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Thursday
Oct182012

The Real Thing

From time to time I have been accused of being a day dreamer. I guess I deserve the title as I find pleasure in just getting lost in thoughts of food,Americana and New England.
Sometimes the title of a cookbook will conjure a wonderful image of yesterday. Names like the Blue Grass Cookbook, The Hotel St. Francis Cookbook of San Francisco, The Hearthstone Cookbook and the Epicurean.......all landmarks in our culinary history are an easy source of foods for thought. The basics were important as many titles will tell you. They dealt with the pure, practical, basic, domestic, economical and valuable
Food information of the day. We also became whimsical with titles like, The Birth Of A Cook, The Black Art Of Cookery, The Dyspeptics Guide To The Grave, Cupids book Of Good Counsel and dozens of books with something dainty in the title. Everything from Dainty Desserts For Dainty People to Dainties From Down On The Farm. I looked at a group of books with the word eat in the title. There was Eat and Be Happy, Eat And Be Well, then there was Eat And Be Wary. But then I found Eat Without Fears. so all was well again.

Now the past few moments may have seemed frivolous to some, but to those lovers of food and history I hope we hit upon a common cord. I don't think there is a subject in our daily lives that somehow is not touched upon by one cookbook or another. It is this wonderful wealth of knowledge that prompts me to suggest we pass on certain types of experiences to our children. It is only through experiencing something better that they can help create the demand for those services or products later on. Some of the things I am thinking about include a " real" hot dog. I don't mean those skinless, filler-ladened sticks we are sometimes reduced to eating. Make sure they try a natural casing, all beef frank. I know they cost more, but it is a small price to pay for an experience. Don't forget to pan grill the roll in a little butter.
What is cheaper than real lemonade? Nothing, really! But all we seem to see today is a bag with an ingredient list that reads like a pharmaceutical house order form. Frequently you don't even see lemon in the list.
Sometimes I am sure the negative attitude kids today have towards certain foods is derived from many of the poor quality "new and improved" products they eat. Compare the succulent flavor of a Vine ripened summer tomato to those pink things that often pass for tomatoes in the super market. If it is possible let kids try milk that is not homogenized. Some smaller dairies still produce that wonderful product with cream on the top. There are some important reasons for milk pasteurization, but everyone should get a chance to taste fresh safe raw milk. Give those kids a chance to taste home baked bread, real baked beans and just the concept of popping corn in a pot, shaking it over a stove top will seem like rocket science. Popping corn in a fire place with a screen shaker will bring the old time camping experience into the living room. Of course you must use real wood for the fire, not artificial logs.

I guess what I'm really taking about is enjoying where we came from and building bridges for newer generations to travel over, and enjoy the roads we traveled getting to where we are today. Often our food heritage makes a great bridge.

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