They say you are what you eat. And that applies to countries and cultures as much as individuals. The food in our mouths defines us in far more fundamental and visceral terms than the gas in our tanks or the lines on a map. So it's not surprising that the most important questions of global politics often boil down to: What should we eat?
Stars pierced the clear, cold, predawn sky last January 19 when Dean Pierson, a fifty-nine-year-old dairy farmer from the hamlet of Copake, New York, headed out of the house to milk the fifty-one cows on Hi-Low Farm, as he did every morning, and as his father, a Swedish immigrant, had done before him. Neighbors say that Pierson was a taciturn man whose limited leisure time was spent in solitary outdoor pursuits like hunting and fishing. But he was always willing to help a neighbor. Pierson, they said, was "a good farmer," high praise in rural Columbia County, a region of rolling fields, woodlots, and small towns about 115 miles north of Manhattan. Although he was married with four children, Pierson worked the farm alone, which meant that he had to toil virtually every waking hour. Even so, with milk selling for far below the cost to produce it, no matter how hard he worked, Pierson kept falling further behind. That morning, he intended to end the problem.
Fried green tomatoes are great all summer long, but just the ticket for using those end of the year tomatoes that aren’t going to ripen before that first frost hits or for those who can’t help but jump the gun on those early yield crops. Fried green tomatoes have been around since at least the late 1800′s, but its origins are disputed, including credible arguments that they were first served up in the (*gasp*) Midwest or Northeast. Although already identified with Southern cuisine, its fate was sealed with the 1987 publication of Fannie Flagg’s Southern drenched novel “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” (come on now, did you really think we’d make it though this without mentioning it?).
One of the hardest parts of trying to cook affordably and well is figuring out vegetables. Fundamental to good eating, vegetables present all sorts of hurdles. They’re often expensive; they’re perishable—if you don’t get to them as quickly as you’d like, you watch your money wilt and liquefy—and unless you buy them cut up, which isn’t as good a bargain as it appears, they’re labor intensive.
No, the image above does not some show some collection of freshly genetically designed hypercarrots in various colors of the rainbow. This is the spectrum of colors carrots used to have – and in some regions of the world you can still find white, yellow, red and purple carrots. In most countries however, carrots tend to be orange nowadays. Why is that?
Many people like the flavor of hams that have been cured country style. Their characteristic flavor is quite different from mild-cured commercial hams.
Hams should be placed in cure during December and January when production of country cured hams is dependent on natural conditions for refrigeration. This will help ensure production of sound cured and aged hams that will have acquired their characteristic flavor and aroma by midsummer. Unless mechanical refrigeration is available, hams should not be placed in cure after January. Depending on their size, hams need 30 to 40 days of cool weather (less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit night temperature) to prevent spoilage.
Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" is a favorite adage in both frugal and green circles, and it is something I strive to live by. One of the best ways to "use it up" is to think differently about our food and ways to avoid wasting it. Lloyd wrote a great post a while back about the statistics for how much food we waste in the U.S., and the numbers are, frankly, appalling. On average, we waste 14% of our food purchases per year, and the average American family throws out over $600 of fruit per year.
This dish, also known as Kung Pao chicken, has the curious distinction of having been labelled as politically incorrect during the Cultural Revolution. It is named after a late Qing Dynasty (late nineteenth-century) governor of Sichuan, Ding Baozhen, who is said to have particularly enjoyed eating it – gong bao was his official title. This association with an Imperial bureaucrat was enough to provoke the wrath of the Cultural Revolution radicals, and it was renamed ‘fast-fried chicken cubes’ (hong bao ji ding) or ‘chicken cubes with seared chillies’ (hu la ji ding) until its political rehabilitation in the 1980s.
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