Category Archives: News

Site News: We Have Moved!

Hello, all! You may have noticed there are finally some new posts on this blog! I’m back in Montreal, now, so am starting to contribute to this blog once again.

You may also have noticed the site’s new look. I have moved from WordPress.com to a self-hosted site with WordPress.org. So, please update your bookmarks! I will be reviewing old posts over the next little while to make sure links are working etc., but feel free to let me know if you notice something amiss.

‘Til Later…

Dear Blog (and possible blog readers),

I know that I have been neglecting you lately.  The truth is, this past year has been rather rough for me. After I returned from Paris, I looked for a waitressing or bartending job, but was unsuccessful in spite of 12 years of experience.  I also tried to find clients for the personal chef business I was hoping would take off.  There, too, I was unsuccessful.  I was thus forced to take a cooking job.  Why was a cooking job my last resort, you may ask.  Don’t you like cooking? Well, blog, you’ve obviously forgotten about this post, in which I declare the restaurant industry in Montreal unsustainable.

Anyway…though the job I have allows me to cover my basic expenses, I pay almost half of my net salary in rent (not including hydro, or anything else)  This leaves me in a very precarious situation financially.  If I have unexpected or occasional expenses, there is no room in my budget for them.  There is also no room in my budget for going out to eat once in a while, etc.  On top of this my job is dull, unrewarding, and provides no opportunities to interact with anyone except the other cooks with whom I never really seem to have much in common.

This unlife has left me with a bad taste in my mouth, and I became disillusioned with…well, pretty much everything including writing in you, dear blog.  This experience has also left me ever more bitter and jaded about the restaurant industry.  I’ve pretty much stopped reading the restaurant reviews and such, because…hey, it’s not like I can afford to eat out, or anything.

I went into cooking in hopes of opening up my own restaurant one day.  However, since that goal is not currently within my grasp, and since I’ve always wanted to see more of the world, I’ve decided to dust off my Bachelor’s of English Literature and go teach English as a second language in South Korea.  The abundant opportunities for new culinary experiences (and new experiences in general) will hopefully renew my zest for life (and food, and cooking).  Also, the fact that I’ll be paid a decent wage and will actually be able to start saving money again should take a load off of my shoulders.

I’m not sure if I should start a new blog, or continue on with this one…but there are changes ahead, blog, that much is certain.

Where to Find Fermentation Cultures in Montreal?

Cultures for Health Products Available at Mycoboutique

Good news, readers!  After many hours of fruitless google searching, I have finally stumbled upon a store which sells Tempeh Tempeh Starter and Kefir Grainsspores and Kefir grains:  MycoBoutique.  Both water and milk Kefir grains are available.  I decided to go with the water grains, since I’m interested in doing both dairy and non-dairy ferments, and from what I’ve read it is fairly easy to convert the grains from one medium to another.  The brand they are selling is Cultures for Health. Since the the labels on the products are entirely in English, I’m guessing that selling these products here is not exactly permis, so please, refrain from telling any buddies you may or may not have at the Office about this. Though Mycoboutique’s prices for these products are higher than prices on the Cultures for Health website, when you factor in the exchange rate, shipping cost, and the opportunity to avoid playing russian roulette with customs and ridiculously expensive brokerage fees, I think you’ll find the markup reasonable.

VitalCâlin and Koji

They also carry a product called VitalCâlin which contains a culture of Aspergillus oryzae…which, though it is not being marketed as such, can likely be used to make koji (a necessity if you want to try making miso or sake at home). Though koji is defined on Wikipedia as simply ‘the common name of the fungus Aspergillus oryzae’, a recipe that calls for koji usually refers to rice that has been inoculated with the fungus. A spore starter which consisted of the spores on rice flour, on the other hand, is usually referred to as koji-kin.

VitalCal is made by a Quebec company, Aliments Massawippi who specializes in organic miso. Considering the fact that they’ve been around since 1999, I don’t understand why I’ve never heard of them before! I’ll be on the lookout for their products in the future, though. There’s a list of sales points on their web site for anyone who’s interested…unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to include any stores in Verdun!

Anyway…I’m currently incubating my first batch of Tempeh…I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

Happy fermenting!