In the rush to industrialize our food system, tradition has not only been ignored, it has been actively shunned. We make the assumption that the new thing is the better thing, indicating progress and vision, and that the old thing is obsolete. But vision, to be healthy, must be balanced by tradition. Unfortunately our country neglects tradition.
Jessica Prentice – Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection
I was thinking about this quote as I was talking to my grandma about her childhood last week. She said they raised 8-9 hogs each year and butchered them in the winter to help feed the 8 kids in the family. We chatted about how we butchered our own hogs a few weeks ago right on our place.
Growing and raising your own food is definitely a way to connect with tradition. For most of history our ancestors have had a hands on connection with their food. Not only in the cultivation of it but in the processing of it as well. If you can’t grow your own vegetable or raise your own meat, I’d highly recommend connecting with a small local farm that does. Even going out to the farm to see the vegetables in the garden and animals in the field will help connect you with your food heritage.
Learning to make food from scratch is also a way to connect with tradition. One of my favorite things to make is bread, whenever I knead bread I think about the millions of women around the world that are kneading bread now and the billions that have done it throughout the ages. Such a simple act that transcends culture and time.
What kind of food do you feel most connects you with the past?Filed under Quote | Comments (5)
The trouble to which one is willing to go for something is usually a fair measure of how much it is valued, in the garden of life.
Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd in Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill
There are so many things in my life that fit this, in general, I like to do things myself. I value the process along with the final product, and thus most things are of value to me.
Garden fresh vegetables are definitely well worth the effort in my book. What I don’t grow myself I’m thankful to be able to purchase from farmers who do care and go to the trouble to grow the right way.
What are some things you do for yourself that you feel are worth the extra effort?Filed under Quote | Comments (4)
“Even when success comes, as I am sure it will, bear in mind that there are more quiet and enviable joys than to be among the most sought-after-woman at the ball or the woman best liked by your neighbor at the table, at luncheons and the various fashionable affairs.”
Mlle. Souvestre to Eleanor Roosevelt in a letter from Hazel Rowley Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage
I really love this quote, it’s amazingly true, and so against what mainstream culture tells us. Quiet and enviable joys, I’ve been working hard to cultivate these things in my life.
The sun coming up right in front of my kitchen window,
enjoying a simple meal with Mr Chiots,
a warm cup of coffee on a frosty morning,
a big wooly blanket on my bed.
What quiet and enviable joys are you loving this week?Filed under Quote | Comments (13)
Often against his better judgment, the modern farmer has been forced to use monoculture, artificial fertilization, pesticides, herbicides and mechanization in order to keep ahead of ruinous taxation, inflation and ever-increasing costs of production. The result has been productions for “quantity” rather than “quality,” and the gradual destruction of our precious topsoil and mineral reserves, in or beneath the soil. This has been well documented by Dr Wm. Albrecht of the University of Missouri. Our markets are flooded with attractive, but relatively tasteless, vegetables and fruits. The protein content of wheat and other grains has steadily declined; this being a reliable index of soil fertility. Animal foods such as fowl and meat reflect similar changes. Fowl are usually raised in cramped quarters and their food limited to that prescribed by man. As a result cirrhotic livers and common and egg quality is inferior. Both groups are frequently treated with antibiotics, anti-thyroid drugs and hormones which produce castration, myxedema, and water logged tissues. These practices are designed to stimulate more weight gain on less feed. The advantages to producers are obvious; to the consumer they are indeed questionable.
-Granville R Knight (1970)
As we’ve been raising our first pigs this summer, I’ve been thinking a lot about industrialized food. About how it moves animals from living beings into commodities to be brought from infant to slaughter weight as quickly and as efficiently as possible. That’s not at all what our focus has been, in fact we’re amazed that our pigs weigh what a normal pig does when butchering time has come. These pigs have been great, truly a joy to have around (at least most of the time). No doubt we will measure all future pigs by these two.
Our pigs were raised for meat, but also to work for us. They have spent the last 6 months happily rooting up the soil in our woods eating acorns, grubs, saplings and whatever else they found tasty. They have cleared the woods of low growing vegetation all the while leaving behind beneficial manure that will fertilize future hazelnut and apple trees we plan to plant in this area. They were as happy as pigs could be.
It would certainly be easier to take them to a local butcher shop for slaughtering, but we believe that more of them can be used if we do that as well, right here. We also want them to have the least amount of stress when that time comes, something I’m sure a trailer ride and a few hours in a corral would bring.
If all goes as planned, today will be pig slaughtering day. We spent all day yesterday in preparation, getting the scalder set up, cleaning the back porch and hanging rods to make it into a small butcher shop. We are also in the process of building a smoker.
It certainly is a lot of work, but we’re excited to do it. We love new experiences, and this will certainly be an experience.
Have you ever taken part in a slaughter day?Filed under Quote | Comments (21)
“Fresh herbs offer an astounding palette of vibrant and glorious tastes, but their delights go beyond the flavors they lend to food. For a cook, there is joy in simply handling fresh herbs in the kitchen. Who can resist stroking the proud sticky needles of rosemary, rubbing a plush sage leaf, or crushing a crinkled leaf of verdant mint between their fingers? When yous trip the fragrant leaves off sweet marjoram or tuck a few sprigs of shrubby thyme in a simmering stew, you feel connected to the soil and the season, no matter where you kitchen is.”
Jerry Traunfeld from The Herbfarm Cookbook
This time of year I’m always sad that cilantro and basil are gone, but thyme and rosemary will take their place. I have potted herbs in the house for winter eating, always thyme, and almost always rosemary.
I find thyme to be very easy to grow indoors, there are always a few different varieties. Lemon thyme is my favorite one, I use it almost daily. Rosemary can be hard to maintain as a houseplant, I have trouble with it dying on me. Recently, I read that if you plant it in the soil during the summer and dig it up for winter it will survive the winter much more easily. I’ll definitely be trying that method next year.
Do you have any potted herbs in the house?Filed under Herbs, Quote | Comments (11)