Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chik'n Eatza

There are definitely weeks where going into a large, warm, windowless room for 4-5 hours on a beautiful Saturday afternoon is not exactly what I want to do. But I go anyway.

This week Jim did food pickup by himself and, when not injuring himself, got a bunch of food!

"...after overloading the cart with tomatoes, radishes, cantaloupe and some plantain like thing the sunrise grocery people were hollering at me to come back. I went back and saw that the guy had two small boxes on them and I read on the box 'chicken breast' and I tried to explain that I didn't want it but then they opened the box up and I reread the package again and realized I had missed a key part of the name which was 'Veggie Chicken Breast'."

So we cooked up some of the veggie chicken breasts, and it was super weird, boil in a bag stuff. We weren't sure what to do with it at first, but someone had the bright idea of making (lots of) sandwiches. Yum.

We also made a hot pear thing, which I accidentally added garamasala to instead of cinnamon (we managed to wash it off before I ruined the hot thing again), a fruit salad, a stew/soup thing, and a salad. And I think that was it? Maybe I am forgetting something. We also had some bread and muffins and stuff to give out.

Oh, and the radishes turned out to be disgusting and leak brown liquid over everything, and the plantains were actually weird bananas that I didn't like the taste of that much, were fairly squishy, and broke the bottom of a box when I tried to move it outside.

Still, there were some new people that came, we cooked and served a bunch of food (so much fruit salad), and some people gave me recipes for the cookbook zine. So a successful day in all.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Iron Chef East Hastings

There are weeks where Food Not Bombs can feel more like Iron Chef than anything else. We get a theme ingredient and a time limit and have to cook as many different dishes as possible.

This week's theme ingredient was most assuredly Asian pears. Sure we had the normal several boxes of tomatoes, but we always have those (except last week). And while we usually have pears too, this time we had two entire boxes full of them. How the hell were we going to use up all of those?

Thankfully we had a massive group of people there to help cook this week. I'm not even going to attempt to list names, as I can't remember who was there. Thanks to everyone for coming though!

And happy birthday to Ricky. Zoe even made him a cake and we sang "happy birthday" and everything. (This was a cake filled day.)

Okay, so what could we make with all of the pears?

First up was our pear sauce (which we just called "apple sauce" when we served it, and which one regular to our servings called our "famous apple sauce." Stellar!). Cut up lots of pears (or apples) toss them into a pot with some sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and any other delicious spices you can think of. Mix occasionally. As we learned last week, the pears are fiilllllllled with liquid. It's crazy how much comes out of them when you cook them.

Well that was...a lot of pears, but we still had an apparently almost infinite amount left to use. A fruit salad was a totally go, as we also had watermelons and bananas. But still. An entire box was still left!

Shannon said she knew a recipe for a pear cake (or just a recipe for a cake that could be modified to include pears?) so using various cake ingredients (like egg replacer! Thanks Anna/Laura!) we mixed it up and put it made a "fluted tube pear cake" in our fluted tube cake dish.*

And still so many left, so we put them in Pigeon park after the serving.

Meanwhile... Jim was making some banana bread, as he does every chance he gets. It is delicious. I have no idea if he even uses the same recipe every time or just finds random ones online and modifies them to what we have. It works out well anyway.

Since we were in a baking mood, we checked to see what else we could do. Hey, we have these weird cake mixes we will possibly never use. And lots of zucchini. So chocolate zucchini...whats? Do we have more cake dishes? No, but there were lots of muffin trays. Dice the zucchini, mix up the stuff, fill up the trays. Into the oven. Result: 42 regular sized cupcakes, and 12 mini ones. Yeah, they weren't the greatest, but they were still good.

Plus! We made lots of other food too, but I guess I just like writing about baking more. We actually had to have both tables outside with everyone standing behind it to serve everything. We had so many dishes we were out that serving forever! And nobody's plate/container was big enough to hold everything.

A guy from Megaphone also showed up to take some photos of us to go with the article that Katie wrote. Someone else at the serving took photos too. You should upload them somewhere and let us know!

So what did we make? Well, there was a stew thing (which I don't think I even saw! I'm sure it was good though), rice, a salad (tomato and lettuce and a home made dressing), a fruit salad (bananananana, watermelon, and more pear), just plain watermelon we chopped up and put into hollowed out watermelon halves, sandwiches (tomato, lettuce, mustard, margarine), raisin bread with more margarine, and sugary ice tea from a lableless tube.

The only downside was that we couldn't serve in the sun. Still better than serving in the dark like we do in winter time.

Dang, I write a lot. Do you want to write for this blog? Let me know!

Remember! Cookbook deadline is this weekend, please give me a recipe.

*A bundt cake dish thing. But the back of a box called it a fluted tube.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


So last Friday Jim and I did pickup for FNB. On our way back we realized that the sidewalk on the side of the road we were walking down was blocked off, so we'd have to go down East Hastings. Jim was convinced that our box full of bananas would be half empty, from people asking for them, by the time we got to DERA.

However, it wasn't the bananas that anyone wanted. Instead it was the box full of watermelons that led one woman to chase after us after we'd ignore her yelling, grab onto us/the cart and at first demand a watermelon, and then offer to trade us weed for one.

As Jim is straight edge, and I don't smoke that stuff, she wasn't really offering a very tempting trade. However she didn't seem to understand that we didn't want it (or that we said we'd be serving food for free the next day), she kept offering us more of the weed she had. I guess concepts like straight edge aren't that well known on East Hastings.

We managed to get back to DERA without losing a watermelon, and we gave a banana to the one guy that asked for one.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sugar and snails (Food not bombs cookbook?)

1. I am going to the Portland anarchist bookfair in a couple of weeks and realized that all my current zine projects were things I didn't want to actually make. So instead I want to make a FOOD NOT BOMBS COOKBOOK. Yes it deserves all caps.

I want to make it a split book that has two covers and you flip it over. One side will be called Sugar and Snails, and the other side will be Slugs and Spice (after "sugar and spice and everything nice" and "slugs and snails and puppy dog tails"). One half is baking and desserts, and the other half is cooking. Oh! It'll all be vegetarian/vegan too.

I want it to be incredibly readable. ie. even if you don't want to cook anything you will still read it because it is interesting/funny. So your recipe should be half recipe/half anecdote (how you discovered the recipe, what happened some time you made it, etc.).

Or you could just write a food not bombs related story or something. Or write about the history of Vancouver FNB. Or draw me a picture. Or whatever. I will probably write about my experiences doing food not bombs in Malaysia and stuff.

I know this is not much time, but it'd be sweet if you could send me something for it! It doesn't have to be that long/well written even. I can edit it if you like, or leave it as is.

I will give you all copies once it's done! And computer files if I use them so you can make your own.

Please contribute! Plz!

2. I'm also doing an activist/anarchist/alternative/awesome guide to Vancouver for the anarchist bookfair (and beyond). So if you have some place that you think is awesome and that more people should know about, let me know about it so I can include it. Copies will be available (free!) at the anarchist bookfair next month and at other things. Yay!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A shocking lack of tomatoes

This week Jim went to the grocery store and didn't get a single tomato. We were all completely shocked. What we did get were some gross cauliflowers, three boxes of broccoli, a box of bok choi, several bags of pears, a papaya, a melon, and a solitary banana.

Plus all that bread that magically appears every week. And caused a conflict when I told a resident of the building to ask us before they start looting muffins. (I don't care if they take them, just ask!)

Later Graham and another guy who's name I forgot showed up with backpacks full of boxes of just-past-best-by-date baby food. It was basically just flour and stuff, and we totally used some of it.

I showed up a little after one, and some of the guys who are organizing the Vancouver anarchist book fair were there. I think they were talking about using the space? But I have no idea, as they didn't talk to me about that. Note to self: Check out Russian hall kitchen and see what the deal is about us cooking there.

I set up the stuff, and soon Ricky showed up and we started cutting up pears. Well he (and Dave) did. I decided I was going to make rice pudding, carnsarnit. I had bought four litres of soy milk a few days before as it was like a dollar more than buying two litres, and I wanted to make rice pudding. Why was I so excited about it? I have no idea, but I've wanted to make it for ages. The only time I've actually had home made rice pudding was in an activist community centre I stayed at in Melbourne, Australia (they also did Foot Not Bombs there!). Before that I had no idea you could even do that!

So I checked the cupboard and discovered that shit, didn't we used to have loads of rice? And now all we had was a bag of weird Italian rice. I decided to go with it, because Food Not Bombs is totally about experimental cooking. So I cooked up the rice (which actually turned out to be a really good rice to use for this), added the soymilk (using the same amount as the rice, which was two big yogurt containers), and lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. Delicious! Oh hey! And some raisins. Sweet.

Meanwhile we were cutting up a storm of cauliflower and broccoli. The cauliflower was super gross, and I took the task of getting it out of the bags and cutting off all the really nasty bits (and just throwing some of them out entirely). Ew squish squish squish. But yeah, nobody wants to do that. katie did the far more palatable task of cutting up the less gross parts.

Graham and his friend (why can't I remember his name. Dang) set to making some sort of soup/stew/stuff that is an FNB staple. What goes in it? Bok choi! Broccoli! Spices! Cans of tomatoes in the cupboard. A huge can of tomato juice I didn't think we would ever use for anything. More spices! Mix 'em and cook 'em in a pot like gumbo.

Meanwhile, it was decided that since we only had pears we'd make some sort of hot thing, as a bowl of chopped up pears is kind of depressing (we ended up serving some of it anyway). So we set to making a crumble of some kind and baking that stuff. Last time I had used a recipe from the internet that was two parts margarine to one part flour and one part sugar. This time we decided to use some of the baby food, a lot of our precious, precious oil, sugar, and the banana. It sugary olive oil. Uhm. Okay. On top of the pears and into the oven it goes.

But what were we going to do with all the broccoli? How about roasting it? With spices. Let's get to it. They turned out really well, and we totally would have done more if the ovens hadn't been filled with cookies.

Cookies you say? Well after thinking about making some sort of pudding out of all the baby food stuff, Whitney and Zoƫ went about making some cookies, filled with cocoa powder and carob chips and other yum things.

Why is the crumble filled with liquid? What the hell? I guess pear's are liquidy. We tossed all three pans of it into a bowl, where the crumblelyness of it was kind of lost, and it was just a sugary, hot pear thing. At least it went well with the rice pudding.

The stew thing needs more something! We cooked up some spaghetti and put that in, but we really should have just chopped up a couple of baguettes and used those instead. We were fools!

Looking at our plate situation, Katie and I headed to the army navy store were we bought like 75 horrible stryofoam plates. I was going to buy the more expensive paper ones until Katie informed me (using info from an article she'd written last year) that they weren't any better for the environment. Sad.

Upon returning, we felt crazy hot in our horrible, unwindowed, cooking space. Oh! That tray is too big for the oven, and the door is open, so all the heat is escaping. Crud. Wouldn't it be nice to cook outside? I think for the anarchist bookfair thing we should do all the vegetable chopping and stuff at MacLean park if it's nice out.

Oh, and that guy with the rabbit was there again.

The serving.

Actually went really well. The people all seemed really nice today. Nobody really got mad or anything. We seemed to give out less bread than ever, and we were so close to my dream of an all dessert FNB serving.

The final dishes were:
The stew thing with chopped up spaghetti in it.
The small amount of roast vegetables (delicous).
The hot pear thing with some crumbleyness.
The rice pudding.
The uncooked pears.
The cookies.
The presliced bread.

Plus all the other bread, pastries, boxes of baby food, and boxes of broccoli we had left over.

It generally seemed to be well received.

The clean-up.

No cloths again! Oh, we had one. That meant that while we (and by "we" I mean Katie) managed to wash everything, it wasn't the driest when it went back in the cupboard.

What was missing this week (remember to lock the door carefully):
The CD player.
The bag with all the patches.

What was new:
That gross popcorn pot we left out last week.
A bag of flour.

Next week: photos!