Monday, October 10, 2011

Learning about Geography through Food - Vermont

The third state we learned about as part of the multi-year, multi-disciplinary study of the United States was Vermont. Sophia, Olivia, and I enjoyed traveling through Vermont last month, and sampling some of the food produced there including:

- Ben & Jerry's ice cream. In 1978, Ben & Jerry's was established in Burlington, Vermont, in a renovated gas station. What we liked about this company was that, when possible, they purchase ingredients from local farmers. They also have a strong commitment to giving back to the community through service.

The girls outside Ben & Jerry's factory.
We went on a tour and enjoyed samples afterwards.

- Chocolate from Lake Champlain Chocolates. This company, likewise, also supports local farmers and the community through service. All the butter, cream, and milk they use in their products comes from Vermont farmers.

We learned how chocolate candies were made,
and tasted samples of chocolate and candies during the tour.

The girls also purchased some maple syrup since Vermont is the number one producer of maple syrup in the United States. We had hoped to visit a farm where maple syrup is produced, but the one we planned on seeing was inaccesible due to the hurricane and flood that affected that area only a week prior to our trip there.

When we returned home, we studied about Vermont in greater depth. One way Sophia and Olivia are learning about the different states in the United States is through cooking. For Vermont, they made several recipes from Eating Your Way Through the U.S.A.: Roast Turkey, Stuffing, Maple-Coated Walnuts, and Baked Apples.

Vermont's ninth top commodity product is turkey. This follows dairy products, cattle, and chicken eggs amongst other non-livestock products.

Rather than roast an entire turkey, the girls roasted two turkey legs. They seasoned the meat with a variety of spices and then put it in the oven while they made other items for dinner.

Roasted Turkey Legs. The girls both enjoyed this recipe.


The stuffing recipe in Eating Your Way Through the U.S.A. included three hard-boiled eggs in addition to the staples - like bread, mushrooms, onions, butter, and broth. There also some ingredients that I typically don't use - like nutmeg and mace.

Normally, I use sage and rosemary as the primary spices when making dressing, so this was an interesting change from what we typically eat at Thanksgiving.

Stuffing to go with the turkey.

Maple-Coated Walnuts

The recipe in Eat Your Way Through the U.S.A. suggested using walnuts. However, none of us like walnuts, so we chose a combination of mixed nuts. Using maple syrup and water, we made a glaze on the stove, mixed it with the nuts, and then baked the nuts and glaze in the oven.

Maple-Coated Mixed Nuts.

The girls liked this recipe. The only challenge is that it is rather sticky. Having a wet cloth nearby to clean your hands is necessary. Other than that, we enjoyed this treat.

Sophia and Olivia enjoying a Vermont-inspired meal.

Baked Apples

We made baked apples with brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, and dairy-free butter. It was an easy recipe, and baked while we ate dinner. When we were done eating, we took the apples out of the oven and tried them. 

Sophia and I liked the baked apples; and Olivia didn't. I remember when I was growing up and we would have baked apples for dessert. Each person would pour some cream into the bowl along with their apple. The girls and I used the light syrup that was in the pan instead to pour over the baked apples.

Trio of baked apples.


Fairy Tale Mama said...

Did you make it to the Cabot Cheese Factory? That's my fave food related stop in VT. :-)

Lisa said...

This is fascinating to travel through the states via food. I didn't know that turkeys were such a big parent of Vermont's food production. I do know about Ben and Jerry's though and yum!