July 22 Market-to-Table Culinary Experience at 9 am
It was a treat to cook with and learn from Linda Pechin-Long of Graze the Prairie last week! This week we welcome a new guest chef.
July 22 Menu:
This week's Market-to-Table menu: Roasted Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad, Tomato Gazpacho, and Pan Con Tomate (toasted bread with rubbed garlic and grated tomato)
July 22 Guest Chef:
This week, Krista of Eat REAL America will be joined by Reverend Cindy Watson of First United Methodist Church. Cindy enjoys cooking, eating, bicycling, gardening, and getting her hands in clay. You may recognize her as a favorite sous chef from the annual Iron Chef competition at OTFM. We asked Cindy a few questions about her perspectives on food. Check out her answers below:
What is your philosophy on food?
That is a dangerous question for a "preacher" type, asking about philosophy and theology. In my religious tradition, from the beginning food was seen as "good." Everything in the garden (well except for one tree) was pleasing and delightful and good to eat. Even after the garden, when it would become more difficult to plant and harvest, food was seen as good. In the Jewish tradition, every Sabbath is a feast day, a day to delight in God, in God's bounty, and in each other. My understanding of life centers around the table. I believe we, as people, do our best work when we are working, creating, cooking and eating together.
Where did your culinary passion come from?
I grew up in a household that embraced convenience foods: instant potatoes, instant pudding, cake mixes, dream whip and cool whip; it was part of the times and an understanding that food was not that important. Hospitality was shown by gathering around the table and always having plenty of food for guests. The food itself was not the focus. Perhaps because of that, I was a picky eater.
At age 17, I went as an exchange student to Switzerland. My family not-so-gently reminded me that I should not offend people by being "picky." Well, by and large it wasn't hard. My Swiss mother shopped daily and cooked fresh and delicious food. I discovered yogurt, Swiss cheese and chocolate. From that moment I have loved food, especially good food. At that time, most restaurants in Kansas (or the ones I could afford a college student) were not that good, so cooking began as a necessity and grew into something I loved.
What benefits do you see in using local ingredients?
Fresh, Fresh FRESH!!! In the 21st century you can go to the store and buy whatever you want. Most of it, however, travels thousands of miles to get there. How is it that South African oranges are cheaper than Florida oranges? How is it that food brought from so far away can be so cheap? There are a lot of answers to that question, but part of the answer is that the people far far away are being paid slave wages and treated poorly. The produce has to be picked so green that it must be artificially ripened. And it tastes like it.
Eating local food means it has been harvested within a day or two. It is fresh, ripe and tasty. The same thing is true of local meat; it is not traveling thousands of miles to get here. The best part? I get to personally know the farmers and ranchers that produce the food.
What inspires you about the local food and/or Farm to Table movement?
The people first and foremost - there are some great farmers, ranchers and chefs who are committed to the best practices in growing and raising food. Local food implies commitment to a particular place in this world, which for me means Kansas, but would be true anywhere I lived. Eating local also implies being a good steward of this earth that God created and called "good" and being part of sustainable practices that are good for the environment, good for animals and good for people I love.
What is your favorite in-season Market vegetable and how do you like to prepare it?
In the late winter and early spring the peas and radishes, the asparagus, strawberries, and early greens taste so good and I am so ready for them after the long winter.
As the summer heats up I look forward to green and yellow beans, early potatoes and onions, and the Brussels sprouts.
Into the middle of the summer I enjoy tomatoes in all the lovely shades and sizes and shapes, zucchini and yellow squash, corn on the cob and cucumbers. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches and early apples are also my favorites!
As the fall begins, apples and pears, mature potatoes, more green beans and the lettuces are back, along with butternut and acorn squash, pumpkins and garlic.
Every season offers a variety of amazing flavors and bounty!