Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cooking with Surplus -n- Excess

by Sy Loady

I'm giving this zine it's own review because already in my head it's too long for a little blurb in a group review of zines, like I usually do.

Compiled here are tips on Dumpster diving and other ways of getting free food, including judging the edibility of found food, as well as cleaning and storing; instructions for making hobo stoves and other cooking setups and methods; ways to deal with large quantities of foods, how to make use of unusual food items, and what to do with food that needs to be consumed right away. You'll also find pages on worm bins, food poisoning, and government surplus foods. In this respect, the zine seems to take the Food Not Bombs-types and squatters and such as its audience.

The section that jazzed me the most, however, has a much broader appeal and is in fact the bulk of the zine. I enjoy cooking and tend to do it freestyle rather than strictly following recipes. I also consider myself an adventurous eater; I like vegetables and I'm not afraid of "weird" ones. But sometimes I find myself in the produce section at a loss for what to do with the stuff, especially since I'm probably trying to buy different things that are in season and/or local-ish instead of the usual suspects that you can get trucked up from the tropics year-round. The big middle section of this zine lists foods alphabetically and give ideas and inspiration on how to use them — best ways to cook them and other things they taste good with — rather than exact recipes, thus solving my quandary without stifling my creativity!

Last thing I want to mention is a very interesting short essay in here that could be construed as anti-vegan, BUT it really doesn't say no one should be vegan, it simply brings up some of the unfortunate things (such as cultural insensitivity and moral superiority) that sometimes coincide with veganism. I think it's quite brave of the author to raise these issues in this context, and I hope that people who read this essay really read it and really think about it instead of just blasting it as anti-vegan propaganda.

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