Garden Diary

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The always interesting Bob Waldrop from Oklahoma city has an engaging and interesting series of blog posts from September on food security. Some of Bob's fears may be unfounded, but his basic concern that many families don't have any food security is definitely worth considering.

When I lived in Vermont, a coworker who was Mormon told me that part of the regular practice of Mormons was to keep 6 months of food available per family at all times. Perhaps a reflection of the difficult times they experienced in the early years after the trek to Utah?

While we shouldn't be pulling down our barns to build bigger ones, the idea of providing for a rainy day is plain common sense. On a farm, we would expect to can, put things in the root cellar, etc. Well, city dwellers need to do the equivalent. My family has always stored a good amount of non-perishables: rice, pasta, dried beans, etc. Anyway, take a look at the beginning of Bob's post below and give it some thought.

How much food is a year's supply for a family of four?

When starting a food storage program for your family, the most critical thing is to know how much food your family eats in a year. If you are going to store what you eat, and eat what you store, the first step is observation of your own kitchen.

But to give an idea as to what this could involve. . . I went to the governments My Pyramid site which describes their recommended daily consumptions of the various food groups (vegetables, fruits, oils, dairy, protein, grains). They have different recommendations for men and women, boys and girls of various ages. The plan below is based on a family of four -- a mother and father, a teenage boy age 14-18, and a young child age 4-8.

I don't know that anyone actually eats to the government recommendations, or even if that is a good idea, since government diet recommendations are heavily influenced by politics. So I caution folks against following these amounts without doing research into what your family actually eats.

With those caveats, however. . . here it is. . .
Veggies 2,084 15 oz cans
Grains 593 lbs
Fruits 1,564 15 oz cans
oils 12 gallons
dairy 251 gallons
peanut butter 13 quarts
nuts 13 lbs
beans 268 lbs
eggs 67 doz eggs
meat/poultry/fish 226 lbs
Using Oklahoma City supermarket prices, except for the meat which I priced at the levels prevailing in the Oklahoma Food cooperative. . . the price if bought all at once would be $5,453 plus sales tax, or $454/month. The dairy I priced as bulk powdered milk.

Visit Bobaganda for the rest.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Garlic Soup Recipe

Well, my friends, we are into cold-flu season, so I am re-posting my garlic soup recipe. I recently had need to make it and although I'm thrilled to make this for pure enjoyment, I confess it really is a cure for sickness! you go, filed under the category of "Food I Would Serve Jesus"!
Read before beginning: The ingredients are on the consertive end; adjust to your own taste, and don't be afraid to add more garlic! (I usually add about a cup of whole cloves) I would advise using the old adage "less is more" the first time you make it, but once you have an idea as to what it is like, you can better adjust according to your own taste/needs.

* 1/3 C. whole garlic cloves (This is IMPORTANT: note that you may NOT substitute mere minced garlic in a jar!)
* 1 Tbsp minced garlic
* 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic
* 1 tsp fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
* 1 tsp fresh basil or 1/4 tsp drid basil
* 4 cans of vegetable broth (or 2 32 oz boxes of Swanson's vegetable broth)
(( I recommend low sodium))
* 1 medium onion
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1/3 C. Half-and-Half (I use fat-free)
* 1/3 C. parmesan cheese - shredded
* Creole seasoning
* Day-Old French or Italian bread

1. Add onions and some of the garlic cloves to a large soup pan with the T. of olive oil. When the onions begin to turn clear or brownish (don't over cook!), add the broth, basil, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. Bring this to a boil.

2. When the soup begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 40 minutes.

3. In the meantime, make your croutons: Cube the bread, approximately 2-3 cups, and toast in the oven at 300 degrees. Remove from heat, place in a paper sack, coat with apx. 1 - 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and season with the Creole seasoning. (This is spicy- be conservative at first!). Set the croutons aside.


4. When the soup has simmered for the 40 minutes, add apx 1 1/2 C. of the croutons and stir in with a wire whisk until they have mostly dissolved. At this point, the whole garlic cloves should be "mushy".

5. Remove the bay leaf

6. Add the half-and-half and parmesan cheese and immediately remove the soup from heat.

7. If you have a hand-mixer, use this to blend the soup to a smooth consistency. You may also pour the soup into a blender.

8. Serve immediately and garnish with the remaining croutons, parmesan, and creole seasoning.


**** the half-and-half, parmesan and bread can be omitted for a thinner, healthier broth-type soup with all the great flavor!

**** You may also use large chunks of potato if you can't find the low-sodium broth or if your seasoning gets too salty. Blending the potatoes into it instead of bread may also turn it into a thicker soup. Otherwise if you do use the potatoes, it's a great and easy way to make garlic mashed potatoes if you decide to reserve them to the side.

from the blog "Adoro Te Devote".
The Museum of Science (a former employer of mine) in Boston is hosting a series of events and lectures called "Let's Talk about Food". The first talk is this Friday, October 8, 2010.

See the event listings at the MOS web site.

Hat tip to the Boston Herald's food blog "Fork Lift".

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Family Food for Feast and Feria

This morning, Shawn Tribe who founded The New Liturgical Movement blog visited us at church with my friend David Clayton from Thomas More College in Merrimack, NH. We went out with fellow parishioner Phil Crotty before Shawn had to head out to the airport to head home.
So, having arrived home I went over to see the latests posts on the NLM blog. One of them is on resources for cooking and festival foods. One I had mentioned earlier, but the post below is a great survey of several books dealing with cooking and the liturgical calendar.


Liturgical Year reading and cooking is one of my favorite things to do. I admit my focus has changed somewhat since our sons’ food allergy diagnosis, but I still love reading the traditions and foods connected to the liturgical feasts and seasons, otherwise known to me as “liturgical cooking” (but just to clarify that I’m not cooking or creating “liturgy” but being inspired by the liturgy).

Why do I do liturgical cooking? Because I can incorporate symbolism, culture, history, and catechesis in all different varieties through the foods I serve at the table. Meals are natural conversation starters. They are the perfect place to start discussing the liturgical season, saint or feast of the day, the connections with the food and the liturgy of the Church...

read the rest over at Family Food for Feast and Feria.