Friday, June 24, 2016

Kitchen Essentials

Cast Iron pots and pans, Courtesy of Food Prof Productions
After six years of renting, we have purchased a home and making roots in New England. The process of decluttering the kitchen has been interesting. I've been reading books on how to simplify your life and using it to decide what goes to the swap area in my town or into the new home which is about 1000 ft. smaller than our rented home. As someone who loves to cook I've come to some conclusions about what I need. First on my must-have list are several cast-iron skillets with glass covers, then a couple of sharp knives, a Vitamix blender, George Foreman grill, air popper, a cutting board, various sizes of metal mixing bowls, wooden spoons of various sizes, a large ceramic mugs for heating up my water in the morning which I drink with fresh lemon, large ceramic bowls with which to eat all manner of meals, spoon knife and fork for four and I'm good. What are your kitchen essentials? 

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Kitchen Stories with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Kitchen

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

I love Mangoes

Eating a mango, Riviera Beach, Florida1939, Courtesy of Florida State Archives Florida Memory
On Saturday mornings I deliver food that a Trader Joe's donates to shelters for those in need. One of the location is a salvation army shelter for men. When I pull into the parking lot the manager comes out to the car and mobilizes as many men as he can help carry the boxes of food into the kitchen. On one occasion recently, one of the guys who helped carry the food in, saw that I had boxes of fruit. He said, "oh do you have any mangoes, I love mangoes!" As we exchanged words I found out he was from St. Petersburg Florida. It seems to me that for him mangoes made him think of home down south. Ever since that encounter, I have been keeping an eye out for a mango or two that I can put aside for him. What fruit reminds you of home and why?

Mango Salad Recipe

Ingredients
¾ cup cooked rice
Lettuce
3 mangoes, sliced
Red and green pepper
Indian dressing

Instructions
Pare and slice the mangoes, mix lightly with the rice. Chill. Serve on crisp leaves of lettuce and garnish with chopped red and green pepper. Serve with Indian Dressing.

Indian Dressing

Ingredients
½ cup French dressing
½ teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons chopped hard cooked egg
Salt and pepper

Instructions
Place, in a covered jar, the French dressing, chopped hard cooked eggs and seasoning. Shake well until thoroughly blended Chill and serve.
Elizabeth D. K. Dooley, Puerto Rican Cook Book (Richmond, Virginia: The Dietz Press) Incorporated) Book, 1948

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Mango Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=mango

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Eating While Poor at Syracuse University


As a grad student at Syracuse University in the 1990s I was a vegetarian and ate well. I had a diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables, brown rice, and legumes. To supplement my diet I scoured the Daily Orange, the campus newspaper, for events on campus with REFRESHMENTS SERVED in the advertising. I’d show up and hover around the refreshments filling up on fresh fruit particularly expensive fruit like pineapple, kiwi, and grapes all while trying to be as engaged as possible for the real reason for the event. 

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Eating While Poor Series with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Eating+While+Poor

Syracuse University Food Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Syracuse+University

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Robert Frost on Blueberries

Blueberry crumb pie, recipes below
June is Fresh Fruit Month!  Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963) was named after the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Frost grew up in San Francisco. By 1889 Frost began to show signs of genius publishing his first poem in a high school periodical. He attended Harvard and went on to a career as an educator in New Hampshire. In 1915 he published a book of poetry titled North of Boston. The poem below, "Blueberries," is from that collection.

Blueberries
"You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Mortenson's pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!"
"I don't know what part of the pasture you mean."
"You know where they cut off the woods--let me see--
It was two years ago--or no!--can it be
No longer than that?--and the following fall
The fire ran and burned it all up but the wall."
"Why, there hasn't been time for the bushes to grow.
That's always the way with the blueberries, though:
There may not have been the ghost of a sign
Of them anywhere under the shade of the pine,
But get the pine out of the way, you may burn
The pasture all over until not a fern
Or grass-blade is left, not to mention a stick,
And presto, they're up all around you as thick
And hard to explain as a conjuror's trick."
"It must be on charcoal they fatten their fruit.
I taste in them sometimes the flavour of soot.
And after all really they're ebony skinned:
The blue's but a mist from the breath of the wind,
A tarnish that goes at a touch of the hand,
And less than the tan with which pickers are tanned."
"Does Mortenson know what he has, do you think?"
"He may and not care and so leave the chewink
To gather them for him--you know what he is.
He won't make the fact that they're rightfully his
An excuse for keeping us other folk out."
"I wonder you didn't see Loren about."
"The best of it was that I did. Do you know,
I was just getting through what the field had to show
And over the wall and into the road,
When who should come by, with a democrat-load
Of all the young chattering Lorens alive,
But Loren, the fatherly, out for a drive."
"He saw you, then? What did he do? Did he frown?"
"He just kept nodding his head up and down.
You know how politely he always goes by.
But he thought a big thought--I could tell by his eye--
Which being expressed, might be this in effect:
'I have left those there berries, I shrewdly suspect,
To ripen too long. I am greatly to blame.'"
"He's a thriftier person than some I could name."
"He seems to be thrifty; and hasn't he need,
With the mouths of all those young Lorens to feed?
He has brought them all up on wild berries, they say,
Like birds. They store a great many away.
They eat them the year round, and those they don't eat
They sell in the store and buy shoes for their feet."
"Who cares what they say? It's a nice way to live,
Just taking what Nature is willing to give,
Not forcing her hand with harrow and plow."
"I wish you had seen his perpetual bow--
And the air of the youngsters! Not one of them turned,
And they looked so solemn-absurdly concerned."
"I wish I knew half what the flock of them know
Of where all the berries and other things grow,
Cranberries in bogs and raspberries on top
Of the boulder-strewn mountain, and when they will crop.
I met them one day and each had a flower
Stuck into his berries as fresh as a shower;
Some strange kind--they told me it hadn't a name."
"I've told you how once not long after we came,
I almost provoked poor Loren to mirth
By going to him of all people on earth
To ask if he knew any fruit to be had
For the picking. The rascal, he said he'd be glad
To tell if he knew. But the year had been bad.
There had been some berries--but those were all gone.
He didn't say where they had been. He went on:
'I'm sure--I'm sure'--as polite as could be.
He spoke to his wife in the door, 'Let me see,
Mame, we don't know any good berrying place?'
It was all he could do to keep a straight face.
"If he thinks all the fruit that grows wild is for him,
He'll find he's mistaken. See here, for a whim,
We'll pick in the Mortensons' pasture this year.
We'll go in the morning, that is, if it's clear,
And the sun shines out warm: the vines must be wet.
It's so long since I picked I almost forget
How we used to pick berries: we took one look round,
Then sank out of sight like trolls underground,
And saw nothing more of each other, or heard,
Unless when you said I was keeping a bird
Away from its nest, and I said it was you.
'Well, one of us is.' For complaining it flew
Around and around us. And then for a while
We picked, till I feared you had wandered a mile,
And I thought I had lost you. I lifted a shout
Too loud for the distance you were, it turned out,
For when you made answer, your voice was as low
As talking--you stood up beside me, you know."
"We sha'n't have the place to ourselves to enjoy--
Not likely, when all the young Lorens deploy.
They'll be there to-morrow, or even to-night.
They won't be too friendly--they may be polite--
To people they look on as having no right
To pick where they're picking. But we won't complain.
You ought to have seen how it looked in the rain,
The fruit mixed with water in layers of leaves,
Like two kinds of jewels, a vision for thieves."


Blueberry Pie Recipe

Ingredients
2 cups blueberries
2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour

Instructions
Make a flaky piecrust using two cups flour, one teaspoon salt, two
thirds cup cold fat, ice-cold water (about six to eight tablespoons).

Sift flour and salt. Add cold fat by cutting in with pastry blender or
two knives, leaving it in pieces about the size of small peas. Sprinkle ice
water on the mixture, using as little as possible. Mix lightly with a fork.
Form into a ball; chill, roll, making two crusts for the pie. Line a deep pie pan with pastry. Fill with blueberries and seasoning, using the following proportions:

2 cups blueberries, 2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons flour.
Mix blueberries, flour, sugar and salt. Cover with pastry. Bake in a
hot oven (425 F.) about forty-five minutes, or until crust is delicately
browned.
Early England Kitchens cited in Crosby Gaige, New York World’s Fair Cook Book (New York: Double Day, Doran and Company, 1939)

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Selling Fruit

Street vender of fresh sweet fruits, related links and recipes below 
June is national fresh fruit month. As a graduate student at Syracuse University study history I did archival research at the national archives in Guatemala City the capital of the country. I would walk to the archive purchasing fresh fruit from a young street vendor in her late teens on the way. Over time I got to know Roxanne.  She sold some of the sweetest fruit I have ever had in my life!   Many entrepreneurs started like Roxanne selling fruit on the street; hard work, great customer service, and relationships with the connected, expand their corner operations into restaurants. 

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Fresh Fruit Related Stories with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Fresh+Fruit

My Guatemala Stories with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Guatemala+

Street Venders Series with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Street+Venders

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Juneteenth Drinkways

Strawberry soda sold at a Juneteenth celebration
This weekend one will find Juneteenth celebrations around the country. It celebrates the day in 1865 when all U.S. slaves gained their freedom. Two and half weeks earlier, President Abraham Lincoln’s two executive orders set slaves free in confederate states (except for the border states of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, or Delaware, and not in Tennessee, Texas and parts of Louisiana and Virginia). The June 19th declaration informed all slaves that they were now free. “Juneteenth” began thereafter in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and I suspect other “delayed emancipation states” with annual parades and festivals. In1980, the Texas legislature made the celebration an official state holiday with several other states following suit. In 2005, the U.S. Congress officially recognized the historical significance of Juneteenth, but still has yet to give it official holiday status.  Red foods such as cakes, barbecue, and beverages like rhubarb punch have been iconic to Juneteenth.

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Juneteenth Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Juneteenth


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Rhubarb Story and Red Punch Recipe: http://www.foodasalens.com/2010/07/july-1930-langston-hughes-and-punches.html

Friday, June 17, 2016

Juneteenth Through the Lens of Food Part 3

Annual June watermelon festival, Chiefland, Florida, circa 1970s, Courtesy of Florida State Archives, Florida Memory Project
Juneteenth is tomorrow.  On June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, General Gordon Granger declared all slaves free 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. “Juneteenth” (a mixture of June and nineteen) began thereafter in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma with parades and festivals. The celebration spread with the migration of African-Americans from these states. During the Depression celebrations declined but the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s and 70s revitalized the holiday in African American communities. The holiday features foods and drinks such as strawberry beverages, and red velvet cake, and watermelon.

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Juneteenth Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Juneteenth


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Pickled Watermelon Rind Recipe: http://www.goodbyecitylife.com/cooking/watermelon/

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Juneteenth Through the Lens of Food Part 2

Emancipation Day Parade, Richmond, Virginia, 1905, related recipes below 
The following is a prerecorded radio interview done on Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders.  

Juneteenth celebrations commemorate June 19, 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation was finally enforced in the state of Texas, two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln made his famous decree. We talk with professor and food writer Frederick Douglass Opie about the celebratory foods of Juneteenth, as well as the rich history of soul food in the United States and the many foods of the African Diaspora.

Guest
  • Frederick Douglass Opie, author of Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America
  • Fabu Carter-Brisco, Madison Poet-laureate, Organizer of the Heritage Tent at the Madison Juneteenth Celebration

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Juneteenth Through the Lens of Food Part 1

Red velvet cake, This and other recipes below 
On June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, General Gordon Granger declared all slaves free 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. “Juneteenth” (a mixture of June and nineteen) began thereafter in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma with parades and festivals. Food with the color red has been a staple of Juneteenth celebrations: barbecue with red sauce; red drinks; red velvet cake etc. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln declared his famous Emancipation Proclamation, which set slaves in Confederate territories free as of January 1, 1863. As a result, African Americans praised and worshiped God as they watched the New Year and freedom arrive at midnight. Observing Watch Night on New Year’s continues today but many don't know the history of the term. 

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Juneteenth Stories and Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Juneteenth

Abraham Lincoln and Foodways: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Abraham+Lincoln

Civil War Foodways with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Civil+War

Watch Night Series with Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Watch+Night+

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Getting "Ice Milk" From the Grocery Store

Vanilla ice cream, recipes below (photo from http://www.elanaspantry.com/
My Grandmother Lucy Opie migrated from Cloverdale, Virginia to Sleepy Hollow, New York in the late 1920s. One time she sent me to the Grand Union grocery store to buy “ice milk.” I was in middle school at the time and as a northerner, I had no clue what she meant by ice milk and felt too embarrassed to ask. I soon found that the northerners who worked in Grand Union knew no more what ice milk was than I did. I had the employees going around asking other employees what ice milk meant,. In reflection, this might have made a good skit on in Living Color. We finally found an older southern migrant in the store who could interpret Grandma's request: she wanted vanilla ice cream!