Yahoo!! Spring has sprung and, regardless of ticks and poisen ivey, I'm there!! Unfortunately, we had to sell our tractor last year that would have been able to turn over the spot where I would like to put our garden. And, it's been a bit wet. So we are late getting our ground prepared for it's new inhabitants. Chef Roland is a very good mechanic so, he has the privilege of working over an old rototiller we have to see if he can get it running. He's a diligent guy and I'm sure he will not give up until he has conquered that machine. Hopefully, we will be turning the soil over next weekend! (Rather, I should say, I will be wrestling with that thing in hopes of getting some seed into the ground.)
I have managed to get some flower seeds and roots into the soil, hoping to attract the many birds and butterflies that we have visit our place. I like keeping the critters happy and the pop of color is always nice during the growing season.
I really believe that spring is the season of hope and I do want to encourage and lift up by the articles that I post on our website. The age we live in seems a far cry from what we wish it would be. I know alot of us are wondering what direction history is taking us. I do believe that I would be negligent if I did not stop and take this opportunity to encourage you in becoming more responsible and involved in your personal food production. I'm sure there are alot of uncertainties for many of us and there are many of us who are blessed to go about our daily life without much difficulties. However, given the seemingly increasing instability of world economics and how they affect us ultimately through the global food market, I believe we must, at least, give some thought to the possibility that the food products we consume, could become more scarce or increasingly unaffordable, even to those with a more stable income.
With that said, I would like to post a link to a report that, I believe, gives a clear overview of world politics and how they do play a role in what you pay for food products and how those food products are becoming less available in the global food market. Please take a moment, even if you aren't too concerned with these issues, and read over the report before you dismiss it as not possible. If, after you read the article, you believe that there is a significant level of truth to the article, I would again like to encourage you to go out and invest whatever monies you can, even if it is just a few dollars and purchase seed to grow food for yourself. Many of us do not have a garden space available so, I would direct you to do an internet search on the subject of "container" gardening or "urban" gardening. You would be suprised what you can grow in a windowsill or on a balcony/patio. Also, don't be overly concerned about bug control or fertilizers. If you grow native plants they are very hardy. They and "heirloom" seeds reproduce themselves and you need to know that "hybrid" seeds DO NOT reproduce themselves. This is important to know because if food should be difficult to obtain, purchased seed will also be difficult to acquire.
You can do an internet search to find common items in your own home that are just as good (and better) than chemicals that are commonly advertised as necessities for gardening. I, myself, look for household tricks (such as diluted soapy water) and use implements like an old knife to garden with. I am, by no means, a gardener. In fact, this is really the first time in my life I've really made an effort to get some gardening done. Mine is small at this time but it is something and I am learning as I go. A good bug catcher I discovered that my family in France uses is empty soda bottles that have the "funnel" top cut off and inverted back into the bottle. They rig them up so that they can hang them in their fruit trees with a little sugar water in the bottom. The flies/bugs are attracted, go inside the container and can't seem to manage their way back out. I tried that last year, for the first time, and it helped to keep my persimmon fruit from having eggs laid in them.
Another direction I have been pursuing is to search out native plants that are, in fact, edible and nutritious. It's something I do for fun and as a hobby, at this time, and, who knows, maybe that information might come in handy should I get lost in the woods. :) I read that the new baby pine needle tips are extremely high in vitamin C and you can make tea out of them. Fun stuff to know. Did you know that the purple fruit and "leaves" of a prickly pear cactus are edible?? The fruit makes excellent jelly.
Another interesting way that you can become more involved in your own personal food production is to research and learn to "can" your own food at home. There are several techniques to process and preserve food and if you should come across a good deal in the store or famers' market, or your neighbor gifts you with some of the bounty of their own food production, you will able to "keep it back" for months to come. Food preservation is a good way to stretch your dollars in the food market.
Fine dinning, going out to our favorite restaurants to enjoy well made food with family and friends, and trying our own hand at culinary creations is always a true joy and blessing and I pray you have many. Always take a moment to consider helping out your local food banks and discover what types of food/garden programs are in your area. Get involved and "play" with your food!!
Here is the link: http://www.offthegridnews.com/otgNCurrent/Food_Shock.pdf
No one can dispute that delicious food is reason enough to appreciate the culinary arts. I like to bring up articles that also focus on the essential benefit of eating, as well. Eating good quality food, loaded with the nutrients that human bodies utilize to support all aspects of life, is the payoff that we all want and need. I don't think we appreciate enough how everything we eat contributes to our own good or bad health. So, this post is to bring your attention to the necessary nutrients your body needs to help it have a healthy, strong life.
While in San Antonio moving my parents, I happened to read over an article in the San Antonio Express-News (a real newspaper!) that got me to thinking. The article focused on the notion that there are just some tools that are absolutely necessary to produce food. And, there is definately no argument against that fact. However, as with many passionate pursuits, practioners often indulge in the "latest and greatest", aspiring to reach perfection. The article went on to canvas many individuals in the culinary arts, inquiring as to what was the one tool that they could not work without to get the desired results in their production of culinary delights.
As I read over the listed responses, I felt I needed to encourage those of you who are new to the field and those that have set their sights on culinary fame. Watching my husband, Chef Roland Parny, work in so many different environments, many times in kitchens he had never visited previously, I am always amazed at his sense of ingenuity and adapability. He can take the most primitive and challenging situation and "throw together" a delicious presentation of "whatever is on hand", working with whatever is available.
I'm sure there are many people that believe they have to have certain culinary tools (great to work with) and particular ingredients BEFORE they ever try their hand at producing something in the kitchen. Of course, there are basic tools, such as a knife, that are standard to any culinary project. But, even without a knife, when one appreciates the charachteristics that each food item contributes to the nutritional needs and tasting experience, great food experiences can be enjoyed in even the most primitive environment!
One of the programs that Chef Roland offers is a culinary class that can be presented in your own home with you and a gathering of your friends. It's a wonderful time to spend making memories as you and others work together to produce and enjoy your very own dining experience. Whether you have the most sophisticated cookware or grandmother's hand-me-downs, a great culinary experience can be yours! Feel free to contact us with any questions you have or let us know if you would like to book a class today.
Whew!!! We moved our parents from Texas to Missouri.....what a job!! It's not quite over; after 1 good-sized trailer and two 26footers, we have to go back to retrieve our vehicle and bring another good-sized trailer with us! It's going to be a looooooooong fall as we begin the tedious process of unpacking and sorting through as we downsize their home. It's all good, though, as it's a huge blessing to have them near so that we can be of assistance to them.
I've missed posting to our blog so I thought I would hop online tonight and get a little something posted. What came to mind were some wonderful figs that I purchased in a French village market we visited while in France. I love figs and they are so versatile. I can eat them fresh and raw and they are delicious.
I've included a little info link regarding figs and a receipe that I think would be fun. Fall is just around the "corner" and I thought this receipe would be a good one to work on during the end of summer so that you can perfect it for a festive fall meal with family and friends.
I really don't know how to convey the understanding that bread is a vital and beloved element of the French Food Culture. Bread seems almost sacred to them. When Roland began to introduce me to the world of bread I was one of those that believed that "the cheaper, the better". I had absolutely no concept of what quality bread even looked like. I had heard of sourdough bread but I had no clue as to the difference between artificially manufactured sourdough and naturally made sourdogh. I was amazed the first time I saw him peeling apples that would become part of the fermentation process that would be the start of our incredible homemade sourdough bread. Roland loves to make bread and during the winter months it's an especially nice treat to have the warmth and smell of fresh baked bread floating around!
I have some pics of various French Breads from our culinary tour, A Taste of LeBerry, that we took in 2010. Unfortunately, I've not got them posted in our photo journal, as yet. As soon as I return to Missouri from Texas, I'll try to get those up. Who knows? Maybe you will be enticed to make your own bread. Roland is available for cooking classes in your home. What a fun experience for you and a group of your friends to learn to make your own bread. Contact us for our various cooking classes and pricing.
Here are some articles I found of some who truely appreciate the experience of French Bread:
When Roland and I met, I was one of those people who opened the box or can and warmed up the family meal. After our marriage in 2005, I truely began to appreciate what food is really about, not only that it can taste very good, and be nutritious, but that it can be a celebration of who you are and the people that you share it with.