gather and grow

Homegrown, hand-spun living in the city

I remember a time when the kitchen was a place where I would go to prepare a meal, or to find a snack or a treat. When the mission was accomplished, I would leave. I might have gone there often, since I take my snacks and treats very seriously. But the point is that when I left the kitchen, it was empty, just waiting for me to return. Nothing was happening there.

It is quite different these days. The kitchen has become a room where I spend much of my time. And even when I leave, there is usually some process or another slowly going on on its own. Somethin’s always brewin’. It’s food preparation on a different time scale: things that take hours, days, and sometimes weeks to be done. But in the meantime, there is very little I myself have to do. I mostly just watch, and wait, and marvel — shepherding rather than actually making anything.

On any given day, there may be seeds and beans sprouting…photo

bread dough rising…


beans soaking… (for this recipe, one of our favorite soups)photo(2)

sauerkraut fermenting…


…or herbs drying, or yogurt setting, or cheese ripening, or kombucha fermenting, or fruit or kale chips being dehydrated. I’ve learned to cook in this new way — a way that honors this slower and more graceful dimension of time in which substances are magically transformed into something nourishing that we enjoy, with very little effort on my part. All that I really do is plan in advance and set the process in motion. The rest takes care of itself, moved forward by the amazing, all-natural change agents such as cultures of bacteria or yeast, warmth, water, or sunlight.

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