Monthly Archives: February 2007

Erika Lesser in Freeport

Erika Lesser, Executive Director of Slow Food USA, will speak in Freeport on March 1 as part of The Wolfe’s Neck Farm Foundation’s talk series, “Food for Thought, Thoughtful Food.”The presentation will be in the Freeport Community Center, 53 Depot Street, Freeport, from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. We will address the past, present, and future of food and farms in Maine. The events is free and open to the public; donations to support this and future events appreciated.

Erika will speak on the topic “Good, Clean and Fair: Slow Food in Principle and in Practice” She will focus on creating a sustainable culture of good food for a healthier community. David Buchanan, the leader of Slowfood Portland, will also present, to offer practical steps for people to get involved in their own communities.

Erin Go to the Potluck

For the next Slow Food Seacoast potluck and meeting, on Sunday, March 4th, we’ll be exploring flavors of the Emerald Isle. This theme was chosen in honor of the approaching St. Patrick’s Day, as well as the strong influence of Irish culture brought to New England over its entire history.

For many, the phrase ‘Irish food’ conjures a bad reputation for blandness and monotony. Certainly, for many decades, the potato monoculture, poverty, and privation determined much of the national diet, a fact which contributed to the idea that Irish food was not rich or varied.

Here in the United States, many of us are familiar with the supposed classic Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage – but that’s really an Irish-American dish, a variant on a traditional bacon and cabbage mixture. It seems that immigrants to the United States could not find the fatty, salt-cured, thick-sliced bacon of the old country, and substituted the corned beef found at Jewish butcher shops in East Coast cities. This new combination became the basis for the New England boiled dinner.

But Irish food is not all potatoes and cabbage. There are some wonderful things to be found if one looks more deeply into the culture and its food history.

To allay any fears of a table full of soda bread and Guinness (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), here’s a look at some Irish food history and recipe sites, which may inspire you to explore a food culture shaped by history and economics, grassy dairylands, rocky soil, the produce of a cool moist climate, and abundant fish from the oceans.

  • Wikipedia gives an overview of Irish Cuisine from its earliest history (venison stew and mead) to the arrival of the potato in the 1600s to the ‘New Irish Cuisine’ of the 20th century, based on seafoods and cheeses.
  • Irish Culture & Customs has an exceptionally long list of recipes and a collection of articles on specific food topics.
  • DoChara’s History of Food in Ireland does a similar overview in greater depth, and also offers a small collection of recipes.
  • Ireland’s Eye offers a set of traditional recipes featuring ham, oats, jams, and other classic ingredients.
  • FoodIreland has some excellent recipes for baked goods and meat dishes, many featuring brand-name ingredients commercially available in Ireland.With all this variety, we should have plenty to explore. Please plan to come — and bring friends. Slainte!
  • Fast Meets Slow

    This Thursday, the Music Hall‘s Wild Card film series presents the movie Fast Food Nation, a docudrama adaptation of Eric Schlosser‘s hard-hitting nonfiction book on the ubiquitous American fast food industry. In settings ranging from ranches to restaurants to meatpacking plants, the movie gives an expansive overview of how all those burgers and fries ended up on all those plastic trays. If you don’t like what you see, a panel discussion following the movie will concentrate on delicious alternatives. Susan Tuveson of Cacao Chocolates in Kittery and Evan Mallett of Lindbergh’s Crossing will offer up some ‘cooking as theatre,’ creating a dish right onstage featuring local eggs, potatoes, onions, and herbs. There’ll be tasting for all. Rounding out the discussion will be Garen Heller of Back River Farm, John Forti and Michelle Moon of Slow Food Seacoast, and the UNH Office of Sustainability. Film at 7:30, tasting and dicussion afterward. Please come down!

    It’s a Peach!

    …and a plum and an apple and — well, you get the idea. If you have fruit trees, you may be interested in attending this demonstration offered through the UNH Cooperative Extension.

    Tree Fruit Pruning Demonstration

    The UNH Cooperative Extension, Rockingham County, will be holding a tree fruit pruning demonstration on Thursday, February 22 at 9:30 am until noon time. Bill Lord, Tree Fruit Specialist will demonstrate how to prune apples, peaches, cherries and plums.

    The pruning demonstration will be hosted by Sunnycrest Farm in Londonderry. Dress for the weather. Directions to Sunnycrest Farm in Londonderry: Exit 4 off Interstate 93, West on Route 102, four miles, turn right at Sunnycrest sign on the right. Drive one mile to farm at 59 High Range Road. Demonstration is free and open to the public. Registration not required. For more info call UNH Cooperative Extension at 679-5616

    Fish Tale

    Sara Zoe sends word of an interesting web movie: “This short non-narrative video tracks the day in a life of a fish as it travels from sea to stomach. Starting at the Portland Fish Exchange, fish are unloaded from the fisherman’s boat and then sold at auction to the highest bidding “Fish Pimp”. They are then transported from the Exchange to processing plants, restaurants, and retail markets all over the world. A salmon is filleted and sold at a local fish market. At the end of the day, the salmon is cooked on a grill and made into a nice meal”