Monday, July 7, 2014

Pass it On!

if i had to describe myself i might use the title of a song i wrote recently called "home sweet home-made & hand-me-down." i am a new traditionalist.  sounds mighty devo but i am firmly rooted and a true believer in the art of tradition.  apparently, i am also a "hippie."  i put that in quotes because i was recently called a hippie by a friend while discussing my living situation (24 years in a microscopic west village nyc apartment rental with big tall husband and two rapidly growing children).  my friend wanted to know why we were still in this tiny apartment and why we hadn't left for greener pastures, a bigger space, a house, a place we could call our very own.  equity.  what she termed a solid investment or something we could pass on to our children when that time came.  i thought about it for half a second and blurted, "i'm good.  i have enough right here. owning big stuff seems like a drag. why would i want to pass that down to my kids when i already pass on priceless amounts of love and tradition every single day."  

she didn't quite understand what i was saying until i explained what my legacy to my children is: recipes, culinary skills, kitchen know-how, clean food resources, decades long relationships and bonds with farmers, fisherman, butchers and other sustainable growers, flavorful memories, vibrant health and the nourishing traditions of home that they will carry with them wherever they go and pass on to their children and grandchildren. the type of investment in health and wellness that unfortunately most people don't see as valuable or worthwhile anymore.  that's probably why we are seeing so many parents passing on inherited "taints" like eczema, depression, addiction, diabetes, ADHD, dyslexia, anger, endocrine disorders and many other chronic degenerative illnesses today.  we need to take the emphasis off "things" and money and put it back on solid ground where it belongs....the perfect roast chicken, health restoring and life giving bone broth, probiotic rich cultured foods, a chopped liver that brings back the days of great grandmothers' passed, a connection to a higher power and mother nature that is as solid as the roots of a 200 year old tree that you know will bear fruit year after year.  what i pass on is an embarrassment of riches that will feed my family physically and spiritually for generations to come.  equity that is heartfelt, homemade, happily handed down and held in highest regard.  

the handing down of traditions, skills, recipes, clothing, dances, songs, domestic heirlooms like candle sticks, photographs, artwork, tablecloths and other linens, dishes, pots and pans etc. is quickly becoming a lost art.  once upon a time these things were called a dowry and they went with a bride when she was married.   as a matter of fact, animals were once part of the inheritance and they were prized for milk, meat and muscle in the field.  i am not suggesting we bring back dowries by any means but i am lobbying for these assets to be looked at as having real intrinsic value again.  we have become a society that places value on material goods that are disposable and obsolete in a matter of months.  this skewed perspective on what is worthy of our attention has brought us to this place where mothers do not think it is important to impart kitchen or marketing skills to their children (boys & girls).  fathers have lost their desire to teach their kids (boys & girls) how to pick up a hammer and nails to create and fix what can be home-made and fixed.  in my tiny little kitchen, every creation is a potential inheritance for my children.  when i make a new recipe for a dish or figure out a new flavor combination that wows the masses, i feel like i just put money in the bank.   a deposit that we will be able to draw on forever and will always pay dividends.   it's a no risk, win-win situation.

this might seem silly to some but i am confident that what i pass on each time i bring my Family2Table is obvious and valued.  true love, first and foremost.  passion, respect, creativity and resourcefulness.  with each plate i serve i feel certain that my children are assimilating each physical and emotional nutrient and will  someday feel the need to recreate all those flavors and feelings for their families, making them strong and wealthy beyond all the riches in the world.  because at the end of the day, you can't take it with you when you go so, pass it on and enjoy!

and now i pass on to you The Perfect Roast Chicken

herb roasted chicken

- preheat oven to 425 degrees -- go to 450 if you can without the oven smoking.

- place whole, pastured chicken (3.5-4lbs) in a roasting pan and leave at room temp for half an hour to take the chill off

- liberally season the whole chicken including cavity with sea salt & pepper

- chop herbs (fresh thyme, rosemary, mint and basil -- other options are tarragon, parsley, marjoram, oregano and chervil) and coat the entire chicken.

- use herb stems to put inside of the cavity.  you can put whole garlic, lemon, orange, onions, anything aromatic inside that chicken to perfume and flavor the meat.
be creative and use this as a way to use everything -- even vegetable ends and scraps that you might not have any other use for.

- place chicken in the oven legs first and roast for 20 minutes

- after 20 minutes turn down heat to 400 and rotate bird, legs facing door.

- after another 20 minutes turn down to 350 and turn chicken sideways and leave for another 30 minutes.

- after 1 hour, remove bird and let rest for at least 15 minutes before you cut it up and serve allowing the all the juices to disperse nicely throughout the bird.