Thursday, April 28, 2011


Our children learn from us in so many ways. Taking the time to cook not only for them but also with them is just one way to help teach your children well.

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Food Is CultureCreating and serving a meal does not have to be a chore, returning to the world of slow food should be a celebration. Involving your family in the rituals of food preparation teaches them how to care for themselves, as well as others. Cooking latently involves reading, math, and science, as well as creativity. Time spent cooking together, sharing stories, choosing fresh, healthy options, learning where food comes from, the different ways to prepare a meal, then sitting to down enjoy the rewards together is a wonderful way to keep the family connected in this busy and often impersonal world.

Millions of people feel the same way I do about food, family, and history. The proof is in the pudding as they say, but do not just take my word, turn on the television, you can see this sentiment regularly reflected there. Take Anthony Bourdain for instance. The chef, author and Top Chef judge has been exploring the serious side of ‘food tourism’ through his show, No Reservations, examining how a country’s food expresses their culture.

In a recent Time Magazine article penned by James Poniewozik, Bourdain tells the journalist, “Many beloved foods (cassoulet, brisket, Hopping John) came from scratch-in-the-dirt poverty –‘trying to take a little and turn it into a lot..What people eat tells a story: what they’re cooking and why they’re cooking it.” Food is history.

 Then there is my 15-year-old stepson Daniel’s favorite chef, Jamie Oliver, and his Food Revolution. The Revolution combines the ambitions of both Jamie's Ministry of Food and Jamie's School Dinners to tackle the obesity epidemic in America, an epidemic I believe is borne from dependence on processed food and ignoring the socio-economic benefits of fresh foods cooked in your own kitchen (along with getting away from computers, televisions and video games and getting ‘hands on’.) The campaign, funded solely by donations made by and for the people of the United States of America, educates both the young and old about the quality of the food served in school lunch programs while striving to inspire food retailers to provide quality, fresh, local food to their customers – our children.

 Think about it, do you believe the education of your child should cease when they enter the cafeteria? Bravo Mr. Oliver and good luck in Los Angeles, we are tuning in and turning on. Please keep up the good work; you have certainly inspired my family!

 The United States Department of Agriculture just announced a new rule to encourage schools to collaborate with nearby farms as a way to get healthier, locally grown fruits, veggies, along with other farm fresh foods into school lunches. The "buy local" rule is just one part of the massive Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act President Obama signed into law last December.

Per the April 27th announcement, the law encourages schools to bring in more "unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products" by allowing them to give preference to local providers when bidding on school food contracts. Certainly a step towards teaching healthy eating practices through example.

I admit, I did not take as much time as I should have with cooking my son, Hunter when he was younger. Instead, we spent time with the horses and haying, publishing a bi-weekly paper, learning about nature and the Native American way of life, which I learned to appreciate as a youngster at the Elliot Pratt Education Center, and playing soccer (Hunter – not me). Most of the food we ate when he was little was take-out or frozen foods from the supermarket, but he cooked with his Nanny, and we cooked together more as he got older.

My grandmothers both cooked and gardened, my mother loves to cook and garden. I have learned cooking is a way to preserve tradition, to educate ourselves in sustaining the family and the earth, which brings me to Preserved and Pickled. This little blog is for all our sons and daughters. It helps to satisfy my desire to preserve a small part of my family history and pass something on. So gather ‘round, bring your children back into the kitchen, because on the foundation of your past you can help create their future, serving it up one plate at a time.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Well, it has been several weeks since I have had the time to post any updates here on Preserved and Pickled.  Spring is finally “officially” here but Mother Nature hasn’t been making nice in my neck of the woods, what with lots of snow, ice storms and electrical outages; she even played her own April Fool’s joke by covering us one more time with icy rain and snow!

All the while gardening magazines continue to arrive through the mail, teasing me with images of lovely blooming flowers and vegetables, while all I can do is dream about the moment when I will actually be able to get outdoors and dig around in the dirt, hopefully cultivating more vegetables than weeds. In the meantime, I have been perusing my pickling cookbooks reviewing my tried and true recipes, exploring new possibilities, and gearing up for a busy season at work.

I am the Administrative Coordinator at Crop Production Services in Amenia, NewYork, which basically translates to the “Jane-of-all-Trades” in the office.  We are an agricultural supply company servicing mostly dairy farmers – yes, there are still dairy farmers here in our little corner of the world - as well as beef and sheep farmers, vegetable gardeners, equestrians, and anyone who plays out in their yards making the grass, flowers and trees look beautiful, so spring and summer are a particularly busy time for me.

What I am really looking forward to, though, are those few glorious moments when I am not chained to the office and can get out to the farmers markets and the fresh fruit and vegetables they will supply that I could never hope to produce on my own, as well as the fun and delicious ways I will be able to preserve them.  Stay tuned!

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