Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Potluck: Let's go to New York City

The last Featherstone Farm 2010-11 CSA winter share box has been delivered.  Last Saturday we had a nice party in one of the greenhouses for winter share members and farm staff. Evan grilled some venison and chicken and we sampled some fabulous vegetable stews and soups.  Frank and I brought a pot of homegrown and home ground polenta.

Sign up for the 2011 summer season has begun in earnest -- Jack, Margaret or Evan will be attending CSA fairs and other events - signing up new and returning members.  Check out the new payment options -- it will be easier than ever to spread out your payments if you want to do that.  To sign up online for 2011 go here:  http://featherstonefarm.com/sign-up/ 

Even though our CSA boxes have stopped for now, our need to eat - and cook -  does not end.  So our cooking conversation will continue as we use up the last of our cabbage, carrots and potatoes and more and look forward to the first box of the spring.  I will be posting at least once a week until June.  Frank and I will be working on more videos, too. 

This week's post is about kitchen design.  This matters.  If you like your kitchen you are more apt to like cooking in it.  If you like to cook, you and your family will eat more home cooked meals, made from scratch.  If you eat more home cooking you will be happier and healthier -- and wealthier.

I would love for you to be happy, healthy and wealthy so I am going to devote some posts to the topic of kitchens and kitchen design.  This is not about spending thousands of dollars on a dream kitchen.  This is about being more thoughtful about the space and resources you have. Are there ways you can re-organize or customize your space to make it more convenient and user friendly?

Which brings us - at last - to New York City.  NYC is the home of MoMA - the Museum of Modern Art - and one of its current exhibitions:  
"Counter space: design + the modern kitchen".  It will run until May 2, 2011.  If you can't visit in person, the extensive and detailed web site is the next best thing. 

If you go to this link and scroll down, you will see a collection of videos.  I especially encourage you to click on the one called "A Step-saving Kitchen" - a USDA video made in 1949 for rural families.  http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/counter_space/visions_of_plenty

It is a little over 13 minutes long, so watching it is a commitment.  This is not fast paced.  I found it fascinating and quite relevant to today's cooks - even those who do not live on a farm.  It might help you think about your own cooking and eating style and how you might re-arrange your kitchen to make food preparation, clean up and even preservation more convenient.  One of my favorite features of the "model" kitchen was a little hole in the counter for food waste. The USDA seemed to assume that the household would know what to do with the scraps.  The word compost was not mentioned.  There seemed to be an assumption that there was a pig somewhere nearby.  Or at least a garden.

If you have extra time and would enjoy a few laughs - I also recommend one of the other videos - "A Word to the Wives".  This one, also about 13 minutes, is pure cultural anthropology and Madison Ave. psychology.  While you watch you might think about ways that advertisers today mess with our minds and attitudes about food and cooking.  This has been going on for a long time.  Forewarned is forearmed.

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