Food tips for Armageddon, part 2

Food tips for Armageddon, part 2

A few more tips for eating well in an age of uncertainty:

1. Don’t keep your whole house at the same temperature.

In an ultra-insulated age, it may be hard to find a cold spot in your house or garage, but keeping a cold storage area is a really good idea for storing your root vegetables and long-keeping fruit like apples and pears in case of extended power outages and service disruptions. Many of those who weathered the aftermath of Hurricane Juan in the fall of 2003 remember how heartbreaking it was to have to throw away the entire contents of our fridges ...

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Food tips for Armageddon, part one

Food tips for Armageddon, part one

Its being the dark and chilly month of November, and with the results of a recent election still weighing on my mind, I’ve been thinking, again, about what I would do if the world were to suddenly change. I wouldn’t call myself a “prepper,” that is, I haven’t stocked my basement with dry goods, barrels of water, and medical supplies to last a decade or more, though I can understand that impulse in hard times.

We may never be mentally prepared for the unexpected, but I do think it’s wise to consider a few things that previous generations would have likely taken as givens when it came to their food:

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Feed Me!

Feed Me!

When my kid was six months old and still an exclusive breast-feeder, we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant and ordered just about everything on the menu; holy smokes, does a nursing baby ever make its mom ravenous!

When the dishes arrived, Will’s eyes lit up and his chubby hand shot out to scoop up a big handful of guacamole, licking it greedily off his fingers. The refried beans met the same fate; his mom barely got a look in. The look of profound satisfaction on his round and beaming face made me realize two things:   1. This kid was going to be a foodie and 2. I might as well give away the books on infant feeding that recommended starting out with the most bland and pre-digested of mashes, and get right to the point. Even in his food choices, Will wanted to be treated like an older person, not an invalid with no teeth and a delicate constitution....

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Old Orchards, New Discoveries

Old Orchards, New Discoveries

Yesterday we visited a rural neighbour whose grandparents-in-law planted a small apple orchard on the property a century or so ago. We had ridden our bikes past those venerable trees this summer; one day, I knocked on the door and asked if their owner would mind our picking some of tempting-looking fruit. She not only kindly agreed but also gave us a tour of apple varieties in the orchard--Duchess, Astrachan, Alexander, and King-- names which rang many ancestral bells for me. These old names are so familiar to me from listening to my grandmother's stories about her childhood in an apple-growing family in the Annapolis Valley, remembering her careful distinction between "cooking apples" and "eating apples," and her favorite early and late varieties. Many of these names have fallen out of the popular vocabulary (like Victorian men named Eleazar or Alonzo or women named Beryl and Gertie) and are no longer to be seen at farmers' market tables or roadside stands. Many lovely old Nova Scotia apple trees...

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Pumpkin Moon

Pumpkin Moon

Last night’s Hunter’s Moon rising like a big yellow pumpkin in the night sky reminded me that it’s now officially fall bulb-planting time. Tulip bulbs will have to compete for garden space with the garlics I am currently breaking up into cloves and getting ready to plant. I’ll soon be making the annual raid of the compost pile in search of nourishment for these ground dwellers who will sleep cozily in the earth all winter and emerge first thing in the spring.

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Use the dull knife! Pickling with schoolchildren

Use the dull knife! Pickling with schoolchildren

My five-year-old's school has a lovely fall tradition. On Harvest Day, early each October, the classes take part in an epic baking, crafting, and pickling marathon, with mixed-age groups rotating through apple pie baking, Irish soda bread mixing, salsa and pickle making, and fridge magnet construction.

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Green Tomatoes: Recipes For Saying Goodbye To Summer

Green Tomatoes: Recipes For Saying Goodbye To Summer

Summers on the Canadian East Coast are a mixed bag, weather-wise. For folks in Cape Breton, they can be downright frosty affairs. In his brilliant novel, No Great Mischief, Alistair MacLeod describes a Nova Scotia grandmother who bursts into tears driving by a field of overripe tomatoes being ploughed under near Leamington, Ontario, the closest this country gets to a tomato hotspot. 

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