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Get in My Sidemouth

Sidemouth is our new oddball food column that explores the deep, dark, and awe-inspiring side of the stuff we put in our bellies.
March 5, 2012, 9:45pm

I’m Julia Kennedy, and I am going to write this column about food for VICE called Sidemouth. In case you're wondering, for Halloween a few years ago I used foundation to block out all of my facial features before drawing them back on slightly to the side of their original places. My friend Romy coined the term "Sidemouth" for the character I had invented, and that is where the name of this column came from. I chose that title because what I am interested in talking about is not the face value of the food world, so to speak, but this expanded concept of it that can only be seen by looking at it from a new angle—from the side, if you will. Also, Sidemouth is the best name for a column ever.

I believe that food made with integrity has the potential, as a tool, to change the world and our relationship to it. I really do! I love food. It has sort of shaped my life in a way. My father is a wonderful chef, and a champion of food issues in Canada. Food as a concept outside of the restaurant world occurred to me a long time ago, when I realized that bringing people together over dinner was a catalyst for all kinds of conversations and fun times. This revelation led to the birth of Cafe Wednesday, which was essentially a restaurant my best friend and I ran out of my house while in university. For a solid year it was the epicenter of good and wacky times, and a real bringer-togetherer of the community. Professors, friends, visiting artists… whoever was passing through town would gather at Cafe Wednesday and stay well into the night. That was just the beginning of what has become the never-ending dinner party of my life.

To me, food is about relating to things in a full way. There is something about sitting down to a meal that is all encompassing, that draws awareness to our place in the world, the people we are with, the things we eat and where they come from. I am going to gloss over all the sustainable, local, and farmers market type business, because I think most of you have probably heard about that stuff before. I’m going to get deep, dark, and seedy. I’m going to go in from the side. I will show you a world in which food is taking new precedence, and all the people, places, and things that are contributing to it. I will also pull back the blanket on those who are trying to take it away—be they farmers, artists, or apocalypse-fearing, windmill-building freaks. What is it about things food-related that draws in such ridiculous regulations and controversies over rights and freedoms? Can I really throw the best dinner party of all time? You will see! It will be fun and D-Licious!

For the inaugural edition of Sidemouth, Julia explores the unpasteurized world of underground Canadian raw milk farmers.