A Sense Of Place
Wendell Berry has made his name as an author of some 60 books of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. As an activist, he has been vocal in his opposition to war, nuclear and coal power, and factory farms. Conversely, he’s been vocal a supporter of small farms, connection to place, and “good work.” He has called his 117 acre farm in the Kentucky River Valley home since 1965.
“Eating food from your own place, makes you one flesh with that place,” he says.
He has had a unique perspective on things, watching the world change from before World War II until the present day. Before the war, people relied on their communities to survive. Now, we tend to look outside our intimate world in order to subsist – thanks in part to cheap fossil fuels and machines.
“We have substituted a life that was economically intimate, coming from known sources, for a life that is commercial and remote from its sources and therefore in a fundamental way ignorant and unfeeling.”
How To Be A Critic
He calls himself not only an agricultural critic but a cultural critic. He came to this out of necessity, because he recognized that industrial agriculture was running a debit column that wasn’t being acknowledged. But, you can’t be a critic by simply collecting things that seem to demand griping about.
To be a proper critic, one must search out the examples of good work, good land use, of simple goodness, that can give you some kind of standard of judgment along with the ecological health that is also an inescapable standard of judgment. I think that there is an increasing number of people who know this, too, who are familiar with examples of good work. This is the inevitable source of hope.
Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Chef Bob Adkins grew up eating pumpkin seeds, but they never did turn out as fabulously as he imagined they would. “You scoop them out of the jack-o-lantern and throw them in the oven. It’s really fun to do, but you bite into them and they’re really fibrous.”
However, these are not your typical jack-o-lantern pumpkin seeds. Pepitas are flat, green seeds that come from pumpkins grown specifically for the seeds.
You’ll notice that this recipe does not use olive oil or butter in the pan. Just like mushrooms, these seeds don’t stick and still develop a great flavor, even without the fat.
- 2 cups of pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup of sugar (enough to cover the top of the seed in the pan)
- Hefty pinch of crushed red chili flakes
- Pinch kosher salt and pepper
- Heat up a heavy bottom pan to HOT.
- Add dry seeds directly to pan. They will pop and brown. Keep moving them, just like popcorn.
- Add the sugar and salt and pepper to the seeds in the pan.
- Once browned, pour seeds onto cookie sheet.
- While they are still hot, sprinkle sugar over top.
- Let them cool and break them up into chunks like peanut brittle. Yum!
Roasted Spaghetti Squash Boat
When we sent out a call to you, our listeners and readers, a few months ago to ask what ingredients you wanted us to cook with, many of you mentioned spaghetti squash. This is an easy recipe that takes no time and is awfully flavorful. That, and it’s gluten-free!
When you’re done using the spaghetti squash shell as a bowl, tie a string through it and hang it as a bird feeder – just in time for spring!
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- Truffle oil
- Pinch salt and pepper
Method (roasting in half):
- Cut spaghetti squash in half. Remove pith and seeds. (The best way to remove the seeds is by placing the pith in cold water and shaking the seeds out of the pith. Roast the seeds off if you like.) Rub squash with olive oil.
- Place the cut side down in 1/2 inch of water. Roast it in a 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. It will start to steam.
- Use a fork to rake out the squash.
- Mix the squash with Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon zest, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Method (roasting whole):
- Be sure to pierce it with a knife before cooking. Roast in a 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. (If you’re in a hurry, you can microwave the squash for 10 minutes.)
- Cut out a window in the roasted squash and scrape out the seeds.
- Rake our the squash and mix it with Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon zest, and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Stuff the squash mixture back into the shell.
- Garnish with parsley and Parmesan and drizzle with truffle oil. Enjoy!