365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

T-shirt #234 - Long Sleeve People's Food Co-Op - Making Kimchi

T-shirt #234 - Long Sleeve People's Food Co-Op - Making Kimchi

Greetings. I have been backed up with work. So this was originally published incomplete. No longer.

On Friday, 1311.08, I made Kimchi with my dear friend Chris Dilley. I thought this shirt was appropriate for the Kimchi making as we were doing something food-related, and I might not know Chris Dilley if not for my service on the board of the People's Food Co-op of Kalamazoo, on which I served from 2006-2010. I loved my time on the PFC board. I met many awesome people and made many dear friends. I went to a PFC meeting the day I met (actually re-met, but that's a story for another time) my wife, and the boardies can all attest that I was flying higher than a satellite that day.
Satellite of LOVE.

Even though I left the board in 2010 as my work and family demands had become too much to continue to devote the time needed to the board of directors (let alone my position as vice president), I have remained friends with all of my fellow board workers, especially Mr. Chris Dilley, General Manager of the PFC. I originally wrote about the co-op all the way back in T-shirt #9 and again for my adventures in Hawaiian food in T-shirt #199.

Chris and I share many geeky interests, which I did not realize the first few years we knew each other. I admire Chris enormously. I wrote about him in T-shirt #54. Chris is a super good guy, one of the best I know. As someone with great experience in food and the food industry (and co-ops and communication and Chinese, but it's a long story to explain his brilliance), he had actually sung the praises to me before of fermented and/or pickled vegetables, especially Kimchi, which we both love. Chris originally lent me the book pictured here by Sandor Ellix Katz that describes fermenting many things, including vegetables. I had the book on loan for a few months when Chris needed it back, and I never fermented anything. So I asked for the book and a crock for Christmas last year, and Liesel gifted both to me.

I made my first batch of Kimchi in February or March (I think March) of this year (2013), right before I started this blog. After I ate it all up, I had the note on my to-do-list to make a second batch. And then Chris wrote to me and wanted me to send him the recipe for Kimchi, so that he could make another batch.
Without easy copy facilities, I proposed that we make our batches together. It took us a few weeks to work out the logistics as we are both crazy busy worker bees, but we finally met for Kimchi creation on Friday November eighth.

Chris was kind enough to assemble all the ingredients for our Kimchi, and we gathered at his place while his little boy napped. Since we had so many vegetables, I made A TON MORE Kimchi than Chris as evidenced by our jars in pictures farther below.

I am not going to reproduce the entire recipe here. For the full saga of how to make your own Kimchi, buy Katz's book. I like cabbage AND root vegetables, so my Kimchi is an amalgam of two recipes: Baechu (cabbage) Kimchi and Radish/Root Kimchi, the pride of which is Daikon Radishes. Add cabbage, bok choy, carrots, leeks, garlic, ginger, shallots, and turnips together with a chili pepper paste, liberally mixed with sriracha sauce and other spicy goodness, and yummy pleasures await those who pickle well and often.

I like to pickle.
I like pickles.
I like to be pickled.
Go figure.

Our work in progress. The blurred, action knife photo, left. Carrots in process above. Below, the mixing pot before we loaded the jar and the crock.

I let mine soak for 24 hours in the brine before I mixed in the red peppery paste and sriracha and then put the mix in jars, filled to the top with the brine. I am fermenting for a week in the kitchen and will decide at that time if I want to pour off the brine or leave it in.

If  you do not know what Kimchi is, for shame. It's delicious. It's Korean, though often misrepresented or misunderstood to be Chinese. It's Korean spicy pickles.

In Korea (North and South), Kimchi is a national passion. Though Kimchi is made by the food industry and mass-produced (big groceries will have it), three quarters of all Korean Kimchi eaten in Korea is still made in the home, like in our set-up here.

Chris Dilley's big ole jar of Kimchi is the left picture and my pre-brine, pre-sauce crock is the right picture.

During the making of the Kimchi, we drank a beer and some Fennel Liquor, Chris had made with vodka.

Above, the finished pickles of my labor (like fruits of labor but with pickles). Four quart jars of Kimchi in brine and a hot sauce mixture.

I know it will be amazing. But surely, I will report back.

This is my third and final People's Food Co-Op shirt, unless I buy more. Or receive them as GIFTS. So, you never know...Stay Tuned.

COUNTDOWN TO THE END OF THE YEAR: 131 shirts remaining.

- chris tower - first draft - 1311.10 - 19:54
                     - second draft 1311.11 - 17:15