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Quote of the Day: Jessica Prentice

December 8th, 2013

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 We make the assumption that the new thing is the better thing, indicating progress and vision, and that the old thing is obsolete.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.
pigs in the chicken yard 1
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.
Nesting Boxes
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?

5 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Jessica Prentice”
  1. Annie on December 8, 2013 at 11:25 am

    To me it’s the food that is specific to the region I live in. I can’t help but feel that connection to my past and long gone relatives when cooking up a big pan of cornbread or hoeing the okra and all that. Shelling blackeyed peas always makes me think back to my childhood sitting on my grandma’s front porch with her and my aunt. They would tell stories about the area and there was always plenty of iced tea.

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  2. Colleen on December 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Growing a garden, baking bread and making simple, but oh so delicious, homemade meals definitely connects me with my grandmother. She was the one who taught me to love to garden and how to cook the best meals from that garden. More recently, raising chickens for eggs makes me think of all the talks my grandmother and I had about her growing up years on their farm. What we can take for granted, growing a vegetable garden, rasing chickens, they did for basic survival.
    I’m happy that you have your grandmother and you talk to her about her life growing up. Cherish that time and those talks, they are priceless.

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  3. Nebraska Dave on December 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Susy, My grandmothers have been long gone and both parents are now gone as well. I do remember my great grand mother was a baker and cooked almost everything on an old wood heat cook stove. I stayed at her house on weekends for about 12 weeks while studying church catechism when I was about 12 to become a church member. I have some great memories watching her do her magic with the wood, corn cobs, and cooking on that old stove. Many wonderful things came out of that stove. The only recipes used were in her head. She had a big garden out behind her house which included fruit trees. Almost everything she cooked came out of a jar that she had preserved. I’m sure she had help from her children but she lived on $65 a month from the government through a program called old age pension. It was before social security. It’s hard to pick just one thing that I like. It was all good.

    Her daughter, my grandmother, owned a restaurant in a little town of 300 people and was a great cook as well. My mom was a awesome cook as well and the best thing I can remember her baking was a dish she just called cinnamon bread. It was made with stale bread in a skillet with brown sugar, I think. It was bread all pulled apart which ended up with a glaze all over it. Maple syrup drizzled over the top made it a memorable taste. I which I could figure out how to duplicate it.

    Have a great food connection with the past day.

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  4. amy on December 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I love the art of making bread…It is such a therapy for me….right up there with gardening. For the last year I have been keenly interested in foraging….I have been reading and watching everything I can find on the subject…. films, books and blogs….and trying to incorporate wild foods(weeds and such;) into our daily meals in some way….cultivating them….growing a wider variety of herbs to use medicinally….Something valuable that has been lost to our society but seems to be gaining popularity again…..thankfully. It started with Elizabeth Goudge’s, The White Witch….and then escalated with the fella on River Cottage…who is the forager….can’t think of his name….Anyway…doing this puts me in mind of the way mankind used to live.. relying more on nature’s offering….than the pharmacy and grocery stores..

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  5. Joan on December 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Probably fiddleheads… I have no idea if my ancestors ate them but given that my family has lived in the same area since the early 1700’s, I can’t imagine that they didn’t. I love foraging – it really makes me feel connected to the land. Truthfully I don’t care for fiddleheads all that much – I use them mostly for a cream of fiddlehead soup, but I LOVE picking them.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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