole ingredients as this recipe does (I'd never seen a vanilla pod in all my years as a chef!), is the amazing aromas that fill the room. This is to be shared with company to be sure, a festive and rousing (and ancient) beverage to accompany the dark nights and the seasonal lights. Enjoy, and for those with contributions to add this burgeoning food culture, send us a note!