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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Meet the Bloggers: Sean Timberlake

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Sean Timberlake.
  • Sean Timberlake.
You read them here, now find out who the hell they are: We give you the diverse group of men and women who cover the local food and drink scene for you on SFoodie.

Sean Timberlake

Blogs about: DIY, farmer's markets, homesteading

Given that Sean Timberlake founded something called Punk Domestics, I expected him to be a little grimier. I pictured ragged clothes, a knowing sneer, squatting in a scabies-infested loft with 13 roommates. Nope. Sean's an easygoing, clean-cut guy who owns a Noe Valley condo with his longtime husband DPaul (with whom he recently took up a low-carb diet). But though his trappings skew domestic, his passions bear the spirit of punk. Sean schooled me over fried chicken and ribs at Memphis Minnie's on a recent Thursday.

Jesse: What's Punk Domestics all about?

Sean: It's a blog I started for people interested in following DIY foodways. Contributors share experiences and advice about canning, making cheese, curing meat, all that stuff.

Why the name? It comes from a review of the great book Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, that referred to the "punk domesticity of the hipster DIY movement." We don't have safety pins through our noses, but our movement still has the soul of rebellion. People are starting to realize they don't have to rely on big companies to process their food and treat it with chemicals. It's ironic: the most rebellious act we can do is turning the clock back 100 years to when we used to do all this stuff ourselves. Do you meet resistance? I think there's a lot of fear. People are so used to the government telling them what is safe that they start to lose faith in their own ability to do things. They don't want to get sick, which is understandable, but we're teaching people that they can reclaim their means of production and do it safely. Has DIY always been your passion? It's more accurate to say I've always been interested in food. Growing up as the child of a single mom, my mother would ask me to cook dinner sometimes. She expected me to make basic kid stuff, but I'd call her at work to ask if she could pick up, like, orzo on the way home. I'd use crazy ingredients she wouldn't even recognize half the time. So I've always cooked, but the DIY stuff came later on. Tell me about that. It's been a slow evolution. For a long time, I didn't know you could can your own food. When I learned otherwise, I thought, "I can do that? I have to do that!" I'm an innately curious person, and the more esoteric the knowledge, the more I want to possess it. For instance, someone just wrote a piece for Punk Domestics on making lacto-fermented date chutney. How cool is that? What do you think about the bigger foodie movement in general? Well I definitely hate that word, foodie. I never used to think of food as an interest or a hobby -- it was just something my friends and I were passionate about. Then someone went and threw a label on it, which I find dumb, reductive, and unimaginative. Still, it's great to have a movement where people care where their food comes from and how it's made. I shouldn't complain. I hear you're off carbs. My husband and I are trying to be healthy and lose some weight. It's not as bad as I pictured, actually. Six days a week, we're strict about no carbs and sugars, though we can eat unlimited portions of everything else. Then on our free day, we'll have burritos or pizza, and it's like heaven. It's weird, though -- now, when I taste bread, it's very sweet, almost too much. And putting sugar in coffee makes me jump off the walls. This diet is really just an experiment; we'll stop when we get sick of it or figure out it's not working. Other blogger profiles : -Lou Bustamante -Tamara Palmer -Alex Hochman -Laura Beck -Carina Ost

New York refugee Jesse Hirsch tweets at @Jesse_Hirsch. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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Jesse Hirsch


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