Things I love Friday – Foster Cats and Kimchi in Toronto

I’ve had a great week, full of good news, and challenging projects, Valentine’s Day was lovely, and it’s a “short week” because this Monday was Family Day. I started writing this yesterday, but didn’t get around to doing anything with it until today.

1. Happy Toronto Cat Rescue Successful Adoption Story!

This weekend we said our goodbyes to Corwin – the kitten we’d been fostering from Toronto Cat Rescue since mid January. He went to a lovely home, with two people and two new cat friends to play with.

The last adoption didn’t feel as positive, and I promised JC that this one would be better, both from the feeling I got from the potential adopter over the phone, and because I planned to go out of my way to making it feel as positive as possible.

Cats - Corwin and Emmie

I went into the meeting feeling empowered, because with Toronto Cat Rescue, the foster home gets to make the ultimate decision on whether to proceed with adoption. While the organization does the screening before the potential adopter meets the cat, you are the one meeting them, so you get an idea of what kind of person they are, at least a sense of it. It’s easier to let go, when you have a real role in the adoption process and whether it proceeds, and know that your foster kitty is going to a great forever home.

The thing people need to remember when meeting a cat for the first time, especially if they’ve been fostered, is that they have lots of places in the house that they consider “theirs” and are perfectly happy hiding away in those spaces until they are comfortable enough to come out. Not all cats will hide away, but some will, but usually with patience and coaxing, they will come out.

The folks that ended up adopting Corwin were lovely, and patient and everything a foster human and foster kitty could hope for. They spent an hour or so getting Corwin comfortable enough to interact with them, and I think for the sake of both JC and I and Corwin too – it was very much appreciated.  As an added bonus, we connected on Flickr, and now I’m looking forward to seeing the occasional Corwin photograph/update.

When JC and I started fostering most people thought we’d just end up with a house full of cats, adopt all of them, and become those people with a lot of cats. Not quite. Sure, we adopted Kes (one of our former fosters – but somehow that’s how it works out. She and I connected – c’est la vie!) There is an amazing, and rewarding feeling of helping an organization do good work in the community. Toronto Cat Rescue is one of many that are making a difference in the community, both for feral cat populations as well as cats looking for forever homes. There is also knowing that you’ve had an impact on both the cat, and their future home/humans.

Kimchi Ingredients

Some resources in the City:

Toronto Cat Rescue
Toronto Feral Cat Project
Animal Alliance
Toronto Street Cats

And now for something completely different.

2. Kimchi.

At some point last week I started thinking about, craving, and hunting for vegan-friendly kimchi. It’s not universally not-vegan, but it can take some searching. I finally bought a beautiful big jar at Fiesta Farms, and as I was waiting for the bus, I smelled the familiar tangy fermented spicy cabbage as the contents of the jar spilled out of the now broken jar. I’ll admit, I debated saving it, and picking out the glass, but reality got the best of me when I cut myself on one of the shards. Whoops. Kimchi attempt 1 – Failed.

This week I went to the West End Food Co-op, and picked up a jar of Alchemy Pickle Co kimchi. And I got my wish. It’s spicy and sour, and makes me want to try more and different varieties  and got me thinking about making some of my own.

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This kimchi obsession has progressed to a curiosity about the veganisation of Korean food in general, which conveniently helped me find Vegan 8 Korean.

Now everywhere I look there is kimchi, from mentions on the radio, Battle Kim Chi this weekend, to fermentation classes a plenty in the next couple of months. Here are some of the details (worth noting that not all events are vegan or entirely vegan friendly, but I’ll mention it):

Battle Kimchi

Featuring six contestants from the Korean community presenting their own family-secret recipe of kimchi. The competition is happening in two parts – first, a straight kimchi tasting, second, kimchi used in a dish.

If you attend this free event, you can try samples of kimchi, while judges taste, and pick the Mother of All Kimchi.

On thing I’m especially interested in is the live Kimchi-making demonstration by master storyteller, Seung Ah Kim, who will share her own story around her family kimchi secrets

When: February 23, 2013 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Venue: Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food Co. (
1 Baldwin Street, Toronto, Ontario

Read more about it over at ATK magazine


Free Food For All Project Presents: Canning & Fermenting,  Saturday Workshop Series.

This is a free workshop and they’ll be making Sauerkraut and Kimchi. You can learn why fermented food is healthy and how easy it is to make yourself.

They are asking that everyone bring along 1 cabbage to the class (doesn’t matter what kind as long as you bring one)

Find out more on Facebook:

When: February 23rd, 2013 – 12-5 PM
Venue: OCAD University – Room 187
100 McCaul Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1W1


The Depanneur: Workshop – Kimchi & Banchan with Jonna Pedersen

In an intensive and hands-on workshop you can learn about the diverse and delicious specialties of the Korean dinner table.

In this workshop, Jonna will be showing how to make three different kinds of kimchi including traditional spicy cabbage matkimchi, white mild baekkimchi, and crunchy cubed radish kimchi. She will also be making other banchan side dishes including: pajeon, spring onion pancakes; candied lotus roots; japchae, potato noodle chop suey; pickled onion and garlic; traditional bitter greens; and acorn jelly.

Word from Jonna on the class:

Hey MeShell! Though kimchi usually contains shrimp paste and/or oyster sauce, I’ve worked to develop my own vegan friendly recipes that are indistinguishable from the original. The banchan (side dishes) will also be entirely vegan, maybe save for a bit of honey, and possibly gluten free. There are so many authentic side dishes to choose from, that I went with the ones that would offer the most variety to every participant. The supper club the following Saturday is also ovo-veg, (just egg for garnish) and veganizable.

When: March 18, 2013 6:30 pm
Venue: The Depanneur
1033a College St., Toronto, Ontario

You can read more about the workshop on Facebook or on the Dep’s shiny new website.

Also at the Depanneur next month: a Korean Lunar New Year Temple Feast Supper Club, also by Jonna Pedderson. And as you can see, is veganizable.

Other Stuff I Love: Recipe for Change happens in a few days. I’ll have a list of the vegan options up tomorrow. Zevia Cola. Tajin Fruit Seasoning. JC. Emmie. Kes. Food Co-ops. Public Transit. Really good ethically sourced chocolate. El Contracto from the NFB. Chili for Charity – ruby Ranch edition (February 26th, 2013). Events like YIMBY.

10 Responses

  1. The big Korean market on Bloor (next to the adult theatre) has vegan kim chi. It’s marked “no fish sauce”. They make a variety of other take out treats but you need someone there to explain what’s in everything. Some of the dishes don’t look like fish at all but they are.

    • Thanks for the tip!

      I’m in that area enough, but I’m never sure which items are fish free. Thanks again. (plus your blog… yum!)

    • I actually went over there today, but I didn’t see any kim chi marked “no fish sauce.” I’ll have to visit them again soon, it’s got a lot of other great stuff! Thanks again for the tip.

  2. I am loving all things kimchi, too. If you want to make it at home, the recipe in Vegan Eats World is very good. Although, I also adore the vegan kimchi poutine at Bahn Mi Boys. Our Saturday dinner plans are to check out Bi Bim Bap on Eglinton. Their kimchi is vegan, too! 🙂

  3. Aw, I love how cats curl up together. They seem so comfy.

    I see the TO kimchi community is alive and well. I’m pretty jealous! Here in Montreal, I looked in many stores to find some vegan kimchi with no such luck. I ended up making my own, using my pot to bake beans to ferment the cabbage. The cabbage is now fermenting in my fridge. Can’t wait to eat the results!

    • Thanks! I might bug you, but I think I’ll probably take the classes with JC. I think it’s mostly having someone else’s kitchen to mess up (plus way more working space.) 😀