Saturday, August 20, 2011

Comfort Food

Wilson's Soul Food Inc. 19

You know, I'm not sure when the term 'comfort food' became a popular culture buzzword. I remember it popping up in the mid 90's, around the time I was in high school. In my part of the world "soul food" is often interchangeable. I personally love this kind of food in all its forms, and the repertoire that I pull from is an odd amalgam of regional cuisine and worldly influence.

So what makes me bring this up? Well, poor Simon missed his first week of school due to a case of strep-throat. A nasty one at that. I've had a heck of a time getting him to eat anything and finally fell back on an old favorite, Cream of Wheat. Don't say yuck just yet, because this is my Mom's Cream of Wheat recipe and its converted quite a number of people. I'll share it with you, but also warn you there are no exact measurements.

(Not my actual recipe, but a picture I found. Omit the chocolate and add cinnamon and peaches I bet it would be good too!)

Chocolate Cream of Wheat
1) Follow the instructions on the box. Do not use instant! Use the kind you have to cook and use milk instead of water. If you are using whole milk you can do 50/50 on milk and water and it still turns out right.
2) Once the milk is warm but not hot add coco powder. This will depend on how much you are making. I use anywhere from 1-3 heaping teaspoons.
3) Add sugar or natural sweetener to taste. I'll use a combo between stevia and table sugar (I'm allergic to agave).
4)Use a whisk to stir while you bring it slowly to a boil and then add your cream of wheat. Keep stirring so the milk doesn't scald.
5) Once its cooked and has thickened, take the pan off the heat and keep stirring for a little bit while you add a teaspoon of vanilla flavoring.
6) Pour into dishes and let it cool. It will be like a really nutritious pudding.

Simon isn't a huge fan of chocolate so you can do this and omit the cocoa powder, too. Today I added some fresh blueberries and a small drizzle of sorghum molasses. Both of which were from a local farm.

Oh yes, that's the other news! One of the benefits of living in the "Conservative South" is there is a huge variety of produce and livestock grown here. One of the interesting side effects of all the 'tainted food' scares has been the small towns having a local farmers markets. I usually stop at the one in Kennesaw on the way home Tuesday mornings. But there are several others to choose one during the week. I got into a discussion with a lovely couple that run a small farm called "Spreading Oak" and found out they do farm shares! They also sell grass fed beef and free range eggs*. So I've signed up and paid for my portion the Autumn season and they said they'd also let me know when the next cow will be sacrificed for food. I told them I'd like to pre-order some more choice cuts (they are always the first to go as the local butcher shops buy from them too).

I intend to take the kids out there in the near future so they can have an understanding of where food comes from. They already get it, for the most part. Several of my in-laws still have farms further outside the city.

In sewing news I have a black silk Sorbetto type blouse cut out, with sleeves! And I want to sew up the short knit dress that was cut out ages ago. Not much time for sewing as this was a long work week, Simon's been sick, and I've been trying to get the household in order. I didn't get to bed until about 4pm yesterday because I got a call from Mom's roommate saying she was awake and asking for me around 2pm. Dad and I both went over to see her. Her mind is slipping further and further out of time and place when she is awake. She couldn't remember that her body doesn't work right anymore. Kept saying she wanted to get up and walk to the bathroom and we had to explain she hasn't been able to walk for years now. That was hard. I would have to gently remind her that I've been married for almost 11 years and how old Simon and Felicity are now and... sometimes I just kind of went with it.

If you've made it this far through my ramblings, thank you. There might be more posts like this but I'll try to add something of usefulness or interest as well. I feel a post about the sewing machine coming on, as its invention is reaching a milestone anniversary. And well, I'm a nerd about the history of science and tech.

* About Free Range Eggs: I have always bought free range and/or vegetarian fed eggs even when our food budget was so tight we probably could have gone on food stamps. Honestly it had very little to do with ethics and everything to do with taste. They just _taste_ better. I think this comes from the fact that even when we lived in pretty urban areas Mom had chickens. Up until moving to Georgia we ALWAYS had fresh eggs. Always. I can't stand them any other way.

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