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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 We make the assumption that the new thing is the better thing, indicating progress and vision, and that the old thing is obsolete.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?

Quote of the Day: Jessica Prentice

September 22nd, 2013

When you don’t grow up with a memory of something tasting wonderful, you sometimes have to work a little bit to learn to love it. There’s always a chance that you’ll never learn to like a thing, but you don’t know that until you really try.

Jessica Prentice – Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection

This is such a great quote, it rings true in my life.  Thankfully I grew up with a very broad palate of things I tasted.  Mostly do to the fact that I grew up in another country.  We learned to eat thing like beef tongue, liver, yucca and all sorts of things many people would consider unpalatable.
breakfast soup small
As a result, I’m very adventurous when it comes to trying new things.  In general, I have like almost everything I’ve ever tried, there are very few things that I don’t really like.  Well, except for frosting (aka icing).  Crazy, I know, someone who doesn’t like frosting.  Even as a kid, I’d scape my icing off my cake and give it to my brother, who loved it.
mustard greens 1
Cooked greens used to be the one thing that I had trouble eating.  I kept making them, we kept eating them, and eventually we learned to love them.  They went from being not very appetizing to being enjoyed.  Sometimes it takes trying things multiple times, cooked in different ways to find a place on your plate.

Do you have any foods that you want to learn to love? 

Back in Business

October 3rd, 2012

We’re back in business as far as our raw milk is concerned. Luckily it’s much easier to come by in Maine that in Ohio. Back in Ohio, we were lucky that our dairy farm was only a few miles away, though I would have driven a long way to get milk from them. They stocked us up with lots of milk before we left and we were on our last jar.

I had a list of farms to call and visit, but then our neighbor gave me the name of a friend who does dairy on a small scale. We headed down the road yesterday to see her cows and chat with her. She has 3 Jersey cows that she milks. The dry periods are staggered throughout the year so she’s always milking 2 cows.

They were out frolicking in the 40 acres of pasture. In fact we weren’t sure if we were going to find them when we first arrived, but they finally came around. One of them thought my camera was a delicious cow treat and kept trying to eat it.

We made it home with a gallon of fresh raw milk. The cows we got milk from back in Ohio were Normandy cows. The Jersey milk is definitely different, much creamier. Milk is one of those funny things you always think it just tastes like milk until you start drinking pastured raw milk. Then you start to notice the changes that come throughout the seasons and from different cows.

Now that we’ve been drinking raw milk for many years I could never go back to the regular stuff. Even when we had to get lightly pasteurized milk from another small local dairy it always tasted boiled and weird to me. I’m happy that we should have enough options here in Maine to have a steady supply of raw milk all year long. Though I must admit, I’ll miss heading out to the farm on Thursdays and my chats with Dawn!

What product do you source locally or make at home that you could never buy the store/processed version again?

Friday Favorite: Our Cow

April 6th, 2012

I’m taking a break from the non-toxic cleaning series because – well, it takes a lot of time to write those posts and because the fact that when raw milk graces my fridge and my coffee once again it’s a source of much celebration here at Chiot’s Run.

Earlier this week, my friendly farmer e-mailed and said they could have fresh real milk for us this week. Why do we not get milk in the winter? Our farmers let their cows go dry in the winter, both for the sake of giving the cows a break, and for the sake of giving themselves a break. Lucky for us, there’s another small local dairy that offers pastured milk, it’s not raw, but it’s lightly pasteurized, the next best thing. It’s good, way better than grocery store milk, but once you’ve had good real fresh milk, everything else pales in comparison.

We dropped everything and went out to the farm to drop off our milk jars. We got to watch as the new calves were fed then our friendly farmers gave us a tour of all the pastures and told us all the cows names. I deemed this one as “The Morris Cow”. Her name is gluey and they were saying she’s homely & ugly, but I think she’s a real beauty.

Here in Ohio it’s illegal to buy raw milk, the only way it’s legal is to drink milk from your own cow. So we own a cow and we pay our friendly farmer to board her for us. We drive the few miles to the farm each week and pick up half gallon mason jars filled with rich creamy goodness. We love how the milk changes throughout the seasons depending on what the cows are eating. Fresh real milk from the farm is a true joy. It’s like most things, when you search out and have the best you really can never settle for anything less! Join me in dancing a little dance because our cups will be overflowing with fresh real milk until this coming December.

What local product are you most happy about when it’s available?

Join Us for the $5 Challenge & win a Prize

September 16th, 2011

As you know, I’m a big advocate for good, healthy local food. I keep up to date on what’s going on in the agricultural world, as well as the local and slow food movement. When Slow Food initiated their $5 Challenge I thought it was a great idea. I’m always trying to tell people that eating local seasonal food is not more expensive and this challenge sets out to prove just that. The goal is to cook healthy meal for less than what you would spend for a meal at a fast food restaurant. They emphasize that the food should fit the Slow Food ideal “food that is good for those who eat it, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet.”

THE CHALLENGE: This September 17, you’re invited to take back the ‘value meal’ by getting together with family, friends and neighbors for a slow food meal that costs no more than $5 per person. Cook a meal with family and friends, have a potluck, or find a local event.

WHY: Because slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food. If you know how to cook, then teach others. If you want to learn, this is your chance. Together, we’re sending a message that too many people live in communities where it’s harder to buy fruit than Froot Loops. Everybody should be able to eat fresh, healthy food every day.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED: Sign up for the challenge! You can cook a meal with friends and family, find a local event, or host your own event. When you sign up, we’ll send you $5 cooking tips.” Sign up for the challenge! You can cook a meal with friends and family, find a local event, or host your own event.

This isn’t really a “challenge” for me. We’ve been eating local, seasonal, slow food for quite a while. We even try to eat this way when we travel and when we’re on the run.

I’ll be getting together with a few friends tomorrow night and I’m in charge of the meal. Later today, I’m off to Local Roots to see what kinds of meals I could prepare for $5 a person. Of course I could make the entire meal with ingredients from my garden and some of the venison from the freezer and it would cost me only about $2 per person. But I think I’m going to purchase the ingredients for this challenge.

I have a few meal ideas knocking around in my head, like:

    • Crispy Sticky Chicken Thighs from Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life
    • Braised Beef Sandwiches like those ones I blogged about
    • Simple Roasted Chicken with seasonal vegetables
    • Pasta Primavera featuring homemade noodles with local eggs topped with seasonal vegetables and local cheese
    • Beef Roast with roasted root vegetables
    • Homemade pizza with various toppings & local cheese
    • Beef Stew with a crusty homemade peasant loaf
    • Caramelized Onion Soup topped with crusty bread and local cheese and a side salad
    • Ratatouille from seasonal vegetables
    • Mushroom Lasagna with local mushrooms and cheese with a fresh salad

    Having a small edible garden is a great way to save some cash on your food bill and it’s the ultimate slow food. I have a collection of Botanical Interests seed packs to give away to one lucky reader. All you have to do is comment a great meal idea that would cost less than $5 per person using “food that is good for those who eat it, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet.”

    So, who’s in? Any great ideas for inexpensive, delicious meals?

    Here’s a great Q&A with Josh Veirtel about the $5 Challenge and how it came about.

Reading & Watching

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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.