Sunday, September 17, 2006

Toward the end of our slow food night, we started to get a little silly, maybe it was those beet greens kicking in, but here's what it looked like.

"Toni, cucumber over and visit?"

"I'd love to, but I have a date with my garden- my carrots need some extra attention,"

Here is Toni and Jenie singing that James Taylor song:......"Shower the people you love with veges, show them the way that you feel...."
Slow Food Night #3

Thanks ya'll for coming. Thanks Paul for letting our beets bleed purple all over your cutting board, for allowing the random acts of green grape tossing and for letting us pile all those swedish meatball and greasy potatoe pancake plates into your clean sink. ( we did help you clean up- Toni mostly). Also, for letting us put the ice-cream maker in your bathtub (wouldn't want it to leak on your hardwood floors.)

Millie and Andrew, Toni's friends from Ghana brought a dish made with plantains- Toni needs to tell you about it, Millie told a great story. Another couple from Ghana came as well, Joseph and his wife...

Paul made a type of ghoulash thing- red beans and rice with ham hocks and sausage, thyme, parika, cayenne, celery seed and lots of love. I think Paul also read William Carlos Williams poetry to his ghoulash as it was cooking. "so much depends on a pot of red beans, glazed with paprika beside the red ham hocks." Something like that.

Stacy brought her grandpa's recipe of potato pancakes.

Chris brought his appetite and news of himself breaking a land record (ask him about it.)

I (Jenie) tried to duplicate my meticulous gourmet cooking grandmother's swedish meatballs. In the end, I made them the way my family makes them (except I did sneak in some nutmeg, that's for you Gram.) I added a creme sauce at the end.

Andrea brought rolls and butter.

Toni made homemade icecream. A family recipe. Very tasty.

More stories to come!!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Next food nite, bring soul food or food that's a family favorite or family recipe...

Friday, September 08, 2006

This is Toni, I and Stacy at the first slow food night...
Paul- He can Slow Food Waltz with the best of 'em. He's our resident poet and maker of Grandma Rawlins applesause and chocolate chip cookies-- He wrote the following story "Gift of Soup" which was recently featured on Radio West. Tune in.....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Gift of Soup
It’s your grandmother who explains it, hands still wet from the dishwater, twisitng a gold ring onto a wide-mouthed jar: how quart bottles work as well as anything, the same jar, maybe, that held the corn or tomatoes, if the lid isn’t too puckered. If you pop the lids off with the ring, that doesn’t happen the way it does with an opener, and they’re still a good fit, not leak proof, but tight. Or you can cap the bottle with plastic wrap and a rubber band, or tinfoil if you’re going to be careful. A bowl with a snug lid, that’s fine of course, but most times people aren’t so worried about getting bottles back. Canning jars trade around like a cold: a quart of cherries or bottled pears goes out to a daughter or a neighbor, peaches or tomato juice come back from home.
Put the soup in warm, and it will stay that way awhile. Wrap the bottle in something, a dishtowel or some newspaper, and it will still be right to eat when whoever you’ve given it gets home or where they’re going. Riding next to someone on a seat, the warmth itself will bring on appetite like the smell of cooking. When she did this for your father (or your mother), traveling off to school or back to the city after a holiday, she’d send a plastic spoon, so later they could eat straight from the jar, the soup still lukewarm, while a friend drove. They’d have that one good meal to get them started, and for as long as it took for the taste to fade, the lid to be screwed tight and the bottle put away, they’d miss where they had been, and that’s good for children who’ve begun to leave home.
Something hearty’s best—don’t send out a jar of something thin and fine, French onion or bouillon. The exception being a quart of stock as starter, which is like a cutting off a plant or the old loaning of an ember from a hearth to kindle a new fire. Better, though, to send rough-cut vegetable, rich with stew beef or big crumbs of hamburger. Chicken with good thick noodles—like her own, simmering on the range top and giving off the scent of celery and mild onion. Potato. A chowder. Stew. Something meant to make a meal, or even two. Tomato if it’s homemade, turkey with carrots and rice, beans with ham, split pea (if you like it), minestrone, goulash, the family chili, meaty gumbo.
There are rules to know. She looks at you sharply here because she believes propriety, the binding weave of social order, is lost to your generation. When it’s you on the receiving end, take care, on occasion, to rinse the jar and return it with a spray of bachelor buttons, the ones that grow along your porch; snapdragons from beside the fence; the columbine that winds around the backyard tap. Fill it full of M&Ms or butter mints, licorice, jelly beans, bridge mix or sour balls. Drop a note inside, or you can send a little card. This is not done in exchange; it’s a separate gift. And it’s not done every time—you don’t barter with affection. (If she only knew!) Don’t return soup for soup, just as you would never give back a pie plate with another pie: it feels like competition.
When you’re the giver, tell the son or daughter—brother, neighbor, stranger, bachelor, guest, friend—that the soup will be better on the second day. There’s a richness that comes with time and the close association of ingredients. Tell them to add a little salt if they need to. Tell them it’s good with bread and butter, cheese if they have it, a dish of fruit.
When they say thank you, just say you’re welcome. Don’t make apologies for your cooking.
She explains how she’ll sit and think of them the next day at noon, at the table where you sit down with her now, watching rain run down the window, steam twist up from an old pink bowl. She sends them a good thought, or a prayer, she says; then, unsure anymore of how you believe, she falters and settles on: just some good wish. You smile, butter bread for both of you. You pass plates and salt, eat while your cups are full.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

This is a sego lily, when we were kids, we ate the roots sometimes on walks. Mom said the Indians used to eat them and that they showed the Mormon pioneers how to pop them out of the ground to eat.
The brunch was very tasty. We scooped fresh blueberries blackberries and applesauce onto german pancakes and topped it with fresh whipped creme. Paul told a story about whipping creme in South Africa when he was a missionary there. A group of boys were standing around and one woman insisted Paul whip the creme because he was being a smart aleck. I scrambled the chicken eggs with green onions and topped it with feta cheese bought from Drake's family goat farm. Paul made fried potatoes he said his family liked to eat with fresh garden tomatoes. Jen brought some apricots she'd picked from her backyard tree and frozen. She made smoothies-- a family favorite. She said her family liked to make shakes and smoothies in the morning for breakfast.

When Toni made the pancackes, she told a story about her mother, how she wasn't a particularly avid cook, but sometimes she'd make something special to surprise the kids. Once day she wowed her kids with the bubbly tasty german pancakes like the ones she served us that day. Toni is very close to her mother.

Stacy our resident Arizonian brought fresh-made salsa from chilies, cilantro, onions and tomotoes she picked. Stacy said her mom had a garden when she was growing up and she'd go pick tomatoes, chilies and fresh limes and make salsa. Knowing how to make salsa seems like a requirement to living in the Southwest. Stacy taught Toni how to make her brand of salsa last week after the brunch. Toni had a batch of it in her fridge yesterday. The salsa was great.

Duane brought elk meat that we were going to make into omelettes. But it seemed too labor-intensive when we got down to it, so people added it to the potatoes or eggs. Almost everyone tried some elk meat. Duane bagged the elk in the mountains around Carbon Canyon and hauled it out on the back of a horse. (SEE NEXT TWO ENTRIES ABOUT ELK MEAT, HUNTING...)

Eating the elk meat Duane brought reminded me of my Dad.

I grew up eating the stuff. Every year my dad went out into the woods to bring home our dinner for the next year. There are 7 children in our family and my dad worked as a carpenter, spending his days raising pine two-by-fours along the edges of the Rocky Mountains. He didn't make much money as a carpenter in a small Idaho town. To make up for the slim paycheck, he had to bag an elk every year- getting that elk was a nine-mouthed necessity- (there are nine in my fam.) He also caught and brought home fish from the Snake River.

Eating the elk meat reminded me of how Dad always provided for us, was hard working and how connected he was to the land. I remember him hauling home the elk and hanging it by its legs from the back shed. It was really gross. But it didn't seem to matter when it came time to eat it. Maybe I didn't make the connection between that dead elk and the process of quartering it, taking it to the meatcutter and bringing it back wrapped in nice little packages marked: "cubed steak" "elk roast" "elk burger" "sirloin tip," and "elk round" etc.

I just knew all those white irregular-shaped packages in the freezer were what we would be eating for the rest of the year along with our huckleberries, morrell mushrooms the peppermint tea we found by the banks of the creek and the pink and white flesh of rainbow trout and brook trout.
I asked Duane some questions about hunting.

Q: Do you think elk meat is healthier than store-bought beef?

I've heard that grass-fed beef is healthier has more of the beneficial Omega fatty acids. Elk would have the same, it's leaner and lower cholesterol. The grain that they feed to fatten them up before they slaughter them is not as good for you. The elk feed mostly on grass and they eat flowering plants like daisies and shrubs, etc.

Q:Where did you get the elk:

I was nine-mile canyon in Carbon Canyon, up by Mount Bartles in the Book Cliffs. It was one clean shot, no thrashing around or anything, it was a clean kill, we'd been up, we took care of it, the next day we rode up and got it. It was the 6th day of hunting.

Q: I've heard that some hunters like to take the liver out first and eat it while they are still camping out.

They say that fresh liver is really good. You shoot it and take the liver right out that day and they say it's really good. But what I've tasted isn't very good.

Q: What do you like about eating wild game verses store-bought meat?

I don't want to eat corporation meat. On the one hand, I don't like to kill stuff, but I'd rather have wild meat than corporation meat. There's not many corporations that control the meat we consume, it seems like. It's a more satisfying feeling when you are involved in the process of getting it. Plus you don't have any farm land that you have to plow up to feed the animals.

Q: Explain that a little more:

In order to feed beef, you need so many acres to grow alfalaf and grain, it's better to have farmland rather than development-- everything comes at a cost. But beef takes up a lot resources. But I guess if they didn't have farms, they'd just build houses on it. With hunting, at least you know the meat is coming from land that's wild land and wild habitat.