Many home cooks are making the effort to feed their families using Traditional Foods and age-old preparation methods that have been known for generations to impart superior health. But these efforts have been hard learned for most of us. My generation seems to have been “jipped” out of this education; an education that had been naturally passed down from mother to daughter in generations past. Somewhere between industrializing our food to make life in the kitchen “easier” and women leaving the home to voluntarily work for a wage, we’ve caused a great schism in our food preparation knowledge and cultural culinary heritages.
My Polish Grandmother made Duck’s blood soup, cow’s tongue, and head cheese. She bought her chickens live from the farmer who then killed and drained them for her to pluck with her children. The milk came on a truck, fresh from the farm nearly weekly.! Her husband canned and put up pickles and jams in the cellar of the family home. All of this took place, not on some prairie, but in a duplex in downtown Milwaukee WI in the early 1930’s and 40’s. A mere 80ish years ~ One generation ~ ago! What followed was the generation of my mother.
My own mother was unknowingly bamboozled by the “convenience food” trend of the 1950’s and 60’s. Somehow ignoring the methods learned in her youth, her potatoes came in a box and her sauces and soups were now conveniently located in a tin can that she could store in her pantry for months on end and then open on a whim. Her hectic life of raising seven children was promised to be made easier by weekly trips to the “Super Market” where foods came together rather than to a farmer, a butcher shop and a grocer. Her culinary life was being shaped by convenience. I can remember the excitement of weekly “TV” dinners, the softness of pure white bread, and breakfast cereals that came in fun shapes, sizes, flavors and colors – all with a toy inside! Without all of this “work” in the kitchen, Mom could now spend her extra time working outside the home – you know, being “productive”. Not surprisingly (in retrospect), by age 44 she was ravaged by breast cancer and passed away. I was 12 years old. Genetic influences aside, today I can look through her recipe box and at least see where things went wrong nutritionally, creating an ideal environment for cancer to take over.
Her favorite recipes looked something like this:
Mom’s Baked Beans Open a can of Baked Beans and add ½ bottle of catsup and ¼ cup of white sugar. Heat on the stove until the flavors combine and the sugar is melted. If you don’t have sugar, molasses will do.
Without my mother, my grandmother became my culinary influence. During her visits we would bake bread and watch it rise together. She would explain as she went along describing how to cut and fry the chicken to perfection and then make gravy from the fat and drippings. “This is where the flavor is!” she’d teach. We peeled the potatoes together and after they were boiled just right, she’ mash them with plenty of butter and fresh milk. She didn’t concern herself with nutrition – not much was known – but incredible flavor and years of good health were her testimony and legacy. For years we baked together when she was very old and my children were very young and she explained about using the butter cold vs using it warm and the effect it would have on my pies, or my cakes, or my bread loaves. She modeled the need for good salt, quality yeast and learning to kneed properly. I treasure the memories of cooking beside her for the blessing that they were.
Today my beloved “Grammy” has passed but her legacy of pie crusts made with lard and eggs fried in the morning in butter and homemade bread and cookies remain a part of my very being. And I WILL pass this on to my children with intention and love and a deep desire for them to be healthy and fit for the work the Lord intends for them. And so we continue to prepare and preserve the foods we grow and purchase. I teach and learn right alongside of all five of them. They delight in the work of the kitchen and we all benefit from their efforts and the love they put into the foods they produce. One extension of this is our “work” kitchen called JoshEWEa’s Garden.
January of 2008 brought the birth of our 5th child and the end of my work outside the home. The economy was suffering and so were we. One day while shopping at our local farm store I approached the store owner who is also my good friend, Paula. “What can I do to help you around here?” I asked. I explained that I could work evenings and weekends and that I had a desire to support her in her mission to offer whole, real foods to our community through her Traditional foods farm store. “I’ll tell you”, she said to me. “What I REALLY need is ….sprouted wheat flour” I had never heard of such a thing! While our own family had battled slight food allergies over the years I muddled through them on my own. Now I was about to learn about a resource that would change my life…The Weston A Price Foundation. (check out our links page) After praying, and calculating, and planning, and long discussions with my hubby, and praying some more, we decided to build a commercial kitchen in our basement and commit to producing high quality Traditional Food – specifically sprouted wheat flour. The name had to be changed to encompass our larger efforts and so we chose JoshEWEa’s Garden. On May 9th of 2008 our license was granted and I delivered the first order to Paula amid excitement and applause from the other customers. It was scary and exciting – and a bit embarrassing – but Paula has been a source of encouragement and support over the years and continues to be a precious friend.
In the years since we’ve added products and an online store (thank you to my web-sister, and REAL sister, Kelly Haggett from PC Inspection out of Seattle WA (see the links page). This technology allows you to access our foods and arrange to have them delivered directly to you. It also provides a medium for education and inspiration for our on-line friends via our links and recipes. I promise to work hard to keep our site current and to be a resource to you in your cooking efforts in the home. Our farm, our schooling and this work are all part of our home. When you call the phone will be ringing in my kitchen. I like it that way. Whenever possible I will pick up! If we miss your call, please leave us your message and know that I’ll call back just as soon as I can. This is a way of life for us. I like to hear your feedback and work together to answer your food questions and learn about what you are cooking! What we do for you is an extension of what we are doing for ourselves. Every purchase you make goes to support our way of life. In exchange you have our promise to be diligent in holding to the Traditional methods to prepare your food, using the best quality ingredients available to us and working with care and intention at all times. May our Good Lord bless and keep you.
From your friends at JoshEWEa’s Garden