Sunday, February 21, 2016

In Winter's Kitchen - Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks - Week 8

This week I read In Winter's Kitchen by Beth Dooley. The library just acquired the book so I was happy to have the opportunity to read it after hearing good things about it.

I enjoyed the book and the author's style of writing. It was very different than what I thought it would be (more of a cookbook). The chapters are focused on particular agricultural crops and feature farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin who are farming organically and/or in an innovative way.

Some of the parts of the book that I want to remember include:
- In the market, I might find the life I wanted, guided by memories of those I loved and all that I'd left behind.
- The farmers' market was more than the source of a wee's fresh produce; it was a wellspring of inspiration, a weekly calendar of the land's bounty.
- Since the 1960s we've lost an estimated four out of five apple varieties unique to North America, many of which once grew in the Great Lakes region.
- A diverse orchard is a secure orchard because different trees will respond differently to the pressures of weather, pests, and disease.
- Apples embody the endless qualities of motherhood: of risk, comfort, and promise.
- Some say the apples doesn't fall far from the tree, but as our sons mature, I watch myself becoming the child of my children, just as my father sought parental comfort from me.
- As I witness my sons' journeys into adulthood, I vicariously experience their delights and disappointments, a privilege and a curse. I seem to grow older and younger at once, as the child I was, the mother I used to be, and the grandmother I hope to become collapse together.
- German Mennonites brought the best variety (of wheat) Turkey red, to Kansas. IT's a high-gluten grain that makes beautiful flour and wonderful bread.
- The word focaccia, the Italian flatbread, is derived from the Latin word focus, meaning hearth or fireside, the focus of the family and home.
- Modern wheat is unsustainable...We are witnessing the near elimination of diverse strains of wheat, vital to human and environmental health and food security. It requires tremendous amounts of toxic chemicals to grow and process this crop.
- Diversity is essential to our food security.
- GMO crops requires 30 percent more chemicals than non-GMO crops.
- (Commercial potatoes) are bred to size, weight, and starch specifications. TO grow, they're heavily sprayed with toxic chemicals that dull their lives with a white bloom.
- Potatoes are especially porous and absorb everything in the soil as they grow. Thus, when we eat potatoes sprayed with toxins we're ingesting compounds the Environmental Protection Agency has deemed dangerous.
- In June 2014, the British Journal of Nutrition found that potatoes treated with fungicides early in the season, herbicides before harvest, and sprouting retardants contained high levels of dangerous chemicals and metals. Organic potatoes, chemical free, were far higher in antioxidants, minerals, calcium, potassium, and zinc.
- This is what it takes to create a life - the belief that no matter one's day job, the real work is at home and with yourself.
- We do more than just sell's about community involvement, pride, mentorship, and empowerment.
- The St. Paul's West Side Farmers Market: the graphic-design group makes t-shirts; woodworkers build flower boxes, garden whirligigs, toys, and plant stakes. In collaboration with a neighborhood paper, the journalism group publishes a newsletter. The sewing group makes lavender sachets. Lucia Watson helped the group collect recipes from local celebrity chefs for the cookbook. All items are then sold at the markets.
- By 1943....victory gardens produced nearly 40 percent of an American household's food. By comparison, in 2014, a mere 8 percent of our produce comes from local sources, even during the growing season.
- Continued unchecked "Generation Wired" will live shorter lives than their parents.
- When kids learn to preserve food, opening the jar of homemade tomato sauce or dilly beans conjures summer memories and links them back to the garden, to light and hope and warmth yet to come.
- Hmong farmers have introduced over 23 new varieties of fruits and vegetables to our markets along with vibrant herbs and spices.
- Hmong proverb: "Whether you eat or not, at least hold a spoon; whether you laugh or not, at least force a smile."
- The role of food is to help support a healthy, whole person, a positive person who contributes to the community. When you eat good food, you feel good, and you're motivated to do good things and so everyone benefits.
- I'd wake before sunrise just to savor the quiet, the whole house tucked in sleep, breathing in unison.

After reading the book, I'd like to:
* Try to find the T.E.Pippin apple.
* Visit Hoch Orchard, St. Paul's West Side Farmers Market, and Featherstone Farm. In Wisconsin, go to Wetherby Cranberry Company and Love Tree Farm (Grantsburg) for sheep cheese.
* Try grinding our own cardamom and nutmeg.
* Try Turkey Red Wheat by Sunrise Flour Mill in North Branch, Minnesota.
* Fin a recipe for laarb - traditional lettuce-wrapped mix of chopped beef, mint, basil, and bean sprouts seasoned with ginger, fish sauce, chilies, and lime.
* Go to Tomah for the world's largest cranberry festival.
* See if Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping is available at any libraries. It's a very old book.
* Look up Ark of Taste which is an initiative to protect heritage and endangered foods threatened by agricultural standardization.
* See if Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America is available through the library.

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