Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Culinary Revival!


We are in the midst of a contemporary revival of almost-lost kitchen arts coupled with a newfound respect for food integrity and healthful living. In a welcome departure from our recent history of fast, global, and often anonymous food, America is developing a palate and a passion for fresh, seasonal fare as well as a growing respect for the farmers and artisan craftspeople who work so hard to produce it.

Until fairly recently (certainly within the past couple of generations) families harvested crops in the fall and stored enough food to get them through until the next harvest. They were frugal by necessity; nothing was allowed to go to waste. A routine part of housekeeping involved mastering a battery of various preserving skills that customarily were passed from generation to generation.

These days we have strawberries in December, oranges throughout the year, and goods from around the world shipped to the shelves of the grocery store. We have access to a diet rich in variety and seemingly independent of geographic or seasonal boundaries. However, preservatives and other additives that lengthen shelf life and allow foods to withstand the rigors of world travel are being held responsible for more and more health issues, and a quickly expanding national waistline proves that more is not always better. Paired with soaring food costs we find ourselves helplessly dependent on a food web completely outside our control.

More and more of us are digging in to discover regional foods and farmers markets, eagerly anticipating the shifting bounty at local u-pick stands. We're learning a new calendar of seasonal crops and planning our meals-and gardens-to reflect this awareness. There is a heartfelt satisfaction in the kitchen of a gardening household when homegrown food becomes a delicious meal on the table. Not only are you producing clean, healthy food free of preservatives and toxins, but the savings in your food budget can be generous, and you're receiving maximum value in nutrition and health. And the flavors-oh my!

BE A PART OF A CULINARY REVIVAL.  Re-learn a not-lost art with Canning & Preserving Your Own Harvest by Carla Emery & Lorene Forkner.

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