Toothsome Rice Balls And Seed Bombs

Learn to make Rice Balls and Seed Bombs.

On June 2, 2023, at the Nanaimo Foodshare Society’s Park Avenue Urban Farm (Snuneymuxw Territory), we gathered for Toothsome Rice Balls and Seed Bombs.

Minah and Tadafumi stand behind a table set with a fruit and flower print table cloth and holding containers of various sizes and ingredients. Minah is wearing a flower print dress in blue, red and white, swirling silver earrings, a straw hat and blue food prep gloves. Tad is wearing a black t-shirt with an onigiri image, sun glasses and a wool cap. A young boy and two women sit at a table in front of them, They are shaping rice cakes with their hands. Bushes and trees make a wall of green behind everyone.
Minah and Tadafumi demonstrated riceball making strategies.

We invited Nanaimo residents to learn to make Korean and Japanese rice balls in the shape of teeth, and to enjoy Foodshare’s outdoor classroom while making seed bombs (native and pollinator flowers). All the while, participants we encouraged to share stories about teeth and the food we chew, exploring inter-generational and inter-cultural exchanges. The Park Avenue Farm is on a former hunting ground for Snuneymuxw People, and is now an urban farm growing local food for food security.

Rice, carrot and sesame seeds are pressed into a sculpture of a butterfly or moth. The sculpture rests at the bottom of a mixing bowl.
Some participants experimented with creative shapes, informed by stories they shared.

Minah led Korean Jumeokbap-making and Tadafumi led Japanese Onigiri-making. 주먹밥 (Jumeokbap) literally translates into “fist rice.” Minah’s analysis is that this is because Korean rice balls are as big as fists, or it may be the resemblance of the hands between clenching a fist and making a rice ball. The Japanese rice ball 親知らず(onigiri) draws its name from the Japanese word “nigiru,” meaning “to grasp” or “to squeeze.” These rice balls have distinct characters, but they share something that can’t be fully grasped by different languages. 사랑니/親知らず, rice balls will be grasped by everyone beyond language barriers!

On the right, Tadafumi drops a pickled plum, an umeboshi, into a bowl shaped handful of rice at center. Below Tadafumi is a table with fruit and flower print table cloth and holding containers of various sizes and ingredients. Jesse and Shane sit at tables behind Tadafumi, Behind Jesse and Shane is a corner of ploughed field and vegetables in the ground, mounds of dirt, a fence and trees, the Park Avenue Farm.
Tadafumi demonstrated onigiri (Japanese riceball) making method.

Toothsome Rice Balls and Seed Bombs was an off-site event for 사랑니 출산기 Give Birth Love Tooth, an exhibition at Nanaimo Art Gallery, bringing together our individual and collective stories about family, land, and history, and investigating the Gallery’s ongoing inquiry: What stories do we tell?

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