The Town That Food Saved

This book is subtitled “How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food”. Ben Hewitt lives near Hardwick, Vermont, where a new agripreneur movement has rooted in the rich soil of longstanding local agriculture. You may have placed an order with High Mowing Seeds – the company is based in Hardwick. As a farmer Hewitt is deeply interested in the future of food. As a journalist he seems to be able to get anyone to talk to him. He interviewed old-timers and newcomers, visionaries and pragmatists, to come up with a capsule description of a town which is self-consciously working to rebuild a genuinely local, reasonably complete food system. Hewitt outlines four qualites of a viable local agriculture: It must offer economic vitality to small-scale food producers. Farming has to pay off for the farmers. It must be based on sunshine. Chemical and petroleum based fertilizers will eventually run out, might … Continue reading

American food

I picked up this little cookbook at Kitchen Karousel in Poulsbo. Titled Unforgettable, 100 Years of Timeless American Recipes, its chapters cover a decade each, from 1900 to 1999. Skimming through the book in the store, I was hooked! The recipes read like an overview of my childhood. Waldorf salad…swiss steak…sandwich loaf…sloppy joes…german chocolate cake. These are classic recipes that outline a cuisine. Each chapter includes small historical nuggets. It’s an easy read, nostalgic and fascinating, and inexpensive too. … Continue reading

Stillwaters cookbook

I signed up for a membership at the Stillwaters Environmental Education Center on Saturday. The membership came with a copy of the cookbook “Stillwaters Samplings”, recipes from Stillwaters staff and friends. This is a generous collection of home cooking favorites, from appetizers to desserts, all made with simple ingredients and home kitchen techniques. I’m looking forward to trying deviled beets, grilled curry chicken, and orange cake. I think the book’s worth the price just for the Navajo Taco recipe – I’ve got to try the fry bread! You can order the book from the online store, or drop by the center and pick up a copy. Links: Stillwaters online store … Continue reading

Artisan bread

I’ve got a stack of bread books in the cupboard. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois’ book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is my favorite. They use a no-knead technique. The basic idea is to keep a big batch of dough in the refrigerator, then take out a piece and bake it every day. The book isn’t limited to just this one technique though. It covers types of breads (boule, baguette, brioche), how to shape them, how to bake them properly in a home oven, and tasty treats to add into them or spread on them. It’s my go-to bread book when I want to learn or look something up fast. I wouldn’t represent my bread as artisan exactly, but this book de-mystified the process and put daily bread within my reach. Links: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day … Continue reading