Sunday, October 16, 2011

Slow Food: A Baker In The Family

One of the great rewards of baking for yourself is knowing exactly what ingredients are in your food; you can choose organic, unbleached, whole-grain, and locally-grown flours. You can compensate for special dietary needs, like our household's need to be completely peanut- and nut-free. You can get adventurous and experiment with loaves usually not found at your local bakery.

rustic whole grain sourdough loaf
garlic and French onion ciabatta
whole wheat cheese and mustard loaf
green tea sweet buns

If you're as lucky as I am, you have a partner who does it for you, just for fun, every weekend, and the only drawback is the occasional need to clean sourdough snot starter out of the sink. My husband finds it relaxing and is becoming fairly accomplished as a baker, as you can see from the photos above of his work. He's particularly proud of his green tea sweet buns, which were inspired by the ones we ate on our trip to Japan and adapted from a regular bread roll recipe, and the pretzels, which took him forever to perfect. His beer pretzel recipe was posted on his blog a while back.
Today is Blog Action Day 2011, and the topic is food - not slow food, but hunger and famine. I'm not going to write extensively about it; I just wanted to express gratitude for how extraordinarily fortunate we are as North Americans when it comes to our food security. We are blessed to even be able to nitpick over where our food comes from. I also wanted to point out that the slow food movement isn't as divorced from food insecurity as you might think, and link out to a few great posts from today.

{Food insecurity is defined magnificently in the Red Cross UK video in this BAD11 post - please go watch it. 
Agencies like the Red Cross who are working to increase the resilience of at-risk communities need our unwavering support.} 

By growing and making your own food, and supporting local farmers and CSAs and farmers markets and grocery delivery services, and going to locally-owned restaurants where the chefs specialize in local ingredients, you actually help to ensure the food security of your community should hard times ever come. You help to control the global rise in food prices. Also, by reducing the amount of food you are importing from elsewhere, you reduce your food's carbon footprint. By supporting slow food projects in other communities - like the projects championed in this blog post - you bring those benefits to developing and at-risk nations. Choosing slow food is a small step in the right direction, but cumulatively our choices can make a huge difference.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Monthly Slow News Summary: October 2011

On Slow Food:

via Cracked: "That loaf and the chopping block have an equal wood content."

On Slow Travel:

On Slow Fashion:

On Slow Living:

via Simple Organic

On Slow Design:

  • Also shown at London Design Festival was Lies-Marie Hoffmann's "Homage To The Elm Trees" (found via Inhabitat). What a stunning example of slow design! The butterfly joints make me weak-kneed - and wouldn't you love to see something similar made from the boulevard trees your city has lost to disease?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Slow Fashion: A Working Vintage Wardrobe

It's October, and that means the thrift shops that don't usually have older vintage clothing will pull iconic pieces out of their storage and hang them for sale in their costume section. I can see why - sometimes older clothes can look very costumey - but styled with modern pieces, or even vintage pieces from other eras, they look chic instead. Older pieces also usually have the advantage of having been carefully constructed by skilled seamstresses in unionized North American workshops from high-quality materials.

I'm starting to build a respectable wardrobe of basic vintage pieces to mix with my modern clothing. So far for accessories, I have a great navy blue '50s frame bag, a porkpie hat and a wool felt beret, a solid collection of brightly-coloured '20s-to-'70s bakelite and lucite bangles, and some older necklaces and brooches that came my way from my mom and grandmothers. Most of my 'vintage' clothes are less authentic: a 90s-repro mod dress that looks fab with leggings, some sweet velvet or tweed blazers of indeterminate age, the 30s-style knit accordion pleat skirt and 40s-esque high-waisted trousers I bought at Winners this week. When I'm thrifting, I mostly shop for my kids (because I have them with me), so my daughter has a much more impressive collection than I do (with her 60s and 70s sundresses, embroidered Portuguese peasant blouse, full-circle square dancers' skirt trimmed with ricrac, and pink multilayer tulle petticoat). However, the other day I scored these two beauties:

...a Canadian-union-made Edwardian-style ruff-neck puffed-sleeve blouse that can be worn as intended, or back-to-front for an interesting keyhole effect, probably made in the 1970s; and a 1960s-or-70s-era full-length swiss dot slip. Both are super soft poly-cotton blends. I think I'll try to find a way to wear them to today's Tweed Ride. (Yes, it's hours away and I have no clue what I am wearing for it!) (Update: I ended up not wearing these because they're better suited to warm weather - I'll keep them in mind for the planned springtime Tweed seersucker social.)

To make all of these part of my working wardrobe, of course, I need to actually find ways to wear them for everyday, as well. Of course there's a whole world of vintage fashion blogs out there to explore for inspiration, and I'm just starting to dive into it. Here are a handful of resources I think I'll find pretty useful; the first few talk more about classic vintage shapes and how they were worn back-in-the-day, and most of the rest talk more about fitting them into a modern wardrobe. (I've updated this list as I've found more great information; newly added links are in italics.)