Sunday, February 28, 2010


I made homemade marshmallows. No, maybe I made nougat. I made a mess for sure. I carefully followed this Martha Stewart recipe along with some good advice and tips from a good friend. What I ended up with is a pile of delicious misshapen marshmallows. Next time I will let the goop triple in volume as directed. I got excited when it had doubled and poured it out too soon. The Hungry Mouse site nicely shows the steps needed to make marshmallows. I took pictures of the process also, but my pictures feature multiple dogs and kids and showers of spilled ingredients in the background. We do not need to eat marshmallows, and I am not sure why I did this, but now I know how. -Polly

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sometimes the World Does not Inspire Confidence

Food Security, or I don't delegate well, or Eat locally, or The End is Near. Not sure what to call this post. Here is the thing. I went to the market today and again returned home quite discouraged. I want to be able to produce all of the food that my family eats, but even if it is possible, we just are not there yet. I am comfortable with some compromise in this area. I am not comfortable though with not knowing where the purchased parts of our diet come from.

I know that most people are good and well meaning. I know that most of the people who work to make and grow food are good and well meaning. I worry though about the people that are not especially bad but that fall just short of well intentioned. When I go to the market I encounter many folks who seem to be making less than considerate choices. Little things I mean. Does the individual who spits gum on the ground not realize that it will stick to someone's shoe? Consider the gentleman who parks nearby to clean his car. He carefully buffs the car with a soft cloth and then tidies the interior by tossing all of his trash onto the ground. I see shoppers change their minds about the foods in their carts, so the items gets stuffed in the rack wherever they happen to be at the time. I notice that people are unwilling to walk their shopping carts to the corral that has been provided for them. Little bits of effort that are not worth the trouble. These things worry me. Our family term for these people is zombies because they seem to be operating without any thought processes. I think that most of us are guilty of behaving this way from time to time.

I have spent enough time working in restaurants and food preparation jobs that I know how much care needs to go into the production of clean and healthful food. If I can see examples of careless behavior in my community, I think that I can assume it also occurs in the unseen parts of food production. I also know that no one should be expected to care more about my families health than I do. Zombies can't be expected to. I don't expect the government to keep an eye on it for me either. I think for us, the answer is to keep working to produce more of our own food, but also to find real people to buy food from. Local food is wonderful, but really what is important to me is to be able to look a farmer in the eye and see that there is a real person there. -Polly

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

I took the road more traveled by

As I have mentioned, we live in a small city. I have outdoorsy leanings however and enjoy walking about in natural environments. There is a pond within walking distance of our house that I particularly enjoy visiting. It is a man made pond on a college campus, but it is large enough to harbor many migratory and year round birds and animals.

The only trouble with the pond is the road leading to it.

The college students sometimes seem to have finished their classes for the day and are in great haste to get on to other things. Sometimes the students seem to be in great haste to get to class on time. Always they seem to drive at stunning speed down the road that would bring me to the pond. Now, our city has installed a sidewalk. Perhaps still, I will be carried to my reward on a speeding fender, but the sidewalk makes me feel so much better, and that has made all the difference. -Polly

Squirrel Stew

This weekend we ate a fine squirrel stew. It does not sound appetising, and I did have some real concern that it would be inedible. Part of our family believes though that every good meal requires at least part of an animal. The hunter in our family was brought up with the odd but reasonable lesson that any creature that he shot and killed he would also need to eat. Because he brought home a squirrel in a bag, I needed to make it into a meal. It was a tough little animal with little meat, but we knew that it had led a clean life outdoors. That is more than we ever know about the meat from the local market, so we gave it a try. The recipe is as follows.-Polly

- Boil and then simmer the cleaned whole squirrel in water for 30 minutes.
- Let the squirrel cool just enough to handle. Discard the water.
-Remove all of the meat and set it aside. Discard the bones or think of some
good use for them.
-Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a heavy good sized pot.
-Add two finely chopped small onions, two sliced carrots, three sliced parsnips, two chopped celery stalks, and three large minced garlic cloves to the oil. Let them sit until the onion is becoming tender. Do not let the garlic brown.
-Add 4 Cups of water, vegetable broth, or chicken broth to the simmering vegetables. If you use water rather than broth, some salt may be desired.
-Add the squirrel meat.
-Make a dumpling dough while the stew starts to simmer again.
These dumplings are adapted from the

Mix together-1 cup of flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Cut in 2 Tbsp of butter
Add 1/2 cup of milk all at once.

Mix only a little, then drop the dough in blobs onto the stew. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then cook 10 minutes more with a cover.

Sunday, February 7, 2010