When in doubt, DIY


Food crafting gets me really excited.

So the idea of meeting with a number of other people interested in food crafts pretty much kept me energized during the Craftcation conference weekend during which I:


-         Made pie crust (and got over pie crust misconceptions) with Evan Kleiman.

Evan Kleiman making hand pies


-         Watched Heather, the OC Cheese Maker strain out the whey and pull the curds for 30 minute mozzarella.



-         Spooned brine over cabbage slices to make lacto-fermented sauerkraut with master food preserver and Chef Ernest Miller of the Farmer’s Kitchen. (Let me tell you about the looks we got, walking down the street and cradling jars of fermenting cabbage. It truly was a site to see and made me giggle.)

Ernest Miller of the Farmer's Kitchen

Oh my goodness, I was in good food-loving company at Craftcation!

The idea behind food crafting is to take a simple technique to make simple food and then make it your own by adding in a bit of flavor and personality. Delilah Snell taught a class on jam-making, taking a simple strawberry jam and adding in chamomile and mint to the mix for a nuanced, delectable jam we slathered on our morning toast at breakfast.

Delilah Snell's Jam

Speaking of breakfast, Attune Foods provided a selection of our Erewhon gluten-free cereals along with nut milks and soy milk from our friends at Pacific Natural Foods as an allergy-friendly food option for breakfast. I enjoyed getting to watch conference attendees top their morning yogurt with cereal or fill a bowl. We also included a box of Uncle Sam in attendee bags and attune bars.

Erewhon and Pacific Breakfast Set-Up

We learned about what it takes to raise chickens from Justine Abbitt. This completely got my interest in wanting to raise chickens more piqued than before as we talked about tending and taking care of chickens. I’m not sure what my landlord in San Francisco might say…

Aida Mollenkamp showing us how to make gluten free socca

One day, we made gluten free Socca with wilted Swiss chard, currants and nuts along with sauteed mushrooms and parsley under the fun guiding presence of Aida Mollenkamp before partaking of what we cooked as lunch. That was a day of feasting. Our lunch also consisted of a fennel slaw, smashed peas and mint with ricotta and roasted asparagus drizzled with balsamic. One of the participants shared that she and her husband eat a lot of fast food and I appreciated getting to see her enjoy with relish a second helping of vegetables that she helped prep and cook.

gluten free socca

Set up by Nicole Stevenson and Delilah Snell, Craftcation held several different kinds of tracks of crafting. Embroidery classes sidled up against small business strategy classes. Sewing classes overlapped classes on bookbinding. This creative group of participants and educators made the first Craftcation a success as the final morning’s speed dating session of tabletop experts answered last minute questions on crafting and business before participants headed home.

Sadly, the sauerkraut I started fermenting in the kraut class was emptied out in my hotel room as I could only imagine TSA taking my jar of fermenting cabbage away. The day after I returned from my food crafting adventures, I set up shop with a jar filled with a new batch of brine and cabbage. At time of writing, only one week to go before my kraut is ready.

I hear there is a new Food Craft Institute in Oakland, pointing to the growing movement of people wanting to make their own foods and learning the time honored values of food preservation. Perhaps you’ll see me there in class, but for now, I’m off to go study and practice the recipes laid out in the Ball Blue Book.

Have you ever preserved food before? What’s your favorite food to preserve?




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