Tag Archives: food

Eight Things I Learned in Indonesia

A little over a year ago I spent four months in Indonesia. I didn’t really travel across the country, at least not in the way you would expect during that much time abroad. Instead I had the great privilege to live in Indonesia, and see it from the inside. It’s hard to put to words all that I learned, and impossible to do justice to the people I met and the experiences I had. Here is my attempt to share are a few things I learned while I was travelling.

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1) Hospitality

The first notable quality of almost every Indonesian I encountered, and especially of my host family, was their hospitality. Within 12 hours of arriving my concept of generosity and hospitality had been put to shame. My hosts not only shared their home, they shared their family, lives, and friends with me. I was adopted into their social circle, taken for day- or week-long trips by their friends while I was there. I was honoured to be one of the first people to greet the family’s first grandson alongside the immediate family.

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2) Hijabs aren’t scary

This is a fairly potent topic these days so I won’t comment too much. Over half the women on Java wear hijabs, a head covering worn by Muslim women. When I asked why they wore them, all the women I asked answered with “I wear it because I choose to.” I began to recognize beauty and comfort in these headdresses, as well as freedom of expression. These women were neither ashamed nor pious in their religion, it was simply a part of their life.

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2015’s Cultural Battleground – Kat’s Account

EDITOR’S NOTE: We end this year by each taking a look back and picking our five best posts, explaining both their importance to us and to the world we currently live in.  Clicking the banner images will link you to each post, so as 2014 comes to a close join us in remembering how far we’ve come, but also how far we still have to go.

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After the recent acts of Daesh terrorism in Paris I returned to this interview with PhD Candidate Rachel Brown to get some perspective. While Brown’s work was focused on food and religious identity in French and Quebecois Muslim immigrant communities, it also highlights how isolation and religious persecution can push young people towards accepting religious extremism. In the interview, Brown explains,

“I’m not really an expert in ISIS or Jihadist fighters or any of the topics that relate to this. I can say that when people, especially youth, feel alienated, when they don’t feel at home anywhere, this can lead to finding identity in extreme forms of religion. If the religious identity is the only identity that one feels they can claim, he/she is going to place a huge amount of importance on that identity.”

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This year, a petition began circulating that condemned Nestlé’s operations here in British Columbia. While Nestlé has been operating here in B.C. for 15 years, residents became particularly concerned during the drought this past summer.  As Gordon has pointed out in his previous Shame Day post, Nestlé doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to respecting other countries and their water needs. In this post we take a closer look at the relationship between Canadian water and the American corporations that would like to bottle it up. Continue reading

“Us Vs. Stuff” or “What The **** Is Up With Subscription Services?”

Readers, this rambling only semi-coherent post comes from the sickbed of yours truly, where I am currently battling a cold that I just don’t have time for right now.

With that in mind, you might be e’er so slightly charitable when you hear me ask: “No seriously, what’s up with subscription services?”

For those of you who were as unaware as I was (up until a few months ago), the latest trend has folks being sent, well, “boxes of stuff”.

How it works is essentially as follows: one will pay a monthly fee to a company who will, in turn, send said person a box/crate full of items they believe the individual will like. While there is some customization available (I could get a monthly shave-kit delivered, for example), there’s often a certain degree of chance involved. BlueApron.com, for example, will send subscribers recipes with per-packaged ingredients. Other sites, like LootCrate.com will send whatever nerd and geek accoutrements they decide to.

Now readers, maybe its the ongoing battle in my sinus cavity or maybe I really am just a mean, cynical miser, but I just don’t get it. And I don’t mean to come across harsher than I probably will, but I really don’t quite like what this seems to say about us as a culture. Do we really have so much excess cash that we’re just giving it to some strangers and saying “surprise me”? Continue reading

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Our Trip to Cuba

As you probably remember from last week, John and I just went on our belated honeymoon to Cuba.

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And yes, there were awesome old cars everywhere.

We only went for one week, but we had a blast. The beaches were just as warm and beautiful as I’d been picturing. There were cigars available everywhere, just like John had been hoping. And the architecture in Old Havana was just as beautifully eclectic as you’d imagine for a country with such a fascinating history.

The only problem was, I really didn’t plan out our trip at all. Our entire summer was one crazy adventure after another and this was our final journey, so I was too busy planning other things to do much more than book an all-inclusive. While we did love our little escape, there are a few things we learned along the way that I wish I had known beforehand. Continue reading

Québec Part V: Saying Goodbye (5 Things I’ll Miss about the French Province)

I’m a pretty sentimental person, so as I think about the 5 weeks I’ve spend here in Quebec it’s easy to think of lots of things that I will miss. Since I’ve promised to try to write all my posts about Quebec in French, however, I’ve narrowed it down to one for each week.

The Food

Everyone knows that the French know what is up it comes to food. This past Sunday, for our last weekend together, several of us biked to a waterfall close-by for a little picnic. We stopped by an outdoor market on the way to pick up some bread. We bought a loaf of sun-dried tomato and chocolate cranberry bread. Afterwards we went to the fromagerie and bought several types of cheese. A couple of us also picked up a bottle of wine from the corner store (yes, there is wine available everywhere here). Then we sat in front of a waterfall feasting on bread and cheese and the grapes we packed along.

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Then, of course, there were the restaurant-style meals we are fed each and everyday by our hosts.

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Culture War Correspondence: Healthy Living

EVAN: Tired of getting sand kicked in your face and being humiliated in front of your significant other? Well now’s the time to put down that Twinkie hambuger you’re eating [it’s just a Twinkie sandwiched in between two other Twinkies, you animal] and tune in to our discussion for today: being healthy.

Now Gordon and yours truly are both men in their early twenties, and we’re here to talk to each other and you about what it means to stay in relatively good shape, and if we’re even doing that to begin with.

GORDON: This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve covered the general topic of health- smoking, drinking, and obesity are all issues we’ve covered in the past. What really makes this one interesting, I think, is that we’re approaching it more from the angle of health, rather than health hazards. Continue reading

Fame Day: Chipotle’s Farmed and Dangerous

I am a man who likes a number of different things, but high up among them are food and environmentalism. When it comes to the latter my immersion into all things animal-related at a young age [Kratts’ Creatures, anyone?] made me care deeply about their habitats, and that extends to this day. As far as food goes it’s something that has kept me alive for the past 23 years. Big ups to food.

Just last December I ate at Chipotle for the first time. While I was extremely unimpressed by my burrito assembler’s assertion that the medium salsa was “pretty spicy”, everything else was great. A good quantity of good quality Mexican food at a reasonable price, plus great chips- what’s not to like? Or, I guess I should be asking, what more is there to like?

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How about a Hulu-exclusive show that lauds sustainable agriculture and humane treatment of food animals with one hand while damning the modern world of industrial agriculture with the other?

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