Yesterday, as I prepared our celebratory dinner for Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) I enjoyed having my grandmothers and mother “with” me. My sister Laura kept Grandma Anna’s noodle kugel (pudding) recipe “safe” but finally shared it and I am so glad. Grandma Sarah, who had a restaurant in Russia at one point around the turn of the last century, shared her “a bissel (Yiddish for little) of that and a bissel of that” kind of recipe for her pot roast. My mom generally provided the nervous energy to make sure I stayed on task and everything was ready for my guests.
I used a lot of local foods for this meal…..the beef comes from Rolling R in Kentucky. The potatoes are from the Wild Ramp as well, as is the honey from both Killer Bees and Blatts (a LOT of honey used for this holiday!) and the apples from Fuhrmann orchards supplemented by more purchased at the Hurricane Farmers Market.
This got me to thinking about how so many cultural recipes were developed with local foods. After all, back in the day, mass transportation of foods from other climates was not a regular event. The proverbial orange for Christmas was a very very special treat and fairly pricey in northern locations.
Even if your family’s cultural heritage from foreign lands has been lost over the decades, your family favorites most likely are also dependent on local foods, especially if the recipes are older than grandma. The West Virginia Farm2u program sponsors periodic Heritage Cooking Festivals throughout the region. Sometime go, or even better yet, sign up to present a recipe.
So, go back to your roots and enjoy sourcing your ingredients locally…..this will bring you closer to your ancestors and your celebration will be so much sweeter. Especially if you use honey. *G*