I’m cross posting this at Rootie’s Kitchen.
I don’t like canned food. Particularly canned vegetables with the exception of tomatoes. I love canned tomatoes because they make fixing tomato sauce easy. But everything else? Why use canned when fresh is cheaper and better for you and heavens to betsy we all KNOW I have time to prepare fresh. Sometimes I’ll use frozen. Corn for example, or peas of any sort (green, field, black-eye…those bothersome types of peas that you can’t ever find fresh anyway). Frozen is practically fresh, they freeze the things pretty much right after they’re picked.
Canned tuna in a pinch, but ever since they’ve been on this mercury scare (and I don’t scare easily) I have been wary. Anything that affects brain function (like mercury) is to be avoided. This poor brain limps along best it can, and the thought of doing something to it that could be detrimental is off-putting. Canned salmon once in a while. It’s precious hard to go out to the pond in the back yard and catch a salmon. Especially since this is South Georgia and the only thing that could be caught in that pond is a case of hookworms. Once in a rare while Terry will buy some canned salmon and make salmon patties and eggs for breakfast. The boys love that. Fish can be bought frozen at the store, but it is inevitably from some farm in China and frankly, I don’t trust *any* food from China these days. So we don’t eat much fish.
What made me think of all this was Thanksgiving dinner coming up. Nothing is coming from a can, unless I can’t locate cranberries. Used to be, the sweet potato casserole would be those sweet canned ones, mashed with stuff. I quit doing that a a while back, then last year I watched this show where a bunch of men from some South Pacific island toured the US, and spent Thanksgiving dinner with a family from Ohio, and she made sweet potatoes from a can, and one of the men said something about eating dead food. Never again will I make dead sweet potatoes. That statement resonated with me somehow. Dead food. He was right.
So…Living food. Collards just cut, fresh green beans with fresh mushrooms and real cream. Real sweet potatoes and real apples. It’s all real, live food. Well except for the turkey and ham. They’re dead and I am sure the guests will be grateful.
OH! I just remembered one Thanksgiving many years ago, when I was a young teen. We had this friend named Jack. He was a bachelor and puckish. He was invited to our house for Thanksgiving dinner, and he informed my parents that he’d bring the turkey. Great! Mom and Dad said. Mom was feeling relief and not having to deal with the turkey. So, a week before Thanksgiving Day he showed up at our house, with a huge turkey on a leash. A live one. Mom and Dad took it with (relative) grace, put it in a cage and fed it corn for a few days. Then set up a giant pot of boiling water in the backyard, and slaughtered that turkey. Dad hates slaughtering, but knew how and there we were,the freshest turkey on the block for Thanksgiving Dinner. It was enormous too, every bit of 25 pounds.
So I have this philosophy of food. It should be as fresh as possible, and whole as possible. I don’t fix things from boxes or cans or packages. This idea has developed over many years. Way back when Terry and I were first married and money was extremely tight, I felt the need to get the biggest nutitional bang for our buck. We simply didn’t have money to waste on food that wasn’t good for us. So, it was the 39 cents a pound chicken legs, and fresh produce from the stand. Plenty of brown rice, dried peas and beans. I’d get cuttings of herbs from Mom and always kept a small herb garden, either in pots or in the ground. We kept friendships with people who had huge vegetable gardens and they promised us the overflow in exchange for a little help with the cultivation. That notion has stuck. And while we are better off financially now, I don’t see the harm in getting the biggest nutritional bang for our buck. Still no boxed stuff (except for Cheez-its. the menfolk love them, and cereals, though I make my own granola due to salt issues), no canned stuff (except for tomatoes), very little anything pre-packaged. Because honestly? Fresh stuff just tastes better. And it’s not dead.
And, just for y’all
Sweet Potatoes and Apples
sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin and for each sweet potato, a small granny smith apple, peeled and sliced thin
layer the potatoes and apples in a casserole dish or a crock pot. Toss together brown sugar (1 tablespoon per potato), cinnamon, ground ginger (1/8 tablespoon per potato), a dash of salt (per potato) and sprinkle that in amongst the potatoes and apples. Dot with butter (say, a tablespoon per potato). Add a little bit of water (kind of pour it down the side so you don’t disrupt the stuff)- maybe a tablespoon per potato- if you’re using a crock pot. Put the lid on it and bake at whatever temperature you’re cooking everything else in the oven until it’s all soft. At 350 it should take an hour.
In a crock pot, figure 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. I’m making it in the crock pot because the oven will be full of other stuff.