New Cultural Engine Website!

Greetings, revolutionaries & lovers of cultural transformation!

We’ve moved our website! We’re now active at: 

This site will remain up as archives. Thank you for your interest in the Cultural Engine!

extracycle pick-up

Next Cook Day, Workshops, & More!

Greetings, friends of fine fare!
In this email you’ll find: 
  • An invitation to our next cook day
    • the CSK is on Facebook
    • Upcoming events schedule
  • Wholesome Desserts recap & recipes 
You are invited to the CSK’s next Faemily Cook Day.  Join us as we explore…
Japanese Cuisine
April 3, 3:33-9:33pm
at the Starship Lollipop (1117 S. 46th St)
We’ll be exploring patterns within & across Japanese food traditions.  With attention to visual grace and an abundance of color, we’ll be building a diverse menu from some basic & inexpensive ingredients that can be found with ease in Philadelphia.  Rice, vegetables, soy, seaweed, soba noodles, and more, will be brought together simply, and keep us well-fed throughout the day, as then be presented as a sumptuous dinner.  If you love Japanese food, simply feel curious about it, or want to add another menu to your peasant-foods-of-the-world repetoire, we hope you’ll join us.

Did you hear? The CSK is now on Facebook! 
The purpose of the group is for our beloved CSK faemily (and those curious about what we do!) to have another way to access information about the CSK & our upcoming events. Please use it to stay in touch, post photos, and encourage each other to come share kitchen time together
If Facebook isn’t your jam, no worries! All the same information will continue to be available on this email list. 
Also be sure to mark these UPCOMING EVENTS on your calendar:
Addiction & Compulsive Eating Support Group/Workshop
Wednesday, April 13, 7:03-9:33pm 
Less of a cooking lesson, more of a skill-share & a growing support network to help each of us who struggle in some way with food addiction find a more easeful & healthy path through.  Addicted to sugar?  Gluten intolerant but can’t stop eating bread?  Got the fast-food blues?  Even if you struggle with drugs or alcohol, and feel curious about food-based harm-reduction strategies, come check it out.  We hope to see you. 
Cook Day (theme TBD – feel free to suggest something 
Sunday, April 24, 3:33-9:33pm 
And finally, a delicious and ‘pattern recipe’-filled recap of our recent Wholesome Desserts Workshop!  
Wholesome Desserts’ are those that will blow your mind & feel great in your body.
We began the workshop by whipping up carrot cake batter. Because this wasn’t just any carrot cake, we also toasted some millet to mix in. The end result is millet suspended throughout the cake, adding ancient grain-goodness and a sublime texture. Rose invented this variation while exploring millet through the writings of cook & author Bert Greene, whose passion for it is inspiring. 
While the cake was in the oven we explored two other simple, but incredibly satisfying desserts. The first is our own version of sachlav (a popular beverage from the Eastern Mediterranean originally sweetened with orchid bulbs). We blend together 1 cup cooked rice, 4 cups water, 3/4 cup tahini, a generous drizzle of honey, and another drizzle of carob molasses to arrive at a sumptuous & filling drink that is great on it’s own or added to coffee or Dandy Blend (to create what we call a ‘Dandy Cap’). 
After savoring our sachlav, we made a rich dessert bowl called Almond Cup. We mixed together almond butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, cinnamon, & vanilla at the workshop, though the general pattern for this dessert is:
nut butter (or whole nuts) + maple or honey (you can stop there and it will be great) + cocoa + yummy spices & extracts. 
With the carrot cake now almost finished baking, we started work on an incredible cane sugar-free meringue frosting. The idea is to beat eggs whites (with a little salt & vanilla) into a froth and then to continue beating while pouring in a thin stream of just-boiling honey. We didn’t quite achieve the desired fluffy consistency, but even our more liquid icing was completely divine poured over the carrot cake. 
We ended our evening well-satiated and knowing that we had treated our spirits & bodies with sweet wholesome deliciousness.
Yours in the Kitchen,
❤ Acorn & Frances Rose

Welcoming *K is for Kitchen* & our *Faemily Table*

Greetings, Food-lovers <3. 
We are so thrilled to introduce our new regenerative enterprise, 
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A few short months ago, we asked ourselves ‘How do we sustain this work that we love, while remaining in integrity with our values? What is our thrivelihood (& how do we find it)?’  
Perhaps it comes as no surprise that our hearts & minds went first to food.  We know that we eat beautifully everyday, and that we love to help others do the same.  We also know that we want to be able to continue offering the CSK in a gift economy, while also gathering in the financial abundance we need to support our lives, works, & dreams. 
Thus, K is for Kitchen was born!  Through the name, we hope to both play with, and offer acknowledgment back to, that which brought us here — namely the CSK, and all of you.  It seems clear to us that K is for Kitchen & the CSK are something like two sides of the same coin, with much of what we do dancing on the growing edge in between.  It is natural then, and perhaps unsurprising, that the mission of K is for Kitchen shares much in common with that of the CSK.  Through both we intend: 
To connect people with a passion for Life, through the shared experience of preparing & enjoying beautifully-sourced, delicious food. 
We intend to offer this connection through many channels, including:
  • Personal chef-ing
  • Cooking instruction
  • Holistic nutrition consultation (& menu planning)
  • Educational dinner parties
  • Food for workshops & events
  • Speaking engagements
  • Buying club organization
  • and something new we’re calling our Faemily Table (which is detailed below).
Your support as we birth K is for Kitchen means so much.  Please … 
Our generosity grows through yours.  Thank you all for being a part of the CSK, and for your ongoing love & support. Without you, none of this would be possible. ❤ .
Meet K is for Kitchen around our Faemily Table!
We invite anyone curious (or already excited!) about our food & our approach, to share together a vibrant nightlife around a delicious table of beautifully-sourced food, and conversation that matters.
How it works
One to two nights a week, we open our dinner table to anyone who arrives — by reservation — to join us for dinner in our Home. Our goal is to share with you the exquisite food experiences that are already seamlessly interwoven in our lives as we cook a delicious, nourishing meal for ourselves, and up to 6 guests. All arrive to a diverse table of mixed faemily, good conversation, and to enjoy a sublime peasant dinner together.
Your investment
We request a sliding-scale donation from each guest of $11-33, to cover the cost of the ingredients and to support our work in the world.

What is this? 

These each are beautiful opportunities to have fun, eat amazing food, bring friends, to enjoy great & often likely surprising company, as well as to invest in regenerative food systems. We look forward to seeing you around our Faemily Table!

When are these?

The first one will be Tuesday, March 22nd from 7:03-9:03.  
And, since we don’t want to overwhelm this CSK e-mail list with our Faemily Table announcements, you’ll need to follow this link to get on our Faemily Table announcement list — (the form takes less than a minute).
News of K is for Kitchen & the Faemily Table almost arrived in our last message to you all.  We decided to send them in two mailings because we thought that these updates are dense enough already 😉 .  
The experience though offers us pause to appreciate the volume & flow of that which is being birthed into the world right now that we feel moved to share with you.  Thank you for sharing the journey with us.  Our hope, truly, is to help make y’all’s journeys all the brighter & more delicious for it.  As always, let us know how we may more effectively do so.
All the love & tasty food,
❤ Acorn & Frances Rose

CSK Bonus Cook Times & the Magic of Fermentation!

CSK Internships / Bonus Cook Times
Do you love cooking with the CSK? Do you want to help provide wholesome, amazing food to your community? Is the idea of going home with delectable food in exchange for your service delightful to you? 
Join us at the Starship (1117 S. 46th St.) on …
THURSDAYS – 3:03pm-5:33pm
to process our weekly donation from the Fair Food Farm Stand
FRIDAYS – 11:33am-3:33pm
to prepare the CSK subscription menu items and continue processing the abundance
Please RSVP to let us know that you intend to join, or are on your way.
Please note also that these bonus cook times will likely NOT occur between March 3-11, nor on Friday, March 18.  
Contact us to be sure. ❤ .
The Magic of Fermentation
At our last CSK evening workshop we gathered together to celebrate the magic of fermented foods! Fermentation is the bio-chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms. Not only does fermentation make possible many of our favourite foods (bread, cheese, beer, coffee …), it also makes our food easier to digest and more nutritious. Eating fermented foods that still contain living bacteria (i.e. have not been cooked) carry these beneficial bacteria to our digestive system, where they help us break down & digest further food.  For more information and recipes, check out Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. 
We explored a diverse menu of offerings, includingdosas (south Indian flat bread), ogi (African fermented millet porridge), labneh (a simple cheese made from yogurt), radish root kimchi (Korean spicy fermented vegetables), brine & whey tonics, kishk (powdered yogurt & bulgur condiment), apple cider vinegar, &sauerkraut (eastern European fermented cabbage). 
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Our menu of ferments. Thank you, Bri, for the gorgeous flowers!
We started out the evening chopping vegetables for kimchi and preparing other ferments, like the labneh pictured below. Labneh is a super easy to make cream cheese. All you have to do is place a colander over a bowl, line the colander with paper towel, and drop in yogurt! This is covered overnight in a cool place. The next day, you’ll see that the whey has all drained into the bowl, and the labneh remains. This can then be seasoned with salt and house spice and enjoyed with almost anything. Don’t forget to save the probiotic living whey you collected -this is delicious in water with a little maple syrup, or in your favourite smoothie. 
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Yogurt on its way to becoming labneh!
As we finished setting up our various ferments, we started cooking up dosas to do some taste tests of ferments that we had made in advance of the workshop (the ones just set up would need hours to months before being ready to eat). We filled our dosas with all sorts of delicious ingredients, most of which were rich with living micro-organisms. Yum!
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Just a few of our subscription items
Blessed be. ❤ .

Journey to Eritrea

Greetings, all. ❤ .
The CSK journeyed to Eritrea, a coastal nation on the Horn of Africa whose cultural & culinary influences are many & varied.  The cuisine is outstanding! It features stewing traditions of East Africa, the diversity & flavors of the East Asian spice trade, and the at least fragrant legacy of more than a half-century of Italian colonial occupation.
A dedicated team of CSK cooks brought together a magnificent multi-dish meal. We kept ourselves fueled with shredded, toasted & spiced injera, the spongy flatbread that is a staple of Eritrean & Ethiopian cuisines. While much of our injera was supplied pre-made from Makkah Market, we also endeavored to make our own. The process begins with soaking teff flour for a couple of days, until it has begun to ferment (this is what gives injera its sourdough taste). We then salted the teff mixture and used it like pancake batter, pouring it into thin pools in a non-stick pan until it bubbled and the edges rose. However, unlike a pancake, injera is only cooked on one side, which leaves the other soft & spongy.
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The many dishes of our meal, served over four homemade injera breads. 
We served the remainder of the feast on the larger, pre-made injera. Because store-bought and restaurant injera often contains wheat (rather than 100% teff flour), we were grateful to have our homemade alternative as a gluten-free option. 

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Beginning with the dark triangle at the top of the plate and continuing clockwise, the stews we prepared were: alicha (mixed vegetables), birsin (red lentils), hamli (greens), kantisha (mushrooms, supplied by the Mycopolitan Mushroom Company, an amazing source for locally grown mushrooms), and shiro wat (chickpea flour porridge topped with a spiced clarified butter called niter kibbeh). 
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Our amazing spread!!!
We feasted beautifully, and greatly enjoyed each other’s company. It is a very special thing to share a faemily table with you all. 
Until we next,
❤ Acorn & Frances Rose

CSK Cook Day this Sunday! And an update from the Holy Land <3

Greetings, fellow food journeyers!

We write today to:
  • announce our next CSK Cook Day & Dinner;
  • to remind about subscribing to our prepared foods menu;
  • to celebrate our last Cook Day journey to Jerusalem;
  • and for those who have just joined us, we revisit our goals & offer a bird’s eye view of the CSK.
Please come play & explore with us at the next…
CSK Cook Day & Dinner – Featuring Eritrean Cuisine
Sunday, February 7, 3:33-9:33
Starship Lollipop (1117 S. 46th St.)
Eritrea is a coastal nation on the Horn of Africa whose cultural & culinary influences are many & varied.  The cuisine is outstanding! It features stewing traditions of East Africa, the diversity & flavors of the East Asian spice trade, and the (at least) fragrant legacy of more than a half-century of Italian colonial occupation.  The evening will culminate in a sit-down dinner of large family-style platters of Eritrean food.  
Rose was taught some aspects of this food tradition from a former soldier in the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front named Tsegai. As he tells the story, when the other soldiers tasted his food, much to Tsegai’s dismay at the time, they insisted he offer his gun on to someone else, and cook for them instead. ❤ .
This is also a friendly reminder that the CSK offers a subscription service! You can sign up to receive ready-made food of varied sorts from our kitchen – check out this REGISTRATION form for all the details. 
Our Journey to Jerusalem
Thank you to all the magical beings (that’s you!) who helped us craft an exquisite meal inspired by Jerusalem (and the holiness of all land) at our last CSK Cook Day. Together we prepared a myriad of delicious dishes offered to the world by just some of the many peoples who call Jerusalem Home.
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A bowl of garlic greens dressed with lemon tahini sauce. 
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Our homemade deep fried falafel!!! This was so amazing and easy that we had to roll out some more of these the next day in the recycled fry-oil. 
Although we started the day with a small group of dedicated cooks, we found ourselves with a crowd of 22 just before dinner! We all gathered around the table to share a moment of deep gratitude for the plants, animals & peoples who made it all possible. 
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After saying our blessings, we feast!
New to the CSK? Here’s a short description & some goals that guide us.

We are a passionate team of co-creatively minded kitchen faeries, who, alongside offering *delicious* & righteously​-​sourced food, strive to share & emphasize principles of regeneration, that seem to grow continuing cycles of richness & vitality,​ in & across our ​connected​ communities​.​

We help people connect with a passion for Life, through the shared experience of preparing, and then sharing, local, delicious food.  We plant the seeds of a more resilient world by sharing the skills & knowledge required to prepare amazing food, while investing in a local, community food system that nourishes deeply any place we call Home.
Our goods & services are grounded in the gift economy.  We offer the CSK because it a joy for us to do so, and also because we carry a sense of knowing that this kind of healing is both essential, and sadly in short supply in the world.  Yet, because things cost money in same said world, we offer our goods & services on a sliding-scale donation basis, though truly remain fueled by gratitude.
Some of our goals in offering the CSK are the following: 
– We share, celebrate & educate around regenerative food cultures & practices.
– We provide delicious, nourishing, righteously-sourced food — & share the wherewithal for anyone to make it at home.
– We demonstrate & actualize a system of eating that heals the planet, and raises the collective health of our shared communities.
– The space becomes a hub to connect our intersecting communities — as we explore the potential of living systems to self-organize & add value to our lives.
– We co-create a collaborative atmosphere & feel, each of us, empowered to make the space fit ​each of ​our needs & desires — as we grow together a learning & playing environment that feels relevant to our lives.
– We co-create a space that is nourishing to our bodies, minds, and spirits.
– We co-create a growing vision of and toward a Faerie Ca’Fae & store-front in West Philly — and practice working together toward common goals.
– We create opportunities for abundance and capital in many forms to flow amongst all involved.
– We gather in the financial abundance we need to sustain the CSK and to support our lives and work.
With love & a hunger for more,
❤ Frances Rose & Acorn

CSK: Cook Day this Sunday — Holy Land Menu

Greetings, foodie friends ❤
We write today with both a reminder about this Sunday’s cook day at the Starship (3:33-9:33, 1117 S. 46th St.) — and to announce the Menu.  When we last wrote to you we hadn’t yet been clear on what it would be.  We now have one of incredible depth & interest, that promises to be DELICIOUS.  The Kitchen will be traveling to Jerusalem on Sunday.
Jerusalem is a revered place at the edge of three continents.  It is a holy place, and a Home place, to so many different peoples — and has been so for thousands of years.  Indeed, the place has been the focus of bitter disputes, battles, and also the destination & setting for countless religious pilgrimages.
The CSK (naturally) endeavors to find a spiracular focus, over & above the fray of disagreements about the place, and cook a sublime menu that weaves together common threads of comfort, familiarity, and joy.
Why Jerusalem? you ask… Why the Holy Land?
Because all land is Holy Land.  All lands are the subject of dispute.  Meanwhile, people still have to eat — and the fruits of any land are generally what the people have to eat.  People, especially over generations & often in spite of themselves, allow their hunger & tastes to betray whatever political or religious ideology they may be trying to hold on to.  When people remain in close quarters, as they have in Jerusalem for so long, sharing inevitably occurs (both conscious & unconscious).  Tastes & recipes are shared, changing inexorably cuisines & cultures, until the next waves of change lap on shore.
At the CSK, we hope to share the amazing flavors & traditions of the Holy Land, and draw parallels between our own Home, the lands that feed us, and the common threads of food & family that transcend difference.