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Radicle Papyrus: Julia Goodman Returns to 18 Reasons

photo from inthemake.net

18 Reasons has eagerly awaited the return of Julia Goodman, artist and papermaker, to our space. About a year ago, Julia joined us along with sound artist Scott Cazan to host “Transparent Substrate”, a beet papyrus workshop and hands-on exploration of pre-paper technology using the amazing, edible, seasonal beet. During the workshop, Julia discussed the range of materials used prior to the invention of paper,  then led the group in pounding out their own piece of beet papyrus.

Julia’s returning next week with a new exhibition, which will be here at 18 Reasons from February 4-March 31. We want to share her below artist’s statement with you so you can read up before you come and see the exhibition in person. You can get an idea of Julia’s process from these brilliant photos of Julia taken for website In the Make when they visited her at home last year  (thanks to Klea McKenna for letting us re-purpose them here).

harvesting beets for the papyrus, photo from inthemake.net

If I were you, I’d join us for her opening February 4th from 6-9PM or at 18th Hour any Thursday in February or March–that way you can enjoy a bevvie and bite while you take in Julia’s work. Both take place at 18 Reasons at 3674 18th St.


Part 1:

For RADICLE PAPYRUS, Julia Goodman makes papyrus out of beets using bold colors and diverse symmetries that exist underground. Her continued interests in mortality and scarcity influence her use of delicate materials. The work establishes the existence of overlapping territory between the history of papermaking and the root vegetable. The exhibit includes related sound collaborations with Scott Cazan.

photo from inthemake.net

Part 2:

“With the abundance of paper used today throughout the world in books, magazines, and newspaper and for writing, it is difficult to conceive that there was a period of thousands of years when true paper did not exist.  At the present time it would be impossible for civilization to endure, even for a day, the total lack of paper – a material that is as little understood by the average consumer as it is indispensable.”

Dard Hunter, Papermaking: The History & Technique of An Ancient Craft (1943)

My work originates from my investigation into the materials used before the widespread availability of paper, known as pre-paper technologies. Using this root vegetable and its incredible staining powers, I explore the different steps in the papyrus making process. The result is a thin, transparent, skin-like, intensely colored material. There’s something simple and satisfying about repositioning a material and letting light come through something that grows underground.

Julia in her Bernal backyard, photo from inthemake.net

From Young Moms to You

Thanksgiving preparations have you running around a bit? The students at Hilltop High have an easy, nutritious, and delicious soup to fuel your list making and table setting.

On Tuesday 18 Reasons went to Hilltop High for our third cooking class, co-organized with HeartBeets. Everyone was either sick or otherwise in need of some good nourishment, so we made this roasted butternut squash soup. It takes a little over an hour, but most of that time is spent roasting your vegetables.  This means you can check things off that to-do list while dinner makes itself.  The girls at Hilltop all loved it, especially once they knew they could add as much hot sauce as they liked!  We served it with melted cheese sandwiches, but it would be equally good paired with a chicory salad smothered in a poached egg. Also feel free to trade out the Moroccan-inspired spices for others.

We hope this soup helps you take care of yourself so that you can take care of others this holiday season!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Moroccan Spices (Serves 6-8)

1 medium butternut squash (our favorite Rugosa from Mariquita Farm would be excellent)
1 yellow onion
2 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
2 carrots
1 parsnip
1 tsp cumin seeds or cumin powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2-1 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 C chopped tomatoes
1 can low sodium garbanzo beans, drained
2-4 C water or low sodium chicken/vegetable stock
olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 limes

Pre heat oven to 400 and adjust one rack to the middle of oven. Liberally oil a baking sheet with olive oil.

Cut squash in half the long way. Scoop out seeds and place squash cut side down on baking sheet.

Cut onion into four pieces (do not peel). Peel and chop carrots and parsnip into four large chunks. Put onions, unpeeled garic, carrots and parsnip on baking sheet with squash. Pour on more olive oil, enough to coat vegetables all the way. Roast for 45 minutes or until squash skin is blistered and light brown, stirring occasionally.

Remove vegetables from oven and let cool until easy to handle.

Peel skin off of onions and garlic and chop roughly. In a soup pot, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add onions, garlic, all spices, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add tomatoes and while that cooks, scoop meat out of squash. Add squash flesh, carrots, and parsnip to soup pot.  Cook 5 minutes. Add 2 C water and garbanzo beans.  Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 5 min.  Crank pepper mill a couple of times into pot. Taste for seasoning.

Using an immersion blender or your regular blender, puree soup until smooth.  Add more water until soup is as thick or thin as you like. Taste one more time for salt and pepper.

Serve with fresh lime juice and some chopped cilantro.

Kids Rule: Youth Programming at 18 Reasons

18 Reasons ran our first ever youth camp this July, and it was one of the real highlights of the summer for us.  Over the course of one week, our eleven campers took care of sheep and chickens in the mornings and in the afternoons learned to make pizza from scratch. From milling their own flour that they later kneaded into dough, to pulling mozzarella and making tomato sauce, the kids made everything we needed to throw the best pizza party ever on Friday afternoon.

Teaching kids proved phenomenally rewarding for us; it allowed us to fulfill our mission in whole new, rich, and powerful ways.  “Deepening our relationship to food and each other” is our calling, and watching these 9-11 year-olds master new cooking skills, care for animals, and get excited about food allowed us to help them do just what our mission prescribes.  It was rad! So much so, that we are doing a lot of youth programming, starting this fall with Peanut Butter and the Pen, a creative food writing after school program on Wednesdays.  Students will tackle letter writing, autobiography, fiction, and basic grammar skills all while writing about (and tasting) food.  We’re also developing some camp ideas for school vacation weeks; we’ll keep you posted!

As part of our efforts to expand our youth programming, 18 Reasons is also reaching out to the garden coordinators, teachers, nutrition counselors, and parents who teach our children.  We’ve worked with the Green Schoolyard Alliance and the Nutrition Education Project to identify needs in the education community that 18 Reasons is equipped to address.  As a result, we’ve planned two new programs: First, we’ll be holding furlough day workshops on how to cook and teach in edible school gardens; these classes will help facilitate teacher comfort using outdoor classrooms to teach all sorts of skills and subjects.  Second, 18 Reasons is hosting quarterly support and community building sessions for garden coordinators working in San Francisco schools.  We’ve got the space to bring people together, and we cannot think of a better group of people to get in the same room and share skills than those who are teaching the City’s kids.

As always, thank you for your support of 18 Reasons as our programming evolves. Your ticket sales and membership dues support all of this exciting new work, and we honestly couldn’t do it without you.

Chinese Knife Shaved Noodle Making, Caught on Video at 18 Reasons

This month we hosted our final noodle lab at 18 Reasons: we learned to make dao xiao mian, traditional Chinese knife shaved noodles! This was the third in our international noodle lab series, and our friend Henrik Meng captured the whole thing on film for us. Watch Bi-Rite chef Linh Phu take the class through the steps of creating these noodles from scratch as has been done for centuries, from rolling the dough to shaving it, then cooking the noodles into a hot pork soup.

In Henrik’s own words, this video is “nothing fancy, and I highly doubt that Ken Burns has anything to be worried about, but hopefully you’ll like it!  At the very least, watching it reminds me of how awesome and delicious the class and our dinner was.” Thank you Henrik for capturing the night for us!

Ever Wonder Where We Got the Name for 18 Reasons?

Have you ever wondered where the name 18 Reasons came from? Weathered San Francisco Mission residents  might remember a sign above the space that is now Thrift Town (formerly Redlick’s Furniture) that simply, and mysteriously, stated: 17 Reasons.  Turns out, there were no reasons and the sign was a gimmick to bring customers into the store. The sign was torn down in 2002, but up until that point had been a landmark in the Mission District. The sign is even featured in Nathaniel Dorsky’s 1987 underground film 17 Reasons, and the play 17 Reasons (Why) produced by Intersection for the Arts in 2002.

So what about our space? It all started with Cliff Leonardi and Dan DiPasquo, active members of the 18th-and-Guerrero community, who set out to create a workplace, event venue, and gallery in the neighborhood. They dubbed the little storefront at 593 Guerrero Street “Blue Space” and happily carried out their mission until 2007, when Cliff and his family left for the arguably greener pastures of Portland. To mark the change in the gallery’s management and pay tribute to this much-missed icon, we decided to rechristen the space as 18 Reasons. 18 because of 18th Street, and because…well, it never hurts to have one more reason.

San Francisco-based food and beverage photographer Scott Peterson captured images of that old sign–seventeen of them, in fact. Scott is a long time San Francisco resident, artist, musician and food lover. His work will be on display in the gallery for the month of August, come to an event and take a look!

Diggin’ Deeper: The Business of Farming

Hey there. 18 Reasons checking in on the Diggin’ Deeper Blog.  We run Farm Summer School with Simon (and Garden for the Environment) and, man!, things are looking great up in Sonoma. Before I get to what plants we got in the ground, trellised, and otherwise tended to, I wanted to let you know about the other part of Farm Summer School: the classroom time.

Each month our future farmers meet on the second Thursday to learn about the business of farming. This month Darryl Wong from Freewheelin’ Farm blew us away with his presentation (he also drove some students to pour an extra glass of wine when he showed us his spreadsheets detailing revenue, profit, and costs of starting a farm).  Did you know the average return rate for farmers is $0.10 on the dollar? But did you also know that passion can make that return feel like 10 x as much?  Darryl was honest about the real ups and downs of starting a farm, and told us all the nitty gritty with good humor. It you ever get the chance to hear Darryl speak, jump at it! He can really break down why a bunch of organic kale, grown responsibly, costs $2.99 in a way that makes you laugh but also drives the point home (hint: he uses Mad Libs!)  Darryl taught us all about the real price of food and the real work of being a farmer.

Two days after Darryl’s great visit, we headed up to Sonoma where our group of 12 got to work, and got to work hard! In just under 6 hours we trellised thousands of tomato plants, hilled potatoes, weeded like we were possessed, and planted row upon row of seeds and seedlings.  Here are the varieties we planted – get excited about eating it all from the Bi-Rite deli case later this summer:

Carrots: Nelson, Rainbow, Atomic Red

Beans: Tongue of Fire, French, Romano

Cucumbers: Diva

Already in the ground are eggplants, tomatoes, squash, peppers, potatoes, and flowers.  With this heat and sun, we are expecting that in one month when Farm Summer School meets again, we will see some major growth and even be harvesting our first veggies.

Note: Farmer Simon is eye-high in produce and plants, so Diggin’ Deeper is guest written this month by Rosie Branson Gill, from 18 Reasons.

SWAP: Homemade Family Dinner

On the second Sunday of each month* at 5 PM, the quiet that descends on 18 Reasons is sudden, slightly electric, and yet calmly happy.  During the proceeding half hour, moms, dads, couples, friends, and eager cooks have happily clambered into 18 Reasons, arms full of soup, braises, curries, breads, salads, and the occasional dessert.  They have each set their offering (a continuum from vegan to meat loving dinners) out on our table, said hi to familiar faces and introduced themselves to new ones, announced what they’ve made, and then, quick as anything, swapped out their meals for those of four others.  Arms now loaded with a completely new bounty, each person has trotted back out the door, gone again for another month.  All that is left is that air, charged with the vibrancy of the 12-15 cooks.

Our monthly “SWAP: Homemade Family Dinner” is, hands down, one of my favorite events at 18 Reasons.  Though only a quick 30 minutes, SWAP manages to engender each of the core principles of our organization.  It brings people together to share food and meet each other. It requires that people cook meals from scratch but holds no expectations for fancy ingredients or laborious cooking preparations.  But it also doesn’t penalize if someone wants to get a little creative with their kitchen acrobatics.  It asks that people think about others, since it will be other bellies that are nourished by the meal they are making. It helps people put good, honest, homemade food on the table even when schedules are furiously hectic.  It suggests that if we plan ahead and work together as a community, we can eat well all of the time.  

Here are some photos from our most recent SWAP, which is co-hosted by A Little Yumminess, a blog written about kid friendly foodventures in the Bay Area.  Anyone is welcome, and our definition of family is broad, so come join us next month! More information is available on our website.

* May only SWAP: Homemade Family Dinner will be on the third Sunday of the month at 3:30PM. In June we will return to our normal second Sundays at 4:30.

Peanut Butter and the Pen

Last Saturday we at 18 Reasons paired up with Take My Word For It to offer a creative writing workshop with 3rd-5th graders. Since Valentine’s Day was around the corner, the children wrote love letters to their favorite foods.   I thought I would share some photos since they show the awesomeness of the morning much better that I could describe it!

Dear Lovely Pesto

All in a Hard Day's Work

A Room Full of Children, Food, and Creativity!

DIY Desserts at 18 Reasons

Greetings from 18 Reasons! I wanted to share a fabulous blog post from Irvin Lin, who co-leads our monthly bakers’ social hour,  DIY Desserts, with fellow dessert lover Melanie Duve (Melanie’s Blog).  Irvin writes the baking blog Eat The Love and he describes last month’s event with such verve and joy that I couldn’t keep it to myself.  He sums up why 18 Reasons hosts DIY Desserts perfectly. Here’s an excerpt and a link to the full post (which includes photos of DIY Desserts and a killer genoise boysenberry cake recipe):

“Once a month, the amazing 18 Reasons, a community space affiliated with BiRite Market, holds a DIY Dessert evening where they invite people from all over the San Francisco Bay Area to stop by and bring a dessert based on that month’s theme. I’ve been co-hosting the DIY Desserts for the past couple of months and the awesomeness that has occurred there is nothing sort of amazing. This past January’s theme was no different with their New Year’s “Make Something New!” theme where they challenged bakers to bring something they had never made before (good, bad, ugly).  . .

. . . Tart sweet lemon shaker bars, and tangy plum balsamic jam bars were a great treat to munch on, while  whoopies pies totally brought back childhood nostalgic memories. Well, someone’s childhood nostalgic memory, as my childhood memory was of red bean paste desserts and pineapple cakes, but you know what I mean.  . . And then there’s Suzie who showed up with cake she dubbed “Rum Disaster Cake” because she had a problem unmolding the cake from the pan. I LOVED that she showed up with a cake full of personality, named it the “Rum Disaster Cake” and owned up the fact that not every cake looks perfect. What matters most is how it tastes, and this cake was a winner. Moist and wonderful with tropical coconut and boozy rum flavors married together for an awesome dessert delight.

. . .  I had a chance to sample some ridiculously good desserts as well as meet some awesome people, which is really what the DIY Dessert event is all about. Meeting local bakers and dessert lovers and eating desserts! Don’t you wish you could be there? If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area you can! It’s the second Wednesday of every month at 18 Reasons.”  Full post here.

Thanks, Irvin for being so ridiculous and awesome yourself. And for spreading the love.

DIY Desserts takes place on the second Wednesday of every month from 7-9PM at 18 Reasons.  Come join us – we welcome all bakers of all levels!

Biographies Told Through Wine

Greetings from 18 Reasons!

On January 18th, we are launching a new type of wine class that I am excited about and so I wanted to chime in here and give you some background.  As I learn more about wine (thank you, Trac, Matt, and Sarah), I am as inspired by the stories behind the wines as I am by the lovely stuff in the bottles.  I am curious to know what drives winemakers in their pursuit of The Great Bottle? Is it taste? Romance? Science? We decided to find some answers by developing a storytelling wine class.  During each class the selected wine maker will tell you his or her story through words and wines, pouring the wines that inspired them as they tell the story of that inspiration.  They are simple classes – no 12 bottle drunken extravaganzas – and we hope that their quietness will allow for us to ask ample questions, have a good conversation, and learn about why the wine we love came to be.

First up is Don Heistuman of Aha Wines and the maker of Bebame. For anyone who has tasted Bebame, Don’s Cabernet Franc/Gamay blend, it is clear that Don is an American winemaker marching to the beat of his own drummer.  Devoted to making wines reminiscent of the Loire Valley, Don proves that California soil can produce elegant, structured, and low alcohol French-style wines. During this two hour class we will learn his story by tasting the wines that inspire him and the one that inspiration produced.  The class is January 18th, from 7-9PM and tickets are still available here.