Saturday, February 6, 2010

Preservation Link Roundup 2/6/10

Food writer Josh Ozersky has an article in this week's Time querying whether the natural foods movement has met its stylistic end, at least in the high-end restaurant world (Has Chefs' Cooking Gone Too Green?). Perhaps we can put his article with the slate of articles talking about the stylistic end of molecular gastronomy. Hmmm ... who is right? Perhaps all these sorts of articles are just simplistic takes on the creativity that takes place in the high-end restaurant world. It isn't about the techniques or ingredients alone, but the philosophy, creativity and stories that top-notch chefs tell with their food. Fresh, local and seasonal ingredients aren't going away. Creative chefs will never hit a stylistic dead end using them.

It is raining here in Southern California, causing all sorts of problems for many and true disasters for those living in mudslide-prone areas. What is happening here pales in comparison, however, with the blizzard hitting the East Coast. A couple of blog posts remind us how food preservation is an important part of planning for such disasters.

Filling Your Ark reminds us that canned goods aren't dependent on electricity for freezing and refrigeration (Snow Piles Up - Thousands Without Electricity). Furthermore, the article the blog refers to points out that many stores' shelves were bare as shoppers stripped them in anticipation of the blizzard. How nice not to have to worry about that sort of thing, thanks to a well-stocked pantry.

YumPittsburgh reports on a conference to strengthen the local food infrastructure in Western Pa (Great Conference, Giant Blizzard, Closing Thoughts). How ironic that some of the attendees were stuck there due to the blizzard. At least for next time they had learned a lot about food preservation, especially canning:
But for now, the thing that struck me most was how much learning happened for folks from non-farming families on really practical food production and preservation. And the sense of self reliance and community that comes out of it...

The food preservation topic was a great example of the cross pollination between disciplines and generations. There was a time where canning how-to was handed down informally every season during the harvest. This transfer from grandma to mom to granddaughter installed confidence in food security and the final product. Yum admits having canned and then not eating it for fear of having done it wrong and dying of botulism! So lame.

But to see a roomful of folks of all ages re-learning and sharing this old knowledge (which included the latest USDA tested recipes!) was remarkable. Seeing focused attention from so many people relearning how to use the sun to dry food for later use felt really, really right.
Good luck to all those suffering due to the weather.

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