5


Knödel Love

Our kitchen this morning

The last and final event of the project ‘5 The dish’ took place last night at my home on Iso Roba. Starting at 5 pm, last guests left around 1:30 am – that would be 8,5 hrs of Knödel party! This morning, I woke up with a hangover of sorts (which was not caused by too much glögi) – was this really the last event? I feel sad, but also relieved; now, the writing can start, and tomorrow, I will take off to Austria and Germany afterwards for holidays (if the snow storm doesn’t wreck my travel plans).

‘Waste’ bread from the supermarket

Preparations started with a supermarket tour on Thursday morning, when I picked up a bag full of the bread that would have officially expired the next day (supermarkets usually sort out products one day before expiration date), and which would have gone to the bin. I felt a bit like Santa Clause with that huge heavy black plastic bag full of goodies on my back, tramping back home through the snow. I unpacked the bread to prevent it from becoming mouldy – my flat smelled like some sort of bakery for three days.

The plan was to make so-called ‘Knödel’ from the waste bread, a typical German dish that recycles stale bread. I am sure none of my guests would have expected those hot steaming round bread balls to be as tasty as they were – not even me! I have to admit, the first Knödel in my mouth just truly made my night – so hearty, warming, and comforting! (talking about food arousing memories) The kitchen was packed with people, and nevertheless we managed to cook together. People just started chopping up bread and following the recipe that hung next to the stove. I didn’t even count how many different doughs were made last night, but there were quite a few, ranging from rye-beetroot- over normal white-bread-parsley-onion- to mixed-bread-with-carrots-Knödels.

All photos but first two by Marina Ekroos

The night went on with our ‘analogue Facebook’ wall – visualizing the social network of people at the party and those who had participated in former events and workshops of this project. It only stopped when we ran out of stickers! When people left, ‘Knödel doggy bags’ with the recipe printed on them were handed out to be filled with leftover bread from the table. Long live the Knödel!

Check out more pictures taken by Marina of the night on Facebook or/and Picasa! Thanks to her again for the great support. :)

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Open invitation to the big final 5th event!

The art and food event series ‘5 – The dish’ comes to an end with this big final event: an open invitation to the artist’s house! Welcome to bring as many friends as you want. The only thing I ask from everybody is to bring old bread – either from your own kitchen, salvaged from the supermarket waste bin, hunted for in a bakery, or from elsewhere – be creative! We will pile up the ‘waste bread’ and turn them into delicious ‘Knödels’.

This event is a chance to meet new and known faces, build up new networks, think of new projects, and reflect upon past, present, and things to come…

Date: December 5th 2010 (this week’s Sunday)

Location: at my home, on Big Mama’s 5th floor (where I share a flat with two girls). Iso Roobertinkatu 26 A 14, 00120 Helsinki

Time: starting from 5 pm onwards. Open end.

Looking forward to seeing you!




Talkoot
November 1, 2010, 8:42 am
Filed under: Network, Theories | Tags: , , ,

Harvest talkoot//Source: http://www.erm.ee

Have you ever heard that word before? Me either! First time I encountered the term was in the context of the oven building workshop in the Summer, when the word was mentioned to describe the building process as an ‘urban talkoot’.  The word exists in different cultures with similar meaning, such as ‘bee’ or ‘barn raising’ in English, ‘imece’  in Turkish, ‘talgod’ in Estonian, ‘dugnad’ in Norwegian, ‘kaláka’ in Hungarian, ‘gadugi’ in Cherokee, and tłoka in Polish, or ‘Nachbarschaftshilfe’ in German.

In Finland, it is an old tradition to help our your neighbour or the community in a village with volunteer work to build e.g. a barn, a house, an oven, or to harvest the fields. This tradition is still alive in old neighbourhoods on the countryside and at Finn’s mökkis (cottages). Andrew Petterson, a researcher in media lab at Taik in Helsinki, has written the very interesting paper ‘A Buzz between Rural Cooperation and the Online Swarm’ about the word ‘talkoot’, analyzing its lingual origins and meaning, and comparing it to contemporary internet practices. According to him, internet communication and web activity enlarge the ‘social capital’ of a society, referring to the term defined by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. “Social capital is a sociological concept, which refers to connections within and between social networks. The core idea is “that social networks have value. Just as a screwdriver (physical capital) or a college education (human capital) can increase productivity (both individual and collective), so do social contacts affect the productivity of individuals and groups”.” (Wikipedia/Putnam, Robert)

With the expansion of big cities, social bonds between neighbours got lost. Whilst we may not know the people who live next door, we might talk online to strangers from the other side of the world, give advice and ask for help. Still, it seems that virtual social networks are indeed reviving real life social bonds, which is a very promising sign for the future. Comparing it again to the fine example of the oven workshop: instead of direct neighbours, it was mostly anonymous strangers who gathered via internet platforms, but real life social bonds were the result of it!

Social capital is a sociological concept, which refers to connections within and between social networks. Though there are a variety of related definitions, which have been described as “something of a cure-all[1] for the problems of modern society, they tend to share the core idea “that social networks have value. Just as a screwdriver (physical capital) or a college education (human capital) can increase productivity (both individual and collective), so do social contacts affect the productivity of individuals and groups”.


Permaculture
October 29, 2010, 7:26 am
Filed under: Design, Food, Production, Theories | Tags: , , , , , ,

Fuji Eco Park Village, Japan, by Cecilia Macaulay

Last night, I attended a lecture about Permaculture at the Hub Helsinki. My mind is blasted. Jerome Osentowski, director of the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, was speaker of the night. It got me really interested in learning more about Permaculture, which is a whole philosophy including social, economical, technological, cultural, educational, political and spiritual aspects. Basically, it is a concept about a self-sustained life, independent from governments and states, in accord with nature. The term comes from the two words ‘permanent’ and ‘agriculture’, and “aims to design human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic nature”, Osentowski presented in his lecture. Three basic ethics lead Permaculture: care for the earth, care for the people, and sharing the surplus. From the website www.permacultureprinciples.com, you can find very nice and clear descriptions of the principles, presented in the permaculture flower diagram, which are explained more nearly when clicking on them. Those Ecovillages are like small Utopian realities with a holistic philosophy, that I agree with in many aspects. I would only be careful with a too large body of rules and regulations that need to be followed.

In the discussion after the lecture, the question was raised whether is was possible to use only vegan fertilizers, forgoing animal manures, since Osentowski is making use of the rabbits’ and chicken’s dirt for the plants. I was wondering what could be wrong with using animal excrement, and found an answer of sorts in the internet: Using animal manures would support the meat and dairy industries. But if one raises the animals himself and does not make use of any other products but their dirt? Food philosophy at its best, source of discussion and thoughts; I am seriously troubled.

Here an interesting article about Masanobu Fukuoka’s, a Japanese farmer, philosophy, whose agricultural approach is recommended on the Permaculture website. Another interesting aspect are the alternative economic models proposed and encouraged, such as volunteer work, trading without money, and concepts such as WWOOFing (which I plan on doing next year – I hope to find answers to all my questions!).



The lightness of being
October 26, 2010, 6:24 am
Filed under: Design, Network | Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday, I stumbled over Tabea Glahs’, a very good old friend, blog about Simple Living. We studied together in Italy and now she is doing a Master in Communicaton Design in Oslo. Our thoughts about design go in very similar directions, which I find very pleasant. Last year, we shared an experience that had quite an important impact on our lives. We spent some time in a living community in St. Ellero in Tuscany last year (me actually only one day, which was already enough to influence me strongly!). The simple way of living, in generous harmony with others, nature, and oneself felt so light compared to many other styles of living elsewhere. The pizza baking in an old farm house stone oven at night for around 50 people actually inspired me in the process of bringing such an oven (of sorts), together with other dreamers, to Finland. Thanks again to Tabea and Julia for inviting me to the community, and thanks to Fabrizio, Fabio, Leo, and all the others for the hospitality! Tabea actually suggested an oven building workshop for next year in Oslo – what a nice idea!