What is old can sometimes make a better new. Of course, that is my own philosophy demonstrated by the dress that I recently wore to the Black and White ball but it was also the conclusion of a fascinating article Older, Better, Smaller produced by the Preservation Green Lab of National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The detailed study centers on measuring how the character of buildings and blocks influences urban vitality and is largely an outgrowth of the early work of Jane Jacobs, the Goddess of Urban Planning. Using a novel process called geo-spatial analysis, researchers codified three major cities into 200 meter squares according to the age of the structures within. San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Seattle all demonstrated greater vitality within areas that presented buildings of mixed ages.
The measurements of vitality were fascinating; everything from cell phone usage to small business start-ups to pedestrian traffic measured at different times of the week. While the research summary doesn’t conclude that all old buildings should be saved, it does point to a methodology that planners should use in determining how their cities should develop and grow.
My urban town is hardly representative of mixed age architecture but my kitchen does give way to preservation. Following the Korean method of serving pickled vegetables with meals, I used up the last of the kohlrabi and napa cabbage to make kimchi. While kimchi is delicious and loaded with vitamins, it seems that its biggest benefit may be that it contains lactobacilli. This is a healthy bacteria that helps with digestion and prevents infections in the gut. In fact, a study conducted by Seoul National University claimed that chickens infected with avian flu actually recovered after eating food containing the bacteria found in kimchi.
- 1 (2-pound) head napa cabbage
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- about a half gallon water
- 1 Tbs grated garlic
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2-3 Tbs fish sauce
- 1-5 Tbs red pepper flakes or Korean chili powder
- 8 ounces Korean radish or daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Then cut each quarter crosswise. Salt the cabbage and place it into a large bowl. With clean hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften, then add water to cover the cabbage. Keep it submerged by weighing it down with a plate. Let stand for about an hour.
Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times and drain in a colander. Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in an amount of chili, using depending upon your tolerance for spicy heat. Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the radish, scallions, and seasoning paste.
Gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. Take care if you do this using your hands as the chilies can burn. Pack the kimchi into the jar, pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1-inch at the top of each jar and put the lid on.
Put the jar away in a dark cupboard at room temperature for about 5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar. Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator.
P.S. It’s complete and it’s a pass. Thank you for your patience.