"Everyone had a garden back then; you just couldn’t get by without it. We fried our dinner in lard, and sauerkraut got us through the winter,” Trudy explained, answering a question about how the old-timers survived in the rough-and-tumble Colorado mining community of Crested Butte long before the roads were paved and imported, packaged foods traveled up the winding mountain passes in eighteen-wheel trucks to line the shelves of our grocery store.
Trudy, you see, is an old-timer. She grew up when convenience foods and long-traveled fruit and vegetables simply couldn’t be found. That time lingered in the isolated town of Crested Butte, where I make my home, longer than it did in most American communities. Here, seasonal vegetables straight from the garden filled the dinner table, along with whole milk and butter from the local creamery, and locally produced meat and lard. In the fall, plenty of sauerkraut was put up to last until late spring lest bellies go hungry.
These foods—meat loaf and liver, whole raw milk and just-gathered eggs, sourdough bread and soaked oatmeal porridge—nourished generation after generation of healthy people the world over until the global food supply began to change slowly but dramatically at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century and again after the Green Revolution of the mid-twentieth century. A Traditional Foods Movement
Traditional foods are the foods of our great-great grandmothers—the foods of gardens and of farms. They represent a system of balance, emphasizing the value of meat and milk, grain and bean, vegetables and fruits.
There is a movement afoot to restore this way of eating. The movement honors the connection between the foods that we eat, how we prepare these foods, and where they come from. In this way, the traditional foods movement celebrates the connection between the farm that produces the food, the cook who prepares it, and the individuals who eat it. Traditional foods is a system of connection, emphasizing support for time-honored ways in farming, cooking, and eating, and finding a place for fat and lean, animal and vegetable, raw and cooked.
-----------------------------------------------Barley in Broth with Bacon and Kale
Cooked barley and ribbons of kale swirl together in this thick broth-based soup. Barley brings its earthy flavor and pleasant, chewy texture to a broth punctuated by bacon, carrots, celery, and garlic. Serves 4 to 6
1 cup hulled barley
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces bacon, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups Chicken Bone Broth
1 small bunch Lacinato kale (about 8 ounces)
Finely ground unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toss the barley into a mixing bowl and cover with warm water by 2 inches. Stir in the vinegar, cover the bowl, and allow the grains to soak at room temperature for at least 8 and up to 12 hours.
Drain the barley and rinse it well.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and toss in the bacon. Allow the bacon to cook until crispy, about 6 minutes. Stir in the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are fragrant and crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the soaked barley and the wine and stir continuously until the wine has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low, then stir in the chicken broth, cover, and simmer until the barley is cooked through, about 40 minutes.
While the barley cooks, prepare the kale by trimming away any tough stems or veins. Stack the leaves one on top of another and roll them into a cigar. Slice the leaves crosswise into ribbons about 1/8 inch thick.
Once the barley is tender, turn off the heat. Stir in the kale and cover the pot. Allow the kale to wilt in the residual heat of the broth for 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Excerpted from The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther. Copyright © 2014 by Jennifer McGruther. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.