Plant, Prepare, Feast

Reading into the farm-to-table ethos

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Harvesting is in full swing as local gardeners reap the bounty of backyard gardens. These titles celebrate farm-to-table philosophy and will nourish your “eat local” spirit. Titles are available at Whatcom County libraries, or use your smartphone or mobile device to visit the library by downloading the free “Library Now” app.

The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle, by Jennifer McGruther

The full subtitle of this book is a tell-all about its contents: “Featuring bone broths, fermented vegetables, grass-fed meats, wholesome fats, raw dairy, and kombuchas.” Heavily referencing old-time ways of cooking, McGruther emphasizes locally grown, unprocessed, traditionally prepared foods and a food philosophy centered on sustainability and community involvement. One of her inspirations is Dr. Weston Price, a Canadian dentist who studied the diet and food preparation techniques of indigenous people after witnessing firsthand a decline in his patient’s health with the introduction of processed food. A rare and delightful cookbook—wonderful to cook from, beautiful to look at, inspiring to read—from the creator of the award-winning website.

Growing a Feast: The Chronicle of a Farm-to-Table Meal, by Kurt Timmermeister

In what is essentially a memoir of a meal, Timmermeister tells the story of each item that came together to make a celebratory end-of-summer feast for 20 guests at his Vashon Island farm. The account is imbued with the love of a farmer for his land and all it produces, as well as a former restaurateur’s delight in the planning, preparation and offering of a meal. The story begins with the birth of Alice, the calf whose cream will be used in the dinner’s Béarnaise sauce, and progresses through the planting of seeds, aging of cheeses and picking and pickling of produce. Born and raised far from farmland in the heart of Seattle, Timmermeister is the owner of Kurtwood Farms, home to a small herd of Jersey cows whose milk is made into delicious farmstead cheeses.

Blessing the Hands That Feed Us: What Eating Closer to Home Can Teach Us About Food, Community, and Our Place On Earth, by Vicki Robin

You may recognize Vicki Robin’s name as the author of the seminal guide to money management in the modern world, Your Money or Your Life. Described by the New York Times as the “prophet of consumption downsizers,” Robin applies the same relational observations to this 2010 experiment in “hyperlocal” eating, accepting the challenge from a local Whidbey Island gardener to eat only what could be provided in a 10-mile radius. This is a natural for readers who enjoyed Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral or books by Michael Pollan. But Robin’s charismatic and inspirational style broaden the appeal net, as she convincingly argues that eating local not only builds community, but could also make you thinner, healthier and more resilient! Informative and entertaining reading.

Lisa Gresham is the Collection Support Manager for the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS). She depends on cookbooks borrowed from the library to make dazzling dishes from her CSA farm share.

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