The “mother” wriggled, long gooey tendrils spinning aimlessly in the light brown liquid. All the while, the “baby” floated underneath, nestled close to her cool flesh.
he colony of yeast and bacteria moved leisurely throughout the water converting sugar and tea into acetic and lactic acid. Bubbles rose to the top of the liquid, lazily settling under the white cheese cloth. This ghastly creation of Kombucha belonged in between the covers of a book, but there it sat, on our green kitchen counter, next to the bowl of oranges.
This was only one of the many odd food experiments that had been conducted in our small kitchen as I grew up. The pantry was constantly packed with the best health food while small indulgences, were tucked behind the buckwheat noodles and packs of Nori.
The switch to soy milk occurred in 1997. I vaguely remember relinquishing the jars of raw milk in our refrigerator and replacing them with this sad excuse. The cookbook, Recipes for an Ecological Kitchen: Healthy Meals for You and the Planet, claimed the place of honor. Many of the dishes were vegetarian mixing various steamed or raw vegetables with rice or beans. The steel pressure cooker sat on top of the old black stove ready to use at any moment.
In 2004, the Omega® #J8004 Nutrition Center White Juicer was added to the family. Every day it produced drinks like beet, celery and carrot juice which remained in clear Kerr jars scattered throughout the refrigerator. That same year, I celebrated my eighth birthday with homemade whole wheat, honey, and cream cheese fruit tarts. To me, these subtle differences were hardly noticeable. The absence of a white fluffy cake with bright colored frosting was acceptable to my overly developed pallet.
2008 was the butter year. Ever since my mother read the book, Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, butter entered our family food pyramid at the top. Not the store bought kind, but the stuff straight from the cow. Oils were emptied out and recycled— no longer allowing their harmful features to endanger the purity of our food. Olive and coconut oil were the only two allowed to stay, placed at the front of our wood cabinets. Finally, soy milk was cast away--my mother feared the estrogen-like substance it contained.
When I moved into my first apartment one of my house warming gifts was that of a new SCOBY. My own kitchen soon became a place of experimentation. Tinctures stewed away in the cabinets and there was always an abundance of kale. Perched high above, on the top of the refrigerator, the “mother” looked down on us, observing the madness.