To some it is taken for granted, like the children who simply expect to find it on the table whenever they are hungry. But to some others, it is a rarity and a special occurrence saved only for when they have the time and energy to prepare it. The home cooked meal is the soul food that nourishes our bodies, our minds and the spirit of our families.
As the days are becoming shorter, my role in the kitchen is picking up again where I am often times Momma Jane’s soux chef (spelling?) chopping all of her veggies, peeling her garlic and stirring her sauces or emptying the compost for her. It’s not that I can’t cook, and I think that I really do remember how (wink), it’s more that Momma Jane does the meal planning and I end up following suit. Sometimes, deciding what to have for dinner is the hardest part. I think that more time is often wasted just trying to decide what to have for dinner that actually preparing the meal itself. If I came in every night from the fields and someone told me what I had to make for dinner, I would just make it and life would be as simple as that. I would go straight to work pulling everything out of the fridge that I needed and gathering up the veggies or pulling the meat from the freezer or whatever. But no, we have to actually come up with creative ideas all on our own!
Creating meals from scratch isn’t really as hard as you might think. The hardest part is getting over that big lump in your brain that tells you it’s too much work. That big lump usually softens some when it smells the garlic and onions being sautéed in olive oil. The hard part can be convincing your child or another housemate to prepare your veggies or get your hubby to make the rice for you while you focus on the rest. The terribly heavy and awesome burden of preparing a home cooked meal can be lighted with the help of a few family members pitching in! I am a firm believer, by the way, that whoever is the one preparing the meal is not the one that should have to wash a single dish after everyone is done eating!
We are blessed, here on the farm, to be able to sit down to almost every meal and know that the majority of the food on our plates was raised on our farm or from our neighbors farm (in the case of the milk, butter, eggs and certain fruit or meat products). Being a member of a CSA farm is similar in that you can sit down for a meal and know exactly where a large part of your meal came from. A meal made from farm-fresh goodness from the hands of the ones I love and my own is as close to bliss as I can get. There is certainly no comparison to take-out or pick-up or drive-thru or any other fast-food extravaganza. Slow-food is infiltrating your kitchens and you’re really liking it!
The home cooked meal is more than just food. It is your prayer time over your food, it is your meditation. While you’re chopping the veggies or stirring your soup or mincing your garlic you’re actually strengthening your inner self and the foundation of your family. You’ve heard the saying that “you are what you eat”; I happen to believe this to be true. If you eat mass produced processed food all the time, you become as synthetic and absent as enriched and ‘fortified’ wonder bread. If you prepare energizing food from healthy sources (and it’s sure helpful to know exactly where), somehow you undergo a transformation into a conscious, lively and generous person. There’s no math equation to explain this or prove it and there probably isn’t even a book that explains why, but it’s mostly just understood when you sit down at a table with someone, or a number of others and the thick aroma of the home made meal penetrates even the thickest of your stiff ideas that store-bought would have been better. I will humbly wash every last dish to save the beloved, yet endangered good ol’ fashioned home made meal from scratch.
So….WHAT’S in the BOX???
Carrots- More orangie goodness! Cut tops off and store in a plastic bag in fridge. Absolutely nothing compares to a freshly dug carrots
Red Onion– Does not need refrigeration.
Red Potatoes— These will keep if you don’t use them right away!
Yellow or Purple Beans- A very little bit. The last giving this time for SURE!
Bell Pepper, Hot Pepper- Beautiful peppers.
Cherry Tomatoes and/or Tomatoes!- Tomatoes are waning fast now. Hopefully another week or so???
Basil- I want to squeeze this in again before the frost hits and it’s gone till next year!
Parsley- Italian Flat leaf or the traditional curly leaf. Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Garlic- Another storage item if you haven’t used it all up yet.
Fennel- Recipe ideas below.
Sweet Corn- We’ve been protecting this all week from the coons. Chico, our good ol farm dog has been helping us keep the coons away at night!
Cantelope- Another sweet delight. If not fully ripe, allow to sit on your counter for a few days until it turns a little more orangish and smells like ripe cantelope.
Next week! A short list of items that we may have next week, but will not promise to have. Due to the unexpectedness of the season, anything could pop up or go down hill in no time. Beets, Cabbage, Kale, Celery, Fennel, Peppers, onions,