Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Friday January 21, 2011

Carole’s Concoctions:
Channeling My Inner Czech

My dad met my Mom when he was 18, married when he was 20 and was absorbed into the Italian customs and household of my Mom.  So, you always hear me talk about My Mom and Nana and our Italian traditions.  We never really had any of my Dad's traditional foods.  Murko is a Slavic last name - Russian or Czech?  Not really sure but Slavic for sure. I think I need to heed my own advice and get to the bottom of that side of my heritage (an excellent conversation to engage on Facebook and twitter).  This all started with a discussion with my Mom - we both have cabbages in our fridge.  I said I thought I would try my hand at stuffed cabbage.  I asked her if she remembered ever having it with Dad.  She said, "yes."  So we both decided to try making it and also trying hard not putting an "Italian" twist such as Romano cheese which is very hard to do.

I opened the old photo albums to see if Grandma or Grandpa would channel their Slavic taste buds into me.

I made stuffed cabbage last night sans any Italian cheese.  Jim loved it. I think it needs some work - but here's the recipe I developed.  Would love some authentic input!!

Thursday January 20, 2011

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Snow and Cold Challenges for the Sheep Farmer

Snow, snow, snow - are we caught up yet? That fatalist in me says we must
have been due. The artist in me says slow down and look at it, it is
beautiful. The sheep are not impressed, but they are very funny. If I don't
clear away the snow for them with the tractor, they stick to a single file
little path and no one wants to go first to break a new trail. So I shovel
the step and the walk and I plow the barnyard and the sheep paddocks with
the tractor. The dogs however, leap and bound through the drifts like
gazelles. They think the snow is great!

I still haven't been able to use my new bale slicer, even with the new
fittings on the hoses. So I finally put on my reading glasses since the
connection was still not right. I didn't know if I was cross threading or
what and I was getting very frustrated!. Turns out the male fitting on the
hydraulic cylinder is bad. It is all chewed up - not anything I could have
accomplished, so it must have happened at the factory when the original hose
was installed. It is amazing what a person can figure out when they have the
right equipment for the job (yeah, I know, I should have put my glasses on
when I first started working on it). Anyway, the salesman is arranging to
have a new cylinder shipped out, he will fix it and then I will be in
business. I hope. This weekend is forecast to be seriously cold and it will
not be fun having to deal with frozen baleage. That slicer would have made
it much easier.

Today is barn cleaning day (still by hand). After digging around in the snow
for a bit we found some parts and pieces we will use to construct part of
the unit. They need a bit of pounding and welding before we can actually use
them, so once that is done we'll be making headway again. We might even have
it all installed and working before I know it; this is a job in progress.

Speaking of jobs in progress...the other day my Mom came over and helped me
get rid of the rest of the boxes that were in the house. Thanks, Mom!!
Without the clutter, I attempted to vacuum the cat hair which has been
building up and of course my hand me down grandmother's Electrolux died. At
35 years of age, I felt it died too young, was missing out on so much more
of life. It was painful for me, so many memories, so expensive to
replace....but I have to say the new Lux is AMAZING!!! Crazy expensive, but
boy can that thing suck up cat hair! No hair, no dust, no more wheezing
mother (she's allergic to cats) - I vacuumed everything is sight. Now to
tackle the boxes in the garage....well, soon.

Monday evening I will be in Boston for an American Lamb Board cooking class
with "my" Chef Michael. He will be cooking my lamb, and I will be the one
getting "grilled" by the attendees about the lamb, how it is raised, what
the farm is like and anything else the students/attendees care to ask. It
promises to be another amazing eatfest and lots of fun! Chef Michael has
been so generous every time we have seen him, sending over plate after plate
of wonderful things to eat; I really must reciprocate. I'm going to bring
him some of my "Personal" Egg Nog. I'm sure he will love it. Here is a link
to the event:Fans of Lamb

Have a great week and stay warm, the forecast is for bitter cold!!

Wednesday January 19, 2011

Heirloom Meals Radio:
Ellie Markovitch

Listen to Ellie Markovitch tell her story.  She grew up in a rural area of Brazil near her grandparent’s small farm. Her earliest and most vivid memories center on the harvesting of vegetables and the preparation of meals with friends and family. Transported to the United States as an exchange student when she was 19, Ellie’s main request from her mother was a care package from the kitchen. It was these food items that connect her with her home and help the memories survive. Ellie is now marrying her work as a photo journalist, her studies in new media and her love of food history to chronicle food memories and recipes in an effort to create community. Check it out: Storycooking.com.


Monday January 17, 2011

Ms Murky Mondays:
I Have a Dream!

This is a day to reflect on Martin Luther King's message of tolerance and equality. His dream is a noble one and one that we should all strive to embrace. I often think that the best way to live is by being kind, honest, and generous of mind and spirit.  I love the notion of paying it forward - i.e. when someone does something nice to you, you turn around and do something nice for someone else.  Imagine a world where everyone behaved that way.

In the context of the human spirit, I just read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It is a MUST read for many reasons - as an historical account of the atrocities that occurred in the Pacific Theater of WW II, the strength of the human spirit and will to live, the importance of dignity and the power of prayer. What is horrifying is what humans are capable to doing to others - the physical and mental brutality seems surreal and inconceivable.

So, as I ponder my dream of sharing the old ways of cooking and eating through the stories, I am thankful that I can pursue a passion.  Let us not forget how quickly civilized people can turn into ogres. Let's celebrate King's message of tolerance and equality - any other option is not an option!!

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