the newsmagazine University of Toronto’s Independent Quarterly
CAMPUS FOOD GUIDE 3
CAMPUS EATS TV 7
Vol. I N0. 3
September 7, 2010
URBAN FORAGING 4
FORAGING FIELD GUIDE 5
DUMPSTER DIVING 5
FOOD & DRINK
BIG GAME THEORY 8
September 7, 2010
The Editorial With the end of summer, it is time for us to reap what we have sown. No, we're not talking about liver failure and lung cancer, but rather the fall harvest. Friends, the wheat is ﬂaxen, the corn is as high as an elephant's eye, and the cliches are ripe. The moment is nigh for us to grab our scythes and end the languorous growing season in style. Yes, it'll be hard work, and at times we'll miss those lazy days of sitting under apple trees, playing the ﬁddle and watching the sun slowly arc across the sky. But think of the laden tables! The smorgasbord will make it worthwhile – no longer shall we be subjected to a wretched diet of fast food and Red Bull. In seriousness, with the academic year about to begin, your diet will likely revert to just that. You'll gorge on endless slices of greasy pizza during all-night essay marathons, and your cup will runneth over with noxious energy drinks. But not if the newsmagazine has anything to say about it. Dan Epstein talked with the head chef of Kensington's La
Palette to learn about ethically sourced meat, discovering that the sweet ﬂesh of animals can be far more moral and sustainable than the naysayers at PETA would have us believe Joe Howell went into the wilds of the Rouge Valley in an anachronistic attempt to live off the land, chronicling the difﬁculties he experienced along the way. A woodsman he ain't Helene Goderis details the edible delights that can be gleaned around campus, if you'll only keep an open mind. Sure, it'll require more prep work than the day's $2 sandwich at Burger King, but you'll respect yourself more in the morning. Melinda Mortillaro and Jeff Bafaro look at more conventional ways of eating healthily at school and resisting the siren song of those ubiquitous hotdog venders. Because really, do you want to ﬁll your gullet with yet another serving of mechanically separated pork and/or chicken by-products? Peter Mohideen tries his hand at dumpster diving, for those
nights when both your cupboard and wallet are bare. With only a modest investment in a sturdy pair of boots, you'll never go hungry again. And ﬁnally, Moe Abbas recounts his woes in trying to feed a special friend with a severe nut
allergy. Sure, peanuts might be delicious to you, but to others they taste like salty death. Welcome to the Food & Drink issue of the newsmagazine. When you ﬁnish reading it, wrap some ﬁsh with it or use it to start a hobostyle cooking ﬁre, will you?
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the newsmagazine Editor-in-Chief Helene Goderis
Features & Podcast Editor Diana Wilson
Illustrations Editor Melinda Mortillaro
Contributors: Moe Abbas, Jeff Bafaro, Tim Clarke, Natalie Rae Dubois, Dan Epstein, James Hewitt, Joe Howell, Peter Mohideen All U of T community members, including students, staff and faculty, are encouraged to contribute to the newsmagazine.
the newsmagazine is U of T’s independent monthly magazine, published by Planet Publications Inc., a non-proﬁt corporation.
the newspaper 1 Spadina Crescent, Suite 245 Toronto, ON M5S 1A1 Editorial: 416-593-1552 email@example.com www.thenewspaper.ca firstname.lastname@example.org
Campus food guide
Campus foodie experience There are two things Dinner with 12 Strangers Good Food Box Sky Garden that most would agree Dinner with 12 Strangers is an For students living off campus We have all heard about the reare essential to the hu- opportunity for students and who can no longer rely on the cent boon of rooftop gardens, man experience: food alumni to gather for a free meal good ol' residence meal plan, and now thanks to a group of and a sense of commu- generously hosted by, as the consider picking up a Good volunteer U of T Engineering nity. University of To- name suggests, a stranger - ei- Food Box. The boxes are packed grad students we can add U of ronto students are for- ther a U of T alumnus or faculty with as much local produce as T’s “Sky Garden” to the rapidly tunate enough to have member. The aim is for students the season will allow, and can growing list. Now in its second multiple avenues by from various programs, colleg- be picked up at U of T's Centre year of operation, the garden has which to both nourish es, and residences to commune for Women and Trans People. grown considerably thanks to a their bodies and make with alumni and faculty mem- Prices for the Good Food Boxes grant from Live Green Toronto social connections. bers over a meal. The program vary, starting at $12 for single and boasts one of the biggest Just a few of the op- is gaining popularity and is look- students or small households yields of any rooftop garden in tions provided by the ing for more individuals to host or $17 for larger households. all of Toronto. Using local, orU of T are Dinner with at their expense at a location of The small boxes are sumptuous 12 Strangers, the Sky their choice. Interested students enough to get some friends toGarden, and the Good can sign up to be placed on the gether and make a week's worth Food Box. invitation list and potential of freezable meals. Contact The hosts will ﬁnd a "Guide to Hosting" that provides valuable information about this stimulating evening. Interested? Investigate further at: alumni.utoronto.ca/ dinnerwith12.
Centre for Women and Trans People at staff.womenscentre@ utoronto.ca or (416) 978-8201 if you have any questions or to arrange a GFB pick-up at U of T.
ganic sourced seeds, the garden has a projected yield in excess of 100 kilos which is used by its volunteers and by the community at large. Run by students and providing produce for the university (used by Hot Yam at the international student centre), the "Sky Garden" allows for no ambiguity: the community knows exactly where its food came from. For more info on the Sky Garden visit http;//uas.sa.utoronto.ca/
by Melinda Mortillaro & Jeff Bafaro
Fighting anaphylaxia: a hard nut to crack
by Moe Abbas
yada yada. Is Nat a hopeless neurotic, or am I just a slob who needs a crash course in domestic cleanliness? Well, both. Natalie is someone who cringes if I crinkle a wrinkle-free bed, while brave souls who venture into my kitchen often ﬁnd ecosystems growing in my sink. That being said, Nat’s microscopic vigilance is justiﬁed in light of her sixty percent chance of having an anaphylactic reaction. And that vigilance is an antidote to CRUDD, for which I have no excuse other than apathy. My dirt detox is not the only blessing in disguise: since McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Domino’s Pizza, and Panago Pizza are the only restaurants with peanutfree guarantees, Natalie and I are inclined to eat at home - a much PETER MOHIDEEN
Picture this: a guy comes home and plants a wet one on his girlfriend. Minutes later, when her blood vessels leak, blood pressure drops, and she goes cold, he stabs her with a needle, hoping that the jolt of adrenaline jerks her away from a coma or the pearly gates of Heaven. No, the girl didn’t overdose on heroin and the guy isn’t John Travolta. According to the Anaphylaxis Association of Canada, at least half of you know someone who is among the estimated 600,000 Canadians that risk having a serious anaphylactic allergic reaction, the causes of which range from peanuts to bee stings. Soon after we started dating, peanut-free Natalie taught me how to use the needle, called the epinephrine auto-injector, so I wouldn’t end up becoming the doltish douche with the kiss of death. But the threat of saliva-swapping pales in comparison to the allergen mineﬁelds of tainted surfaces - and my minelaying habits are dying harder than Hans Gruber. Here’s a day in the life of Bumbling Idiot Moe: Upon arriving at Natalie’s I make a beeline for the bathroom to wash my hands with soap, Nat’s only line of defense because hand-sanitizers don’t kill peanut protein. And as for that kiss? After Nat, with knee-jerk puckered lips, cranes her neck toward me, she’ll remember to ask, “can I kiss you?”
Feeling guilty for robbing her spontaneity, I’m back in the washroom to decontaminate my mouth, following these words of wisdom: Soap before toothpaste, a fairer aftertaste. But like a dyslexic with words, I’ll accidentally reverse the order, brushing yet again to remove the bitterness of Dove. When handling food I
often forget to wash my hands only after, not before, opening a box, bag, or carton. At grocery stores, Nat and I still squabble tenderly over what I should and shouldn’t buy. And since I suffer from Chronic Unsanitary Dwelling Disorder (CRUDD), which mainly targets males of all colours and creed, I get blasted for peppering my apartment with granola wrappers that may have contained peanuts or were processed in a facility that yada
healthier and wallet-friendly alternative. When too lazy to cook, we indulge by eating take-out and watching HBO on her bed a ritual far more endearing than dining at some over-priced restaurant could ever be. Besides, Idris Elba and Michael C. Hall for company trump noisy patrons and smarmy servers any day. Ironically, the real silver lining is the challenge of changing deep-seated habits. Breathing the air of vigilance that permeates Nat’s world serves to remind me of how important mindfulness is, especially in today’s techno-spastic environments. It calls to mind a quote by Shunryu Suzuki: “it is the readiness of the mind that is wisdom.” Me? Wiser? She’s a keeper.
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Urban foraging: Exploring alternative food gathering in the city
Hoods in the woods I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. Having heard from newsmagazine editor Helene that the latest issue would be dedicated to food and drink, and having recently read Walden (okay, several pages of it), it seemed a great idea to head as far into nature as the TTC would take me. There, I’d be self-sufﬁcient for the day, subsisting only on whatever I managed to hunt or gather with my own hands, and recount the adventure here, alongside urbane yet soulless tales of cafes and bistros. I settled on the Rouge Valley. Helene came with to keep the venture honest, and for good reason. I am a man of constant hunger—if my plane were crashing in the mountains like in Alive, I’d probably be chewing the arm of my seatmate before we even hit the ground. In order to prevent such a situation, we’d need some supplies. First, we acquired an ancient book of edible plants in the Americas, which informed us that “young people in blue jeans who were on limited budgets revived the culinary art of the roadside.” Then we picked up a knife and a ﬁshing rod at a Canadian Tire, where an old man whispered to us that spraying artiﬁcial minnows with WD40 would really get the ﬁsh a-bitin’. I love folksy wisdom, but unfortunately ﬁlling a river with engine grease didn’t quite seem in the spirit of what we were going for here. Helene was convinced that corn would reel them in, and so we justiﬁed the tin can of it we bought by resolving to rustically bash it open with a rock. It’s how Natural Man would have done it. By now, it was midday. While we would surely be feasting on nature’s bounty soon enough, we had a long trip ahead of us through the wilds of Scarberia, and our stomaches were already growling. Okay, some fruit ‘n’ nuts trail mix bars would carefully simulate the smorgasbord we’d later scavenge. Of course, we’d have to wash them down with something. I’d recently heard that elephants in Africa will eat the fermented fruit of the murula tree, in order to get a buzz going. This posed a variety of questions—do blotto elephants see pink humans? Elephants supposedly never forget, but what about when they’re black-out drunk? And could this even happen? Their tolerance must be huge. Truly, pachyderms are the frat
By Joe Howell September 7, 2010
boys of the savannah... but I digest. We weren’t nearly as clever or industrious as those nobel beasts, but since we theoretically could get sauced in nature it didn’t seem like cheating to pack a bottle of Ontario white wine. There was just the small matter of the ﬁve-alarm hangover I was nursing from the previous night’s marula fruit. Helene begrudgingly tolerated the pregame Gatorade and chicken paninis I insisted were crucial to my survival (did Thoreau set out for Walden pond hungry? I think not), but drew the line at the box of Oreo Sippers I tried to pack for later. “But they’re new!,” I argued in defence of the strawshaped cookies. “And they’ll go great with pinot grigio.” The Sippers were left behind, and the enormity of the sacriﬁces I’d have to make this day suddenly hit me. A couple subways, a bus, a hotair balloon, and a donkey down a cliff later, we were at the Glen Eagles Vista, overlooking the valley. We plunged into the untamed wilds, and found a welcome mat in the undergrowth. Clearly, we were expected for dinner. We began gathering things our book had promised would make for good eating. Yarrow would steep some decent tea, so we ﬁlled my now-empty Gatorade bottle with it. Crabapples would be nice barbequed, despite their position as the grouchiest of fruits. Emboldened by our successful foraging, we became even more ambitious: these elderberries would go great with spare crabapples in a jam! We could make lousy candy from pine trees! Every darn shoot and leave out here was delicious! It turns out that when you ﬁrst become a hotshot nature man, it’s easy to get carried away. Much of the ﬂora takes extensive preparation, and the blazing sun coupled with a crippling Red Bull shortage can make you lose sight of this. To make matters worse, half of the plants out there are toxic. That’s right, friends: nature hates us. As if the unrelenting typhoons and tidal waves weren’t enough, nature has ﬁlled her hills and dales with poison. While some sumac makes for a drink that “tastes like pink lemonade” (or so says our book), the wily poison sumac is “more virulent than poison ivy.” And
while wild cherries sound pretty delicious, their seeds contain cyanide. Cyanide! I made a note that if we saw any, I could make some progress pruning my Enemies List. Learning this fact about cherries scared me off foliage for a bit, so we left the hill and made our way to the river. It was quite a hike along the side of the road, but no cars would pick us up even though we were white and sober. It might have been the long knife Helene had demurely placed in her back pocket, business-end up. We ﬁnally made it to one of the Tywn Rivers (I can’t tell ‘em apart) and cracking open the vino, set about catching some ﬁsh to go with the crabapples. Wouldn’t you know, though— I drank on a rock in the water for over an hour, making as little noise as possible, shouting only when absolutely necessary, and I didn’t see one ﬁsh bigger than a minnow. No amount of industrial lubricant would have helped us catch supper here, because there was none to be had. We did see some crayﬁsh scooting about, and Helene plunged in, catching one with her bare hands. She insisted the crawdaddy would be amazing fried in butter, but I wanted nothing to do with it, because I am not a barbarian. She let it go. Now the sun was going down, and it was time to admit that we had nothing. I bit into a crabapple, and my eyes began watering. Nature had failed us. The earth had not provided for us, and in the waning light I could see that Stalin was right in scorching it. Night had long since fallen by the time we made it back to the bus stop, and more importantly, its adjacent gas station. Inside we bought some Doritios® Late Night® All Nighter Cheeseburger® Flavored Tortilla Chips, and as I enjoyed the complex symphony of artiﬁcially simulated ﬂavours, I thought “look what man hath wrought. Back at home, my roommate saw my ﬁshing rod and asked what I caught. Upon hearing that we didn’t even spot any ﬁsh, Stevie said “welcome to the 21st century, bro.” You know what, though? I’m okay with that. The 21st century has brought with it bacon gumballs, Le Whif “whiffable chocolate powder,” and edible metallic spray paint, for giving your steaks that Midas touch. If declining ﬁsh populations are the price we must pay for not getting poisoned in the woods, nature can shove it.
Food & Drink issue
The case for urban foraging The locavore movement has gained serious momentum over the past few years, and for good reason: eating locally-grown produce is supposedly more environmentally sustainable than eating produce transported across great distances (and of course the food arrives fresher). But that sustainability equation isn’t perfect or easy to calculate, considering that the energy expended in transporting produce pales in comparison to the energy required to actually grow that food. Which means the locavore system is imperfect. Enter urban foraging. There’s a case to be made for foraging – the gathering of edible wild plants found in abundant supply on our city streets (see sidebar for some good campus pickings). While foraging won’t realistically fulﬁll your daily caloric requirements, it’s a hobby that can supplement an environmentally-conscientious diet. Foraging is the least obtrusive food system – you don’t need to allocate land for planting, wild plants don’t require any deliberate tending, and the growth process necessitates no extra energy. But most importantly, foraging is a way to reign in our bloated existence. Somewhere along the line, egged on by technological progress, people became enamored with the “convenience” of being far removed from the means of producing their own food. A look at obesity statistics belies the convenience of our food system. We’re at a juncture where the realization has sunk in that more so than being convenient, our system is unsustainable. It’s important now to have a basic knowledge of native edible plant species as we reach the nadir of sustainability. There’s a clarity and fulﬁllment that come with working to attain your meager ﬁxings. A good way to enter foraging as a hobby is to get a ﬁeld guide to edible wild plants (may I recommend Lee Allen Peterson’s Edible Wild Plants as a great regional resource?). Take a look at our suggestions for plants found around campus and your neighbourhood – it’ll give you a taste for foraging.
By Helene Goderis the newsmagazine
...ON 30 DOLLARS A DAY open at 4 a.m. they would have enough cheese puffs and cola to last until our next OSAP check. In the parking lot at midnight we found the most formidable dumpster we have ever seen in our young lives. It was like a three-story tank, and though completely sealed, the smell was overpowering. Readers, I tell you frankly, we lost heart. Minutes later at New Gen we had eaten an unagi dragon roll and were waiting for baconwrapped scallops. Our resolve strengthened and our wallets thirty dollars lighter, we decided to give it another go. Regretta-
We here at the newspaper will go to any length to bring you news you can use. After our liquor budget climbed into the four-digit range we had to, like many students, consider some ways of saving money. Now the last time we tried to save money on food we had an anxiety attack that only temporarily abated after eating fois gras at La Palette, but this time the situation was desperate. Our accountant suggested we rummage in the trash until we found something that was unopened and wasn’t moving. We decided to give it a try. We went to the Metro ﬁrst, reasoning that as the largest grocery store on the block that’s
bly, there is no dumpster behind the Loblaw’s - we found that out the hard way. After wandering around in circles for what seemed like hours, we found ourselves in the alley behind the Green Room, walking into what looked like a drug deal. After asking if they knew where the Superfresh dumpster hid, there was a moment of silence. “Why are you looking for dumpsters?” came the slack-jawed response. “Isn’t it rude to answer a question with a question?’ we improvised, before scampering away. At the Fresh Mart we found what we had been looking for all along: a broken chain and inside, all the riches of a wasteful grocery store. Two backs of Romaine lettuce, brown and wilted at the edges but still somewhat green at heart. A carrot in need of heavy peeling. A slightly bruised apple. An eggplant that, already being purple, was hard to ﬁnd fault with. We stopped, satisﬁed that we had remained solvent for another day, and then went home to pour ourselves a couple of tall Grey Goose and Perriers. We deserved them.
By Peter Mohideen
How to dive and thrive The law Is scrounging in someone else’s garbage illegal? Well, assuming you didn’t break into their house to do so, it depends. As Cory Doctorow wrote in Wired over a decade ago (presumably before he was wealthy and famous), “Trash is a strange legal gray zone in Canada. The Trespass to Property Act - a hunk of legislation dating back to the British North America Act of 1867 - grants property owners and their rent-a-cops the power to ban anyone from the premises, for any reason, forever. The catch is, they have to actually ask you to leave - serve you with a notice prohibiting entry - then you have to return for it to be trespassing... So as long as we don’t make a mess - that would be littering - we’re on the warm and fuzzy side of the law.” That being said, don’t expect grocery stores to put out a welcome mat in front of their tasty, tasty trash. If you go during business hours, you’ll almost certainly be asked to leave, as watching someone root through garbage might make customers feel bad about buying that Fiji water. Go at night, and be discrete.
FORAGING FIELD GUIDE A beginner’s guide to foraging on campus Wild sorrel
Wild sorrel resembles clover, but you can tell by its three heartshaped leaves and compound stem that this plant has a delicious, sour taste.
The day lily is found all over campus, and is a versatile wild plant that can be enjoyed all seasons. Early in spring, add young shoots to salads. Steam young shoots and flowerbuds and enjoy on their own. Prepare the day lily’s white tubers like corn throughout the season.
Commonly known as Queen Anne’s Lace, the first year root of wild carrot is delicious when boiled like your garden-variety carrots. CAUTION: Be sure to pick plants with hairy stalks. Hairless leafstalks belong to the Poison Hemlock plant, which may cause paralysis/death if consumed.
Add its leaves to salad, or steep the leaves in hot water and then chill to make a sour, cold tea.
September 7, 2010
Food & Drink issue
The gear It might sound obvious to bring some basic safety equipment, but our intrepid reporters overlooked this in their excitement to wade through other people’s refuse. Said one shame-
faced newspaper staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity, “there are sinkholes in parts of the trash, so bring boots. Wear clothing you don’t mind having to bleach afterwards. And gloves. My lord, please bring proper gloves.” Also consider a head-mounted ﬂashlight, and a car or cart in case you unexpectedly ﬁnd something big you suddenly can’t live without. The people Don’t do this alone – bring along an open-minded friend that’ll have your back if shit goes down. Dumpsters apparently attract the fringes of society, as our secretive staffer can attest: “Half the dumpsites contained rapscallions, so be prepared to deal with hoodlums. There were druggies rolling stuff on one of the dumpsters, and at another a guy named Lopez said he had been thinking of robbing us, until he realized we must have even less them him. In the end he offered us bus fare. At one bin we drew a crowd of ﬁve or six people to watch, some of whom even ended up climbing in too.” Good luck with the garbagio, faithful readers! If you ﬁnd any food, please bring it summarily to the newspaper ofﬁces so we can wet our beaks on that action.
By Joe Howell the newsmagazine
Big game theory: local grazing (continued from page 8
tomato is picked, this molecule is volatile and it starts to evaporate out of the tomato. So a day, two days after that tomato is picked it doesn’t taste as fresh. It’s like the fresher something is, the better it tastes. And as soon as that clicked in me I started becoming more interested in [the farms] the food was coming from, and the more I thought about food the more apparent it became that what the chef does with the food is very important but the initial product, the base medium is tantamount. You can give a good chef really crappy food and at best he’ll be able to cover it up. But the best food starts with the best product and it’s really easy to make something taste good if you’re starting with amazing product. tn: I understand that you’ve been able to create something of a new direction for the menu at La Palette at this new location here on Queen St. Could you describe the philosophy with which you approached this menu and some of the things on the menu that you’re really proud of? BK: My philosophy when it comes to cooking food is to start with incredible ingredients and prepare them with care and a strong technical insight. I’m all about technique. When I create recipes I think about what’s happening with the food on a molecular level so that I can best design recipes to create the most ideal outcome. Cooking is like a science project - there are so many variables to consider. I’ve taken the menu in a direction that’s hard to explain; it may look very similar to the menu we had ﬁve or ten years ago, but it’s the way that we go about putting the food on the plate that’s changing, the way that we cook that’s changing.
BK: How the animals live is tantamount to the ﬁnal product. What I look for in a farm is somewhere where the animals have lots of room to run around. The more an animal moves, the better its life is, and there’s a correlation between muscle activity in mammals and ﬂavour precursors and darkness in the ﬂesh itself. That’s why veal is really pale and kind of bland tasting compared to a well-aged cow. That’s why a chicken’s breast is white and a chicken’s leg is dark. The more an animal uses its muscle, the more ﬂavour builds up in it. I love caribou; it’s one of my favourite meats. I get mine from Nunavut. Its meat is almost black, it’s a very dark purple colour, and it’s because caribou is a migratory species. They’re always running so there’s all this action, and that action eventually gets turned in to colour and ﬂavour. Another thing I look for in a good farm is if they feed the animals well. I work with a man who connects me with all these artisanal local farms from around Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. He’s my in-between man; he tells me what the animals are being fed. I get iron-aged pork from Perth County, and these animals are fed acorns, walnuts, and cream. What an animal eats eventually determines its ﬂavour. If you eat cows that fed on crappy corn mash, the ﬂavour
tn: It’s well known that La Palette is a sustainable business. There’s debate as to whether or not eating meat is sustainable. Is there a sustainable and ethical way to eat meat? BK: There’s a lot of land that is ﬂat and very receptive to growing grain and other crop. But there’s also a lot of land, especially in northern Ontario, that is rocky, and hilly, and doesn’t really work well with a tractor. So the best way to get energy from that land is by growing grass and having cows eat that grass and convert it into meat and milk, and then having chickens that move in where the cows once were, and eat the grubs that were living in the cow patties and spreading the cow patties around, growing more grass, and rotating the animals throughout your pasture. There’s a really amazing farm in the states called Polyface farms in which the farmer has about 400 acres of land, which he’s divided up in to 13 zones. He calls himself a grass farmer, because when you’re growing grass, the grass wants to maintain an equilibrium with its root structure. So it’ll grow really quickly when it’s short (clipped or eaten down), so it can get back to the same length as its roots really fast within a week. If you cows come in and eat it down, you’re growing far more grass. And then he does what I was just talking about, he has his chickens come in after the cows work on one area of the land and eat the grubs. And since they have such a high-protein diet, the eggs - the egg yolk themselves - have this almost red colour. They stand up in the pan, they have so much more protein. To get back to the point of whether it’s okay to eat meat - there’s nothing inherently morally wrong with eating meat. It depends on where the meat comes from and how the meat lives. If it comes from a good farm that has good practices, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I think it can be very sustainable. I think there’s a lot of land out there that can be brought to its fullest potential.
tn: Describe some of those techniques, for instance with the wild boar chop. BK: One important thing is where I’m getting that boar chop from. I deal with small, local farms, where I know the animals are being treated with the utmost care and respect, and where the slaughtering practices are humane and decent. When I get that meat, it’s my turn to treat it with care. I don’t portion any meat until it’s ordered, so it’s fresh as possible. It may take a little bit longer, but if you get a steak here, if you get a wild boar chop here, it was literally cut minutes before it was cooked. Then the next thing in the process is seasoning it properly, not over-salting, it not under-salting it, making sure that the meat surface has been padded dry. If you put meat that hasn’t been padded dry in a really hot pan, it doesn’t matter how hot the pan is or how much butter you have in it, the ﬁrst thing that’s gonna happen is water on the surface of the meat is going to evaporate. So instead of caramelizing the meat, instead of getting it crispy, you’re essentially steaming it. The next thing is cooking it properly - I usually recommend rare to medium rare for a lot of our leaner cuts of meat. For a really fatty wild boar rib chop, I might go medium rare to medium to break down some of the connective tissue and fat. The next step in the process is pairing it with things that don’t diminish the meat, but accentuate it, and don’t contrast too heavily, but give it some contrast. Choosing accoutrements is part of that respect. tn: Let’s go in to what you described ﬁrst, the types of farms that you buy from. What makes a good farm for the meat that you buy?
September 7, 2010
will be very one-dimensional. If you eat the meat from a cow that was raised on a variety of grasses and ﬂowers and herbs, you will taste it in its meat. [It’s the same with cheese, because] the microbes present in their milk convert the remnants of those original plants into all-new aromatic compounds. If the diet is one-dimensional and ﬂat, there’s not a lot of opportunity for change or adaptation in the meat or in the milk. When you’re aging a steak, there’s enzymes and microbes that live in the meat and they convert the fat and the proteins into amino acids and soluble aromatic compounds, and the more originality and variety in the original diet, the more potential for ﬂavour. The two main things are activity and diet - how much the animal can live how it wants to live and eat what it wants to eat. Cows don’t naturally eat corn. If you give a cow a big plot of grass and clover and a pile of number two corn mash, it’s going to eat the grass and clover. But there’s such an overabundance of cheap corn that it’s much more proﬁtable to have cows eat corn. Because cows didn’t evolve eating corn, they have stomachs that aren’t receptive to corn so they get sick, and we have to give them antibiotics to keep them from getting sick. And you can taste it in the meat - it’s ﬂabby, it’s one dimensional. If you eat meat from a really well-pastured cow, it’s dense, it’s got a greater depth of ﬂavour, and it’s got more character.
The interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.
Food & Drink issue
TV station. Though they ‘weren’t even sure where Concordia was’, they contacted president David Naylor to see if the University of Toronto would be interested in launching a similar project. Jaimungal recalls Naylor’s response: “He said that it would cost way too much money, and that even if they did do it, it wouldn’t get off the ground for three years, and by then I would have graduated.” Curt and Arup were disappointed, but didn’t give up on the idea. After a series of meetings with U of T ofﬁcials, the pair were granted club status, and they went to work re-imagining UTTV as a website. Jaimungal says, “Because we’re so new, the University didn’t want to fund us… we had to prove ourselves. But it’s hard to prove ourselves with no funding.” Undaunted, the two pooled their money, bought some consumer-grade video equipment, and managed to put together their ﬁrst show, UTTV News. The 10 minute-long program, which aims to have a new episode every two weeks, features a pair of students, Charles Nunno and Stephanie Provato as affable and professional-sounding anchors. Though it lacks most of the trappings that make up your average TV news program, such as studio lighting, a teleprompter, and a studio, at ﬁrst glance it appears that UTTV News is working very hard to be taken seriously. It’s when the show cuts away to its special interest pieces that its irreverence reveals itself. Jaimungal himself narrates an animated segment based on U of T research ﬁndings, full of cheeky, conversational tangents including a rant comparing over-pollinated ﬂowers to his under-sexed self. When asked about the uneven tone, he says, “if we presented it as a straight news show, it wouldn’t be fun to watch.”
Curt Jaimungal, a 4th-year math and physics student, has for the last year devoted his days and nights to University of Toronto Television, a ﬂedgling club he founded, which aims to create web-based programming for students. And strangely, he’s completely unable to explain why he’s devoted his life to the project. “Almost every thought goes into this for me,” Jaimungal shrugs, “and I don’t know why.” UTTV’s web programming includes news, a restaurant review show, and a forthcoming sketch comedy called ‘Alive Without Permission’, which looks to be the site’s best shot at going viral. The venture ofﬁcially began last September, but its genesis can be traced back a few years earlier, to when Jaimungal was in his ﬁrst year of studies. It was then that the introverted academic realized that he longed to be a performer. He says, “I really wanted to become a comedian for some reason. I went to Yuk Yuks and did stand-up, and it didn’t go well.” He then decided to channel his love of comedy into a different medium. “I thought maybe I could write for sitcoms, and so I wrote something, sent it to Comedy Central, and they said that it ‘wasn’t for us right now’.” He laughs, “It wasn’t for anyone; it was really stupid.” It was around this time that he met computer science student Arup Ghose. Recalling their earliest conversation, Ghose says, “Curt hadn’t attended class for a long time, and he needed notes.” The two became friends, and Curt’s newfound interest in ﬁlm wore off on Arup. Jaimungal says, “I begged him to go to a ﬁlm workshop with me because I didn’t want to go by myself.” One night in conversation over Chinese food, Arup mentioned that Concordia had its own cable
September 7, 2010
Campus TV proves the internet isn’t just for porn
The program caught the eye of Naylor, who sent an email to say he was impressed with the group’s gumption. Jaimungal says, “I took the opportunity to email him back to ask for a very small amount of money. He gave us what we asked for.” UTTV now has a small executive staff in addition to Curt and Arup, and though their funds are ‘almost depleted’, they intend to fundraise to keep the site going into the coming semester. Ghose says that though both he and Jaimungal are on-track to graduate within the next year, he hopes that this could be the start of a new campus tradition that carries on without them. “There
Food & Drink issue
is no real ﬁlming community at U of T, so we’re trying to make a hub for it.” However, it has recently come to their attention that U of T at Mississauga boasts a very similar website, unsurprisingly called UTMTV, which bears no afﬁliation to UTTV. “We don’t consider them a threat, but I don’t want to dis them,” Jaimungal says. When asked if the two sites might ever form an alliance, he dismisses the idea, but says, “we’ll probably be making fun of them a lot [in our programming].” Though his time at this school is nearly over, Jaimungal’s personal goals are lofty. “What I hope
to accomplish, in the next two months, is to be the best University TV station that exists,” he says. “And I think that’s achievable.” His aspirations may seem Quixotic, but it’s clear that Curt Jaimungal means it. His dedication is real, and he’s got the grades to prove it. “I’ve sacriﬁced my schoolwork and I’ve failed courses for this,” he says. “I’m not getting paid, I know there’s no reason I’m passionate about it, but that’s just the way it is.”
by Tim Clarke the newsmagazine
September 7, 2010
BIG GAME THEORY It was a late night back in March that I ran in to Brook Kavanagh at a party in Chinatown. I knew that he was the head chef at Kensington Market’s amazing little French bistro, La Palette, and was inebriated enough to not be shy about asking him some questions. As I queried him about how things were going at the restaurant, the conversation quickly turned to the subject of meat. La Palette serves all types of farmed and game meats, from choice cuts of beef to exotic Ontario venison and wild boar. They also serve horse, alone or paired with duck in a dish called “Quack ‘N’ Track.” He told me about the new location that they were about to open on Queen Street near Bathurst, and that they were planning on serving a new plate of horse there. The dish, called Cheval, is described on the menu as “Hay-roasted Horse tenderloin (Québec) served rare to medium-rare w/ herbed, whole toasted oat ‘risotto,’ rainbow heirloom carrots and a rosemary demiglace.” Brook described the dish as a
ribs and bison rib eye. I asked him questions about where meat comes from and what gives meat the best quality. La Palette is well known for being a green business, and almost everything they serve is about as local as it can be. They were recently proﬁled in The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, in which writer Joshua Knelman describes Brook and La Palette’s owner, Shamez Amiani, riding their bikes to organic markets and ﬁlling their carts with produce.
tribute to the animal being eaten, saying that it is always preferable to serve an animal with what the creature itself ate. This gave me an initial idea about just how passionate he is about meat. I asked him more general questions about how meat is raised and farmed, but as in
most drunken conversations, we drifted on to other topics. Weeks later I popped by the new location after it opened to ask Brook a few more questions. What transpired in a few more visits lead to the interview that we are printing for you here (the
audio is also available for download at thenewspaper.ca). The interview focuses on a few of the dishes on the menu at the new location of La Palette on Queen Street, including wild boar side
the newspaper: Would you say that you ﬁrst became interested in the process of farming when you came to La Palette? Brook Kavanagh: The more I started to think about food the more I thought about where food came from. As a chef I want to put the best food on the table possible and when I was 17, my friend’s father was a chef, and he was telling me about the molecule in food that’s comparable to MSG. As soon as a
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by Dan Epstein