Showing posts with label fresh food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fresh food. Show all posts

04 August 2012

Introducing...Frugal French Fridays and BlogHer 2013

Blogging about food from my little corner of Wisconsin-almost-Michigan is a continual challenge. For one thing, our growing season is short and fresh, locally-grown produce is generally only available five months a year.

Since becoming a blogger and spending more time in France, I've come to appreciate the importance of fresh ingredients, something my chef father and my grandmother understood but somehow failed to thoroughly impart to me, perhaps because my mother, who brags about not caring about food, likes to open cans for supper. She was the spoiler.

Then I left Madison and the proximity of the legendary Dane County Farm Market. What culinary culture shock! When we moved back to our hometown in the mid-90s, there was not one restaurant that emphasized fresh and healthy. We'd plan an evening out, and drive around looking for a place that wasn't all steaks and burgers and fried stuff. And then go home and make popcorn.

Finally a restaurant specializing in fresh, from-scratch food opened in an old house near the harbor in the late 1990s: Apricot-chicken salad in pita pockets! Portabella mushroom sandwiches! Vegetable stir fries! Soon others began to add locally grown, fresh produce to their menus. Then came a French restaurant and bakery, and the chefs routinely visited local markets and farm stands. That was the Big Turning Point.

Within a year or two several young chefs trained at culinary institutes in larger cities came along and bingo! We were off. Now our community even has a winery.

At the same time, Farmer Lucy took a town with no farm market and through hard work and year-round determination, created an outdoor market from nothing. There was a tough year or two when the city kicked the farmers out of the park by charging them a weekly fee. Fortunately, a sympathetic local merchant loaned the growers his parking lot and the interior of his antiques mall in winter, and bingo again! We were cooking with locally=grown and raised food.

Now we're working to revive the other farm market in our community, which has its own challenges.

But our community is not based on food, so there are few local food makers to purchase additional items from. So I try to eat regionally.

Then there is my own blogger voice. It probably has limited appeal. I'm not a twenty- or even thirty-something blogger. I don't get fashionably snarky and I don't generally use the word "meh" to describe my lack of enthusiasm for something. I like to talk about my grandmother instead. Age has mellowed my sarcasm. I might not be that fun to read. (I do, I am proud to say, have some wonderful blogger friends who have been with me for six years now.)

Now that "rewirement" is so close I can touch it, it's time to take this whole blogging thing seriously. So I've been thinking a lot. And I'm ready to reveal one new change to French Kitchen in America.

Beginning September 1, my Friday post will focus on Frugal French. It might be a low-cost version of a French favorite. It might be a French provincial dish that doesn't cost much to prepare. It might be a dish I conjure up with seasonal ingredients. At any rate, it will be fun, and I invite you to join me for Friday Frugal French Fridays.

Meanwhile, because I want to win a pass to next year's BogHer conference, I'm telling you about this competition. For doing so, my name goes in the hat. Yours can, too.