Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Overheard in the Kitchen: Simon Explains Water Kefir

Simon posing for me with his grape-flavored water kefir.

If you are the major proponent of change in your home (read: troublemaker) and are looking for a way to drag the rest of your household along with you, it makes sense to help them get there the same way you did. Help them try small steps. Watch the steps work. Watch your family members learn to love it. --Dasiy Siskin in Little House in the Suburbs

We all know that kids say the darnedst things. It can be especially fun when they are trying to pass along knowledge that we have taught them; our lessons and explanations, put into peer-kid-speak, can be downright hilarious.

Today two neighbor kids were over playing with Simon. They took a break and raided the fridge. Fridge-raiding is a typical situation--with 3 sons and a daycare, my fridge gets a LOT of action. I was at the table, ostensibly involved with one of the daycare kids as she fashioned a purse out of paper and markers, while I eavesdropped.

S: So have you ever tried kefir? We all drink it. I bet you have never had it. (for the record, our family is still hotly divided on the pronunciation: I say kee-fur, everyone else says keh-fear)

A: What's that?

S: Well, basically, it used to be alive. used to be real, live animals.

A: Wha...animals? (examines the bottle) wow.

S: It's super bubbly...worse than pop. If you open the lid too fast it will explode. (checks friends' faces for shock, as I am sure they are imagining an atomic burst of glass and kefir)

(proceeds to very slowly and carefully press the flip-top lid open)

S: It smells weird, here, smell it. Now let me give you a tip. You have to drink it really slow, or it will be weird. It tastes really good if you sip it.

(gives a dramatic demonstration that I watch from the corner of my eye, smiling with bemusement)

(friend sips it)

S: Okay now drink it really fast. Really, do it! (friend refuses to gulp it down. Simon continues to refill cups, with his funny subtle flourish).

S: So, some flavors are horrible, but I love this red one. (made with grape juice). It's really good.

The boys proceed to finish an entire bottle of grape flavored kefir.


I didn't interfere once, except near the end of the discussion, when I couldn't help but sneak in with my camera. I wanted Simon to share this on his own terms, without getting into a talk about the probiotics that are living (yes, real live animals, I suppose) in the liquid. His version of water kefir was much more interesting, and it got those boys to try something new. It's probably good that he didn't mention the health benefits, for that may have been a deal-breaker--say the word 'healthy', and kids hear 'poison that I must avoid at all costs if humanly possible'. This was just a quick and simple moment for three boys on a snack break, and Simon's moment to enthusiastically share something about his family.

We've been brewing kefir for almost two years, and I love that the kids crave it. Since we don't keep pop in the house, it gives them something interesting (and healthy) to drink. I won't bore the neighbor kids with the details (which I actually find quite fascinating!) of water kefir--yet. :) I'll save it for another day, when a huddle of kids are once again raiding the fridge.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kohlrabi Hotsticks

This has to be one of the simplest ferment recipes ever; perfect for newbies!  It only has 4 ingredients: kohlrabi, water, salt, and red pepper flakes.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Leftover Turkey Nachos

Confession: On Thanksgiving, I don't really love eating turkey.

It's true! Leftovers, though? I am all over those!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Reading Corner-- Two Old Potatoes and Me

Even though the potatoes are harvested, we keep coming back to this book. I think we have read it at least a hundred times! We have enjoyed it before, during, and now after our potato planting experiment--out of the hundreds of books in our shelves, this one just keeps getting chosen. I renewed it so many times from the library, they demanded it back when I ran out of allowed renewals...and then after I returned it, I went right back the next week and checked it out again with a fresh amount of allowed renewals. Is this a sign that perhaps we ought to just own the dang book?

It's such a sweet story about a girl and her dad planting potatoes in the back yard for the first time. The illustrations are colorful and fun, and the story is so completely relatable. From the moment the girl sees curling 'eyes' on a couple old potatoes and says "GROSS!" and her father suggests that no, they are not gross, they may actually grow new potatoes, we were hooked. After all, we had our own similar situation a year ago (click here to see the old potatoes we decided we'd try to plant).

Monday, November 3, 2014


I introduce, with an admittedly contrived pun, my "fermen-troduction" into the world
 of all foods fermented!