Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Good Food

Today I will be talking about food. However, I will be talking about very natural food I used to eat, and probably never I will experience the same taste again. Someone may ask why? Firstly, my grandmother is resting in piece, recipe or way of doing left with her, and ingredients are not the same as they used to be. In short, the person, the process and the ingredients can not be duplicated at this moment. So lets go back in time over 30 years ago to a small town of just about three thousand people where my grandparents and parents used to have a small farm consisting of a one cow, one pig, one horse, and chickens and roosters. Occasionally we had rabbits too, a seasonal breeding. When my grandfather passed away, we ended up selling the horse. My dad had his own business so he didn't really have time to utilize the horse in the farm. It was easier to just contract out for a necessary task - and it worked. The farm also consisted of many hectares of land, mainly used for potatoes, hay, and then for regular vegetables that were stored over winter time. Around the house we had many different trees such as apples and plums mainly, and lots of current bushes and goose berry. This was our garden of Eden.

Lets now go back on track and talk about the food. There was no pesticides, that means always needed to watch out biting into these high protein worms - you learn how. Fruit was always available all year long. Fresh from the tree or bush in the summer, and fresh, dry or jarred in the winter. The only fruit we ever bought in the store, were exotic ones such as oranges, grapefruit, or lemons. Or other fruit that needed special attention like melons or grapes. It was kind of cool not to have them all the time, because when we did we appreciated it more. We never bought vegetables in the store. Okay I lied, may be tomatoes, but that because we didn't have the heat to grow them, but my mother had a way to used them and make a green tomato salad.

You know what happens when you have a cow around. Yes, you get a fresh milk, in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon and in the evening. I think me and my father were the only two individuals in the house who never milked the cow. Because I just couldn't do it, so I got the responsibility to hold the tail and keep the flies of cow's back. My grandmother specialized in making butter and cheese. There is nothing like fresh bread, butter and cheese sandwich sprinkled with a bit of salt on top, or if you had sweet tooth - homemade jam was added. Add glass of milk to help the flow. As I mention my grandmother was master in making butter. I still remember her slim figure with long arms beating the life out of the milk using wooden barrel and holed beater. Cheese wasn't so bad, it was more a function of heat and time, and separation task using a cheese cloth. As I am writing it now, I am feeling hungry to go back in time.

You know what happens when you have chickens around. Yes, fresh eggs, and fresh chicken soup on Sundays. Sunday was a special day, the chicken was sacrificed for lunch. Hardly ever we had different type of soup on Sunday. We always fought who is going to get the chicken heart or other internal organs. Yes, many people just don't eat that stuff any more because the way chickens are fed - just way too much of unnatural stuff that is fed through the organs. But then it was different, all the food was grown by us, with not pesticides or any fertilizers, except the natural fertilizers - you remember the cow.

You know what happens when you have a pig around. Yes, annual sacrifice - I mean lots of meat. We used to smoke it all or preserve it in the jars. The very common way was to preserve in gelatin. Some people would say - yak, but I like it. The other good stuff was ham and sausages. Again, nothing like bread, butter and ham or sausage sandwich. However, we used to melt lard with bacon bits, it was good but pure fat and deadly. Also, I never liked the pig killing time - sad, and especially when my father had to do it. I have to tell you he just had no skill, and I would like to put that part behind me because wasn't pleasant.

The last thing we had lots of land mainly used for potatoes for us, and grass, wheat and sugar beats for cows, pigs, and chickens. Then around the house garden, a garden full of vegetables and fruit that was consumed during late spring, summer and early fall, and then preserved for winter. I don't think I have to describe the fresh salads, vegetable soups and snack vegetables. The fruit was unlimited.

As a kid myself and my family back then lead healthy life. I continue to lead healthy life, but then there are limitations. For example, an egg may look the same, but the composition is not. The food will never be the same, unless I go back in time.


  1. Beautiful post, Anna!!!

    Our apple trees have a blight we haven't figured out how to cure yet. Jeff sprayed this year but we only had a few apples we could actually eat. This happens year after year. We wish we could figure this out. The apples have brown trails going through the flesh. Ever hear of this?

    I used to drink milk warm from the cow at my Aunt Lena's farm. We still have a dairy farm in the family.

    Hugs, JJ

  2. Thanks JJ. I found some info about your apple issue, posted on your blog, hope it can help - it is shame to have full grown apple tree that does not produce because of something you cannot get rid off. Anna :)

  3. Anna,

    What a beautiful post: so nostalgic!

    I feel you: old day food was tastier than it is nowadays...and it is such a shame *nodding*!
    I am a city girl, so unfortunately I didn't have the chance to experience the delights of eating fresh-pesticide-free-fruit. However my father did, and since I was a kid I hear stories of how great it was to pluck vegies from the earth, to eat fruit directly from the tree, produce olive oil, wine etc...
    My mom's family had chickens, ducks, goats, veggies gardens, coconut trees (in Africa)...and it's wonderful to hear about it :).

    I love cheese....
    We do our own jam here at home, it tastes so much better than the ones bought in the store.
    I witnessed a chicken sacrifice once...the chicken started walking around with no head, and we had to chase it around lol lol...but the damn chicken was delicious at dinner lol.

    You are so right: food will never be the same! That is why people are having all those allergies *nodding*! It freaks me out thinking about this lab-seeds, lab-food...what will be the future of our stomachs?

    As always, I loved your post!


  4. Max, thank you so much for your very insightful comment. Good to know someone who loves cheese, me too I really really love cheese. As a matter of fact, I just reminded myself when we traveled to Italy last summer, and my husband's family bought us this white mozzarella cheese and give us for lunch big chunks with cooked beans.
    You are absolutely correct, nothing tastes better than your own stuff, but I think it also comes from satisfaction that you made it yourself. It is a shame that we will not be able to have the same food again, all the bad stuff is now in the food chain. However, there may be some isolated places in the world that may have been disconnected from the so called processed world - now that I think about it, I think there may be a hope, lol, just have to look for it. Max, thanks for your great comment again. Anna :)

  5. I'm getting used to my gluten-free diet. Mixed up some soy flour, corn flour, and sorghum for pancakes. Not bad. :D

    Hugs, JJ

  6. Awesome post, Anna. My immediate family didn't farm, but relatives did so we enjoyed a lot of homegrown food.
    We used to go to Iowa every August to my aunt's, and yep, she always slaughtered chickens. She would swing them by the neck till it broke, flop them on the tree stump, and WHAM! behead them with an axe. As Max said, it was something to see them run around without heads. At the time I thought it was gross, but thinking back, its pretty funny.
    Thank you for bringing back some fond memories.
    Living in the mountains, we have a few friends that grow veggies organically. Just got some really tasty tomatoes from them. Speaking of tomatoes, would you happen to have the recipe for the green tomato salad? I LOVE fried green tomatoes.
    Keep up the good work, sweetie.

  7. JJ sounds like great breakfast, interesting ingredients, I should try them. For the first time in my life I tried crepes last week and they actually came out great. Now I have to decide on the filling. Anna :)

  8. Pines, glad to you made to this blog. Thank you for reading and your comments. Its funny how old times especially food related, bring everyones memories of good food. I am fortunate, because my husbands parents grow tomatoes and they are always so nice (the tomatoes and them too, lol), nothing like in the store. Never heard about fried green tomatoes, interesting, I will make a note. About the recipe about tomato salad, all I do is cut them up into wedges, I really like virgin olive oil (but any grade of olive oil will do) and balsamic vinegar - add to taste, just play with proportions, you can start with two spoons of each and then go on. This one is my favorite one, however, you can also try with olive oil, white wine vinegar and sprinkle with dry oregano. Sometimes into the above combinations, I throw in black olives, or sliced cucumber or even green onions. If you like black pepper you can add also. I never follow ther recipe, I just go by taste, and everytime I make it, it is slightly different.
    Anna :)

  9. So you are talking wedges of green tomatoes? I will certainly try it!!!
    Can't believe you haven't had fried green tomatoes...you just slice them...coat them with a little flour, salt, pepper, and fry them up. Ever tried fried zucchini? Same thing.
    Thanks for checking in. And thanks for the kudos.
    I just put the pictures in today. Tribue to mom and dad and brother. And Bodega!! lol
    See you soon dear

  10. Hi! anna.

    The story reminds me of time when I was a very young lad. Our family lived next to a hospital that had a diary farm. We used to sneak into the farm via the hole in the back fence. The idea was to chase the cows and cause a bit of havoc.

    This all went according to plan until one day when we got chased into the diary shed by the farmer who was armed with a pitchfork. We escaped into the loft and then slid down the hay shoot. I didn’t like the farmer at the time, as he chewed tobacco and was always covered in stains.

    He eventually cornered us and gave us a lecture. After this we became friends. He let us come back to clean the shed, feed the cows and drink the fresh milk from these large metal canisters. The same canisters that he used to deliver the milk to the hospital. This was in the days before all that fancy stuff was done to the milk before selling.

    Well, one day they closed the diary. The farmer and cows were never to be seen again behind our back fence. The hospital had to get its milk from the big suppliers. From that date on milk never tasted the same.

    Peter McCartney
    Sydney Australia

  11. Pines, thanks for the recipe. I don't fry too much, I just really don't have much experience with hot oils yet, but I will definitely try your recipe. Can you also add an egg to the flower? May be when I have party and can have such appetizers, and I can try with different veggies too, and may be some yogurt to dip. Great pictures of the family, and no problem for kudos. See you soon. Anna :)

  12. Peter great story. You are right that the food will never taste the same. And I think when we are younger may be we have different taste buds and as we grow older things change. Its like when you are a kid you are not that tall and everyone seems very tall around you, and if you ever left some of your relatives behind and came to visit when you older, they are not that tall anymore.

    The funny part about publishing such story, everyone has something similar. We never sneak to other farms because we had one, but then we had only one type of apple tree on our property, and other neighbors had different, so we used to go for these night expeditions for apple hunt. Sometimes we got caught and sometimes not, when we got caught the neighbor delivered some extra apples next day by themselves to our parents for us, but then it wasn't the same as exploring neighbors garden.

    Others also had stories about sacrificing chickens, well, we had the same here, chickens used to run around headless all the time, and yes it was funny then, but now it wouldn't be.

    Peter thanks for taking your time and commenting on my story, I changed the moderation so hopefully none of you will ever run into a missing post issue. Thanks again. Anna :)

  13. Anna,

    I love mozzarella!!! The salads I make: mamma mia!!!
    One day you should taste Portuguese cheese: delicious!!! I also love French cheeses, but those are more sophisticated, you know, to eat with tiny toasts, caviar and stuff...whereas the Portuguese cheese is the right one for cheese lovers (along with the Italian ones, of course)!


  14. Growing up on a farm is one of life's greatest gift to any person. Imagine, there's no pollution, food is always fresh, and almost everyone knows everybody!

    I remember the time that my grandma purchase carabao's milk (water buffalo) for my breakfast! Twas so delicious! I can still taste it!

    I miss my grandma....sigh....

  15. Max, oh cheese, mozzarella is one of them, thanks for reminding me, lol. I think I still have time to try all the cheeses in the world. I will try to find Portuguese cheese, I am sure it is really good. Anna :)

  16. THE ANiTOKiD that was something what I forgot to mention and you did, everyone almost knew everyone, its like one big family. Never tasted water buffalo milk ever, if you still tasting it then it must been really good, that will be something worth trying, but where? Nice grandmother of yours - grandmothers are always missed and will be missed. Anna :)

  17. JJ - Brown trails going through the apple = coddling moth larvae. A big problem on apples and pears.

    Anna - We still have the vegetable garden you describe and our own chickens, just for the eggs. The rest is just memories for me also. I remember drinking the cow's milk sometimes when it was still warm! The biggest difference in our eggs is the yellow and firmness of the yolks. I have many times had a yolk go through the electric beater mixers a couple of times before it breaks!

  18. Will, I knew you would have the vegetable garden, knowing that you are so aware of what you eat. That is so cool to have your own chickens, so the egg shells are white or brown? I can believe about the yolk too. When I traveled to Germany last year, serving sandwiches is very popular there, and the most common sandwich was the boiled egg sandwich, I could not believe how yellow or even orange the yolk was. They said, the more orange, the better the egg is. They had no reason, now that I think of it, may be I should research a bit about that. Thanks for reposting, I relaxed the privileges, so you can now see your comment immediately. Anna :)

  19. We have white, brown, and green eggs! I think the color of the yolk has to do with how healthy the chicken's diet is. I don't know what males the yolks so firm.

    Good idea about the reposting. Why are the comments different on this blog from My Only Photo? They are both Blogspot, but I think the comments work better on your photo blog where they are not in a popup window. Not a critique - just feedback.


  20. Will, I don't know about the green eggs - I am sure you could be ready for Easter anytime with these color free healthy eggs.

    Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate the constructive criticism always, it only makes me better, lol. You are correct both are blospot, but because I set them up at different times, the settings were different - so I changed them to be the same as my only photo blog. I never realized that I had pop up comment window, so thanks again, I take your word for it that it looks better. Anna :)


And now lets hear your blobbing, lol!