The other morning I got some time to myself in the garden and was feeling very lucky to live on a farm. I checked on all my veggies, mixed some fish emulsion in water to pour on a few fruiting plants, harvested a variety of gorgeous produce, and pulled a few weeds. When I got hungry, I ate raspberries right off the bush. When I was almost done, I picked an armload of corn and shucked it right in the field. Then I went straight to the house and put on some water to boil the corn. There is really nothing like freshly picked corn on the cob. For anyone who buys corn at the store, you can’t imagine the difference. It is so amazing that I decided to invite friends over on the weekend to enjoy the corn with me.
Friday morning I picked a few bushels of corn and put them in cold water to soak. This makes the corn perfect for roasting in the husks. You just throw the whole thing on the grill and it steams nicely in its own protective husk. Then you peel the husk back, butter, and enjoy. Fortunately some friends did get to come join me Friday night on very short notice. Unfortunately, we had a violent wind storm blow through and take out our power shortly after they arrived. Not to be deterred from my planned corn fest, we fired up the grill and feasted on hot dogs, corn, cole slaw and fresh tomatoes.
Being without power for almost six hours made me really appreciate the various forms of food preservation that don’t involved refrigeration. Food drying, canning and fermentation are very handy when you can’t rely on a steady supply of electricity. I also appreciated living in an old farm house with tall windows and a bright, three season porch. Even though the house was very comfortable during the power outage, I was relieved when the lights came back on. For one thing, I was concerned about all the food that I have been freezing. What a lot of work it is to freeze tomatoes and corn. I would be very sad to lose my frozen treasures. The power was out long enough to get me thinking about emergencies and food security in general. Even though it seems like our grocery stores are very full, there is really not enough food in any given city to last for more than a few days if there were ever a long term emergency. Many people are learning the old ways of food preservation for this reason. I would love to have shelves and root cellars full of food that is not dependent on electricity. I would also love to have solar power or some other sustainable way to run my refrigerator and freezers.
Saturday night I got to have another friend over to enjoy the leftover corn with a lovely grass fed beef roast. I had overpicked corn the previous day and did not give them the experience of super fresh sweet corn. Still, it was all very good. I had fun cooking for other people for a change. Meals around here are usually very simple. This spontaneous dinner party was no exception. I put the roast in a covered stoneware pan with cabbage and carrots and then basically ignored it in a 300 degree oven for the entire afternoon. The result was beef that could be cut with a fork and barely had to be chewed. A little sea salt was all it needed. Here are my meals for the last two days.
Home-grown raspberries, McCann’s Irish Oats, local butter, non-local maple syrup – using it up before I buy local
Local chicken, non-local tortilla, local cheese, home-grown herbs, home-grown fermented veggies
Local beef hot dogs, home-grown corn, local butter, non-local sea salt, cole slaw made with home-grown cabbage and onions, home grown tomatoes, non-local bread
Local ice cream with Grandma’s peach cobbler (MI peaches)
McCann’s Irish Oatmeal (again!), local butter, local milk, non-local maple syrup (the last of it!)
Panini (local chicken, local butter, non-local bread, local cheese, avocado), non-local carrots (using them up), home-grown fermented veggies
1/2 Michigan peach, tapioca pudding made with local milk (Castle Rock) and local duck eggs (Sashay Acres)
Local Beef Roast, home-grown cabbage, non-local carrots, local cucumbers, home-grown tomato slices, home-grown sweet corn
As you can see, the chicken from Sashay Acres (Rock County Farmer’s Market) lasted me for several meals. I also made the bones into chicken stock on Friday. I threw several veggies into the pot with the bones, skin, bits of meat, fresh water, and a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. I let the whole thing cook for the entire afternoon (until the power went out). I’m really happy with the stock that resulted. I look forward to making a big pot of soup this week. Of course, it will probably have to be corn chowder! Now I am back to the garden and the kitchen.