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Daily Archives: March 12, 2012

Coming Full Circle

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A return to real food. When I was young, my mother always cooked from scratch. That was pretty much the only way to cook. The 50s were a time before supermarkets contained aisle after aisle of packaged and processed foods. It was a time you ate seasonally, and you followed the family traditions. Fish on Friday. Hot dogs and beans on Saturday. A chicken or roast on Sunday. Leftovers made into soup for Monday.

Those were our family traditions. Including one of my personal favorites when I was little. Scrambled eggs and scrapple. My husband won’t eat scrapple so I would get my occasional fix at the cafeteria at work, or when I went to see my parents when my husband was on travel. When I was little, scrapple came from the Lexington Market in Baltimore. Freshly made.

Somehow along the years we all became enamored of packaged meals, canned foods, TV dinners, and the frozen food aisle was a major source of what came home to be “cooked”. OK, but not as satisfying as those foods I remember from childhood.

What else made me think hard about how I ate, and what it contained and where it came from? You see, my dad and I share quite a bit genetically and otherwise. Stubborn Germans, both of us. Still, I thought he was the best.

We shared the same allergies, too. Yes, allergies. It turns out that my dad and I share an aversion to some of those additives put into foods to keep them fresh longer. He sneezed every time we went out to dinner. I started doing the same when I got to be in my 40s. After much messing around to find the triggers, it seems the additives in the ultra pasteurized half and half put on the tables in restaurants was one culprit.

We used to tease dad that he was allergic to the check. But, the cream in his coffee was most probably the source of his allergic reaction. For me, salad bars were always a problem. Can’t do them without a fit of sneezing. Bagged lettuce mixes brought home to make dinner quickly became named as contributors. Other foods were added to the list and avoided.

For the past seventeen days, while recovering from surgery, I ate almost exclusively simple organic soft foods made by myself or my husband. Never sneezed once until the night we had no other salad dressing in the house but one he picked up the other day. I usually make my own. This refrigerated jar of ranch dressing sent me into a sneezing fit. Thankfully, I am far enough along in recovery not to have had a problem, but still unwelcome.

I can go to restaurants where I know I won’t sneeze. Where they cook mostly from scratch. Real food, not reheated defrosted processed foods. Places like Iron Bridge never cause a problem. Bombay Peacock every time caused an outburst. I learned to navigate menus and avoid items all over town.

Today we went to Iron Bridge for lunch after a very good neurosurgeon visit. Celebration. The lunch specials.

Calamari to share. Flatbread for him.

Quiche for me.

Nary a sniffle.

I know I have to concentrate on avoiding as much processed food as I can. I do pretty well because of the CSA and the local farmers. More and more, I have to read labels, buy individual ingredients, make my own, and not rely on processed products.

And, Eat Real Food.

Spring Has Sprung

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The Grass has Riz, I wonder where the boidies iz. Remember that children’s poem? The grass hasn’t risen, but the garlic I planted late in December is making its way up.

The rosemary never died off, and some of the sage is still hanging in there. The mild winter left us with some already producing herbs, and we lost nothing to wind or frost damage. Two years ago the blizzards killed numerous bushes and damaged trees,

This year, the big spring clean up will take place this weekend. Hubby is getting help there, as I am out of commission. I get to supervise this time. This entire week is going to have warm, mostly beautiful weather just right for planting seeds of spring producers. Temps in the 70s. Sunny most days.

I have a few seeds we are going to put in where we took a tree out last year and had the stump ground out. I need to leave something there for the summer that can be replaced with new bushes in the fall, when they have a better chance to get established. Summers here can be brutal to young trees and shrubs.

I picked these up in Kendall’s the other day, and figured we would sow them right in the ground just to keep something growing in the empty space. Minimize any erosion on a corner and provide color as well as dinner. Hopefully garlic chives in front of the chards will all survive the potential critter invasion. Or at least, if they invade there, they will stay out of my good heirloom tomatoes that will go behind the deer fence in the garden.

We were going to put in concord grapes with an arbor in a space where last year we took out bushes. Maybe it will get there but not counting on it with me being unable to assist. One new project at a time.

While out and about the other day, we spotted this display of daffodils. They always make me smile. Mine aren’t up yet but look to be almost ready to bloom.

I may not like that earlier switch over to daylight savings time, because it messes up my internal clock for a few weeks, but I can’t wait for spring to finally get here for good. I want to go out and see this wonder all around us.