The structure is designed to make you stop and think. And as my Russian driver informed me on the ride from the airport, it's about all a visitor like me was permitted to do. Entry to this facility is prohibited for the general public. Which only served to heighten my interest in this mysterious concrete aberration. And so during my three-week stay in Svalbard I was inspired to learn as much as I could about it. This post tells the story of what I learned about the Svalbard Global Seed Bank.
And its story doesn’t end here. The mysterious wakame leads a second life: one in the kitchen, where it has played an incredible role in cooking traditions going back hundreds of years. Wakame and other seaweeds are essential ingredients in dashi, the Japanese stock which forms the basis of many of that nation’s favourite soups and stews. It was seaweed that led researchers to discover the so-called “fifth taste,” umami, which has since been found in many other foods like Parmesan cheese and cured meats.
This post is the first in a series about edible seaweeds. I’ll let you know what I’ve learned from my recent adventures out to the frozen beaches of Newfoundland in search of sea vegetables - and what I’ve done with them back at home to prepare them as ingredients for food.
I’ve translated an excerpt from a classic Finnish cookbook - and it has given me incredible insights into rye bread.
I woke up this morning to something I hadn’t seen since the last winter I spent in St. John's three years ago: a snow day. While looking out my bedroom window in the morning it immediately occurred to me: instead of studying for the next day's statistics exam I could play in the kitchen all day.
You’re right. There’s no logic there. But the term "snow day" is ingrained in people from St. John’s since childhood to mean a day where the seemingly unshakeable concepts of “deadlines” and “school” and “work “ lose all meaning in a glorious white-out of snow.
Bakers apparently, see things a little differently, as is evidenced by Georgetown Bakery staying open today despite the blizzard. (Check out the images of Brian as he made an epic quest this morning to get his ficelle.) I agree with the bakers at Georgetown: baking is a perfect snow storm activity.
This post records some notes and shenanigans from inside a kitchen entombed in snow: how to the get the crumb of rye bread just right, how to check your oven for hot spots, and how to get perfect crust.
I'm Erik, the Burnt Chef. I'm a Finnish-born Newfoundlander living in Norway. I have a passion for cooking and a deep fascination for the culinary history of the North. Simplicity guides my cooking. Time, place, and history guide my storytelling. This is my personal blog about food.