I recently moved to a beautiful piece of land; with a small community. It's been great so far, and I see myself here for the foreseeable future, which is a breath of fresh air after the amount of traveling and number of moves I've made in the past decade. Finally, I'm settling down.
I've been attracted to the homesteading lifestyle for a long time; I had my first taste of it around ten years ago, when I spent some time living on a commune in the NW. But now, with no plans of leaving where I'm at, and no itching feet, I'm starting to see the potential of what a life can look like spent digging ones roots into a piece of land; and the opportunities that this rooting might allow.
Specifically, I'm speaking of culinary opportunities.
I love to experiment in the kitchen; especially learning traditional cooking techniques; and using them in creative ways to create novel dishes. I've traveled to a number of different countries, had the opportunity to experience completely different cuisines and styles of cooking; and , the one thing that's stood out for me is how each style of cooking in each country, is for the most part, an organic outgrowth of the food that grows in that climate. America and the UK, canada and australia being the only countries that don't actually have a 'national cuisine' that I'm aware of..
I'm very interested in taking notes from these other cultures, and tweaking these styles and techniques so that they work for the climate of where I'm at- while at the same time taking into account the difference in lifestyle behind 'grocery store eating' and 'root cellar eating'-
Questions I intend to answer with this exploration
What spices thrive not only in this climate, with it's short growing season, and it's gnarly winters, but which spices thrive specifically on the microclimate of this piece of land?
How does a hyper-local fusion cuisine morph as the seasons change? and How best to preserve food with the intention of being able to create dishes in future seasons that share the same general culinary profile?
What wild food is available to use?
(placeholder for questions I don't yet know to ask)
I realize that there is already a traditional, 'homesteading' style of cooking, which I'm familiar with, and intend to use as inspiration, but I see alot of potential to intentionally raise the bar by creating something unique'
Other cuisines I intend to use as inspiration are Mexican, Indian and Sri Lankan.
We'll see what comes of it! I intend to collect my explorations in a .pdf book that I can share with yall; but in the meantime, this is the thread for the ongoing culinary experiments.
One process I'm excited to play around with more is the Mexican Nixtamalization process. Which if you're unaware, is the process of soaking corn in calcium hydroxide/pickling lime before turning into masa, which frees up vitamin b3 and makes the grain far more nutritious, as well as gives it that traditional corn tortilla taste.
And, I recently came across a website that sort of perfectly sums up my intentions I stated above- attempting to take the traditional nixtamlization process and apply it in a regionally relevant way, to work in nordic countries with the grains that grow best in that climate.
Forcing something like a corn tortilla taco, which evolved over a long period of time in specific geographic and cultural conditions, to work anywhere in the world is a difficult thing, and maybe not the way to make it taste its best. For example, cacahuanzitle, the particular type of corn used for tortillas, is common in Mexico but difficult to find other places, which has also led to using other, less suitable varieties for making tortillas storable and transportable as a global food. When it comes to flavour, we might be better off searching for other, locally appropriate ‘corns’ rather than forcing corn tortillas to exist everywhere but poorly. As we say in Mexico, “a fuerza ni los zapatos entran" – “not even the shoes enter by force”.
I chose to investigate the nixtamalisation process with the aim of finding a formula for people in the Nordic region – and other regions of the world – to be able to use different local grains and seeds for making their own fresh, tasty tortillas, and maybe less ‘authentic’ but more delicious versions of the taco concept.
Because the characteristic flavour and texture of corn tortillas are largely due to the nixtamalisation process, it is therefore possible to make high-quality tortillas from grains of the Nordic region, or anywhere in the world.
We decided to put this hypothesis into practice, using the taco as a concept to connect the flavours and values of traditional taco culture on the streets in Mexico’s cities and towns with the raw materials and products of the Nordic region. On the surface it might look and taste different from what I’m used to in Mexico, but the sensation is the same. Wherever in the world it might be, a good taco is a good taco.
When I'm finished with this fast, I intend to do a nixtamalization tek with photos. Check back in a week or so.