Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Wednesday January 11, 2012

Ms Murky Mondays:
Balancing Nostalgia with Reality

With the holidays solidly behind us now, I have had time to reflect on my own personal conflict leading up to and during the holidays.  I so want to recreate the Christmas of my past with those trays of cookies, memorable meals, festively decorated house and more.  So I push and push myself, feeling bad if I couldn't muster the energy to make 12 dozen sugar cookies.  Afterall my Mom and Nana could do it effortlessly.  And then, reality struck.  I work.  I am traveling to NYC 2 days a week for a client, I am launching my dream company....my world is different.  And that's just the way it is.  So I cut myself some slack and the joy of the season emerged.  It's about sharing, giving, being with people you love.  Not about how perfect you could make it seem.

So as I pedal the importance of nostalgia and honoring the traditions of our ancestors and our treasured family recipes, I do it to embrace the love that was shared, not the fiction of perfection that I or many of us may carry in our memory.  Sure, if you have the time, money and desire - go for it!!  But, if you are like many of us during these economic times, it's about creating the loving, nurturing environment that hugs the hearts and souls of all that we touch. It's not about the 12 dozen sugar cookies.  It's about the memory of them and how they made us feel.  

So, I was OK with making some memorable meals this season, sans sugar cookies. Funny thing, no one noticed I didn't make them.

Thursday January 05, 2012

Heirloom Breeds and Seeds

The beginning of a new year offers opportunity for renewed direction, new beginnings, explorations and ideas.   Here at Heirloom Meals, Farmer Thursdays will embrace 2012 as a chance to explore the multi-faceted stories of Heirloom Seeds and Heritage Breeds.   Whether it’s the history of the Scottish Highland breed cattle that are grazing outside the windows of the Heirloom Meal’s office or the stories of families who saved seeds for generations-we will track these stories down! 

Although there is not a specific definition for “heirloom seeds,” they are generally considered to be varietals that existed before the influence of hybridization and for the most part have been handed down through generations of farmers and gardeners. Heritage breeds are ancient breeds of animals that were bred not necessarily to produce ever more eggs or milk but rather to withstand cold climates, difficult terrain, or other environmental factors.  Some traits- which others might find unsightly or inefficient- make these heirlooms unique and treasured and lend to us many great stories.  They also offer us animals and plants which are adapted to different types of environments, have different tastes, look different and in general contribute to a more colorful and diverse biological world. 

Thankfully, not unlike with family recipes that are passed by word of mouth or written down and passed down generations people have painstakingly preserved this biology for hundreds if not thousands of years. We look forward to sharing this diverse world of plants and animals every Thursday and maybe you’ll even be inspired to raise a few yourselves.

Tuesday January 03, 2012

Heirloom Meals Radio:
Agnes Djaha

As Agnes Djaha shares the story of her parents rich life sharing food with family and friends in their Brooklyn neighborhood in the 1920's, 30's etc. it beckons us back to that time when life was about connecting around the table, cooking was a constant and socializing in person was the norm.

Please listen here as we walk down food memory lane with Syrian-American Agnes Djaha. 

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