Category Archives: 2018

In appreciation of those who cook

By Arlene Bishop to her partner, Yawd Sylvester, formerly the chef at Toronto’s Lula Lounge.

Like you I’ve read articles on the inequality of household jobs but the job of making dinner has to be the most unbalanced gig in a household. The job of ‘making dinner’ is misleading because it actually contains a series of tasks: organizing, planning, shopping, stocking, prepping, cooking, preserving, storing, cleaning, and the earning required before any of it, and each one taking mental and physical energy, creativity, and time.

Granted, in this house our meals are made by a nurturing, thoughtful, creative multi-talented actual chef, but the tasks are the same from household to household, especially if anyone has special dietary needs.

In our house, Yawd makes at least two meals (gluten-free veggie for me and healthy teenager-friendly for the giant teen) and he does it on a very modest budget. Our fridge is always ready to fuel. For example, right now there are fixins’ prepped so that it would take me no more than 90 seconds to make myself a beautiful salad for lunch.

That 90 seconds is actually the point I’m trying to get to: because Yawd has taken on the role of running the kitchen, I have more time in my day to tend to other things like my creative career. And it’s not just a little time – a substantial span of continuous time where I’m free to start and complete tasks. It’s huge.

Anyone who works at home doing creative work knows how important it is to be able to think and work something through. It means I can plan, batch, compile, edit, render, upload, tag, promote, research, write, edit, layout, download, upgrade, administrate….so many music business tasks that are made manageable only by being able to sit with them from start to finish.

This is new for me. When I became a mother my creative work got carved into 20-minute batches, sometimes longer but seldom more than two distracted, exhausted hours.

Now there are days when I can do what I need to do and a healthy dinner magically appears. What’s my point?

My point it is that whoever has a person in their life that manages meals from day-to-day has an advantage to further their career and earning stream.

They have more creative time. More leisure time. More time in their day. More control over meeting their deadlines. Yes, I also do the shopping, cleaning, and organization, and I have jobs in the house that are also time and energy consuming, but I’ve noticed that the heavy lifting of making the meals is a job that is under-valued and misrepresented. It’s a big time sucker. I’m grateful. I’m lucky. I don’t want to take that for granted.

Thank you, Yawd.

Peterborough Commercial Produce Reseller’s Market

@PTBO_SatMarket an ersatz (the polite term for fake) “farmer’s market” in Peterborough, On, recently featured in a @cbcmarketplace expose for falsely marketing commercial produce as locally farm grown. Rather than fix this, they’re threatening seven local farmers & artisanal producers with expulsion from the market, as of January 8, 2018. 

One would think that the market would be aghast at the duplicity of the reselling vendors, but in fact, this practice is not only supported, but considered desirable. The goal is to present the market as fully stocked with farm produce even when most local farms would have little or no product left.

The market owners are using a tautological argument to obscure the general understanding of what a traditional farmer’s market represents. “All vegetables are grown in farms” “All produce is farmed”. Effectively, that argument leads to the assertion that any supermarket is also a farmer’s market.

This is an appalling practice. Farmer’s markets are a vital link to more than merely food. Seeing the ebb and flow of produce, becoming accustomed to natural availability, puts us closer to an understanding of how the world creates our sustenance.

Obviously, the consumers are also being taken advantage of.

Worse still, the fake farmers sell their produce for the same price as that available from local farmers, with none of the overhead or risk…effectively stealing from the pockets of both vendors and consumers. Literally stealing the reputation and ineffable contribution of farmers and wearing it like a sheepskin on a wolf.

The market’s board of directors are having a special meeting on Jan. 8 to vote on whether to dismiss Circle Organic, Otonabee Apiary, Necessitea Elixir, Chef Marshall, Finest Gourmet Fudge,
Ashburnham Farm Gaelic Garlic, and McLean Berry Farm, all selling items either grown, or made by them, locally.

*Update* This CBC article, published on May 5, 2018, details advances in the Peterborough Resellers Market case: 

…With spring taking grip across Canada, farmers markets are returning to public spaces. But five agricultural producers have been kicked out of one of Ontario’s largest markets after speaking out about other vendors masquerading as growers of all the produce they sell.

Meanwhile, there is no indication that vendors who were exposed as misleading consumers faced any sanctions. They told CBC News that they will be returning to the market this season… (more)

To read more on this topic, click on this link for the Peterborough Examiner, which links to other articles by the paper on this issue.