Often, fresh nutritional food is spoken of as "fresh from the garden". I want to bring to your attention that there's food in "them there woods". On one of our trips to France, I have a fond memory of going out looking for chestnut trees on the side of the road with my husband, Chef Roland, and his parents. It was a wonderful experience for all of us and a great reason to go for an outing. They are in their late 80's and you could tell they really enjoyed being our guides to a choice spot and that they were able to "pass down" part of their food culture to me, their American daughter-in-law who had never harvested chestnuts in the wild. It was beyond a Kodak moment. After we located and gleened the chestnuts from a quaint country French farm road, we took them home where Chef Roland's mother cooked up a scrumptious chestnut soup for part of our evening meal. That experience beat out anything else France had to offer! Since I've not been diligent to post anything for the holidays, I will make this my contribution because ,really, it's about family and memories. So, I've posted a link for a nice chestnut recipe. Unfortunately, they are a little expensive in the store. However, you can contact the Missouri Department of conservation and purchase a bundle of chestnut trees for a nominal cost and start your own chestnut orchard!!
Merry Christmas & Bon Appetit!
Something I feel like I've known most of my adult life is that eating fresh food from your own garden is simply the best. Unfortunately, that's not how I have lived my life. Convenience, poor habits and temptation have been key factors in my developing unhealthy eating habits. I also believe what others, and myself, have believed to be "good food" has been a misnomer. When I was very young, I thought eating a whole bowl of artificial whipped cream was "eating good", at least until my mother gave me the opportunity to sit down and have the whole bowl to myself. Suffice to say, my concept of "all the whipped cream I could eat" was no longer on my list of "good foods to eat". Personal food culture, which can involve alot of different factors, including our emmotions, usually dictates what our eating habits and good food concepts are going to be. I posted a good 'common sense' article link today that I think gives a down-to-earth assesment of common sense eating.
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
I've already admitted to you all that I'm the food/cooking novice in the family. Maybe that's a good thing? You know, they say that "too many cooks spoil the broth" and I know that for sure, I don't want to have to compete with Chef Roland in the kitchen. But, I decided that this year, I'm going to put it on my "list" to start trying my hand at various dishes, with the intention of cooking Christmas Dinner for my family (if any are brave enough to come) next year. I've been reading over some recipes, seeing which ones I'll try first and have found one for my soup and one for my first course that I'm not going to reveal until I know I can succeed. I'll keep you posted as to my progress!
One of the recipes calls for sultanas and when I come across a food word that is new to me, I like to pass that information on to those of you who are Gourmet Beginners, like me. The new word is "sultanas" and even if you know what they are, I think you will find the link I'm using to be informational and entertaining.
I did manage to make a couple of different kinds of cookies for the holiday that I am gifting to others (if I can manage not to eat them all up) and think they are a bit different than the usual fare I see others preparing. I made chocolate shortbread and thumpprint cookies with apricot preserve centers. They are delicious, if I may say so without bragging. They're simple enough and I found the recipes in a magazine.
If you would like to share stories or comments about your christmas cookie experiences this season, please submit them via our blog comment box and I'll be happy to post them. Sometimes the stories are just as good as the cookies, if not better!
Definition of Sultanas: http://www.ochef.com/676.htm
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year & Bon Appetit!
I have profusely admitted that I am not "the cook" of the family. But, since becoming married to Chef Roland, who has made of career out of food preparation and service, I have become enamored with people who are enamored with the love of cooking. When people speak of their cooking/food experiences, it affects their whole demeanor, they radiate, they swoon, they go into a reverie. It's truly a love. I'm jealous but, I am fascinated by their stories.
Today, my parents and I had the pleasure of visiting with a pastor of a local church that we had attended. As he was telling of a recent event at the church where people brought food, he also told us of his wonderful cake that he had contributed. I watched his face and body language as he went into great detail of the construction of the cake, one that replicated the very cake his mother always presented him on his birthday as a young boy growing up. He was in the moment and it was wonderful to watch and listen as he presented his virtual cake to us. Now, I'm inspired to start collecting "love stories" of cooking experiences of friends and family. I would like to invite anyone who visits our site to take this opportunity to share with all of us, your favorite cooking story, the one where you knew you "loved to cook", the funny one that was a blast to create even though it fell short of your hoped for expectations, or the one where you carefully constructed a delectable dish as an act of love for someone special. Feel free to use our comment box and inspire us all to "fall in love" with cooking.
I'll add a few articles to the mix just to give you a little taste:
Be patient with me. I'm excited about the following article. As I was looking for information regarding salmon and their natural predators (I know I'm weird), I came across something interesting that really got me to thinking. (Danger! Danger!)
I would like to challenge you to read the article, remembering that it's an article put out by Cornell Lab of Ornithology (which is the study of birds). As you read the article, pay specific attention, looking for the word "nutrients". I don't know if you will agree, but I thought the article was a perfect example of how there is a naturally occuring system in place to provide nutrients to the food supply (reference, "greater fruit production"). I also thought it was amazing to see how the nutrients in the sea, the wild salmon, the natural waterways, the birds and the plantlife all worked together to get the nutrients where they could provide life giving chemistry in a natural setting.
I am no "greenie" but, I do believe that there is a relationship between all aspects of nature that is, in fact, a delicate, determined system that was put in place, in a naturally occuring manner, that was specifically designed to provide sustenance for the inhabitants of the Earth and I, personally (me, Elaine) believe that nothing can replace or out perform this one-of-a-kind system. We, all of us, better wise up - FAST!
We should all know that "globalism" is not a new concept. Due to trade routes and the exchange of ideas through world leadership, in one way or another, we all influence one another. I am a huge proponent of nationalism and the promotion of one's own national culture. However, there is no denying we've all taken ideas from one another and tweaked them to satisfy our own likes and dislikes. With that said, I would like to offer you some articles on French Culinary History that I think give a good overview of the progression of French Gastronomy and how it affects us today.
We all get booboo's, you know the "ouchies" of life. When those feelings of being overwhelmed, fatiqued, stressed, sad, afraid or alone hit us, we all reach for something to make "it" all feel better. We have a vast array of hurts and frustrations and, as well, there is as much a difference in what we think to ingest to diffuse the feelings that "it" brings into our lives.
So, today, I am presenting an article on the subject of Comfort Foods that offers several different angles on the subject. The one that got my attention, but isn't so focused on making "it" feel better, is that many people enjoy eating for a sense of nostalgia where that our experience of food sometimes has a strong connection to a different time and place in our lives that has left a deep feeling connected to that time. We all have some food that we enjoy that reminds of grandmother or prom or a special visit to a distant or unusual location.
While on our culinary tour, A Taste of LeBerry, it was a fun moment when Chef Roland gave instuction to those in the group as to how to use their new crepe pans that they purchased in Paris. Hopefully, that memory will be something for them that will be relived everytime they have the opportunity to make crepes for their friends and family.
A cooking class in your own home with friends and family is always a great way to make memories. We hope you will consider having a cooking class with Chef Roland for your next entertaining event. If you have any questions regarding our packages, you can contact us through our web contact page or email to : firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following article goes quite in depth on the subject of Comfort Food. I hope you find something in the article that enlightens you as to why you search out a particular food. As well, I hope that you are having many opportunities to make memories sharing your cooking experiences with friends and family!
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.