I love to cook. For a short time I even owned a restaurant in which I cooked everyday and I still love to cook. I am not an expert chef, I have never been to culinary school. I guess I should say that I love to eat, and I know what I love eating, therefore, I’ve learned to cook so that I can eat what I love. The restaurant featured fresh, seasonal, local foods; which, despite there being an abundance of fresh food available in Kentuckiana, seems to be a hard type of restaurant to find. So I opened my own. the restaurant did well, people enjoyed it very much and had I been as good at managing expenses as I am at dreaming up new dishes, I would be breaking into fresh arugula and braising butternut squash right now.
I believe in the power of good eating, for health and for life. I also believe that there is a culinary genius lurking in each of us waiting to be let out. We are all connected to the food we eat. The circle of life stuff. You know the song. Seriously though, we are a part of the food chain and this connects us to the biosphere and thus, to the earth. When we acknowledge that connection cooking becomes something ethereal; a part of our being.
How does one access their chef de cuisine? It’s simple; eat fresh, local and seasonally. When its locally grown it is the freshest food available. It does not have to be boxed, shipped, driven, or launched to your supermarket. Food is not born polished, painted, fluffed, colored, waxed, or dipped. This is all a part of the packaging process. This is bad for the environment, the digestive, and the psyche.
Fresh, seasonal food naturally looks better, smells better, and yes, tastes better! We are lucky to live in a part of the country where the earth offers us a beautiful and bountiful harvest almost the entire year. There are several wonderful Farmer’s Markets available well into the winter. We also have several grocers who offer local produce throughout the year (if your grocer does not offer local food, ask them too!). There are many CSA’s that offer a wonderful selection of produce, herbs, milk, cheeses, and meat. My favorites include (we used these at the restaurant): Grasshoppers Distribution, Moonkist Gardens, Fox Hollow Farms, and Russell Veggies. These local farms produce food almost the entire year. The food is low in chemicals (like additives, antibiotics, and pesticides), and affordable on any budget. You can even visit the farms to really experience the human/food connection…
Right now Kentuckiana has wonderful squashes, herbs, lettuces, green beans, Brussels sprouts, greens apples, cheeses, milk, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, pork…and so many types of these! The varieties of produce, cheese and meat through Grasshopper is enough to stock your fridge and freezer full. Foxhollow offers grass fed, free range beef that is humanely raised. You’ll be amazed by the variety of exotic, fresh offerings that Christine from Moonkist Gardens has.
The truth is, when you cook with the food that is grown in your own environment, which is as indigenous to the area as you are, and is among the freshest, highest quality products available; you start as a master chef. If you can wash, chop, salt, pepper, heat and serve; you are “one with the food” and the culinary guru is free. Because the food is just that good. Also, because you and the food must thrive in a similar climate; the food contains and provides nutrients necessary for us to adapt to the seasonal environmental.
I know that food becomes a matter of necessity in our busy lives. Opening a box and putting it in the microwave can sometimes seem like too much work. You can roast the vegetables ahead of time to make seasonal meals quick and easy. Here are some great websites for recipes and resources for local farms in Kentuckiana: