I’ve been promising to write a Heartroot Farm Cookbook for so long – for decades, if truth be known…..When Someone-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named suggested during the last equinox retreat that I just write it into this blog, the simplicity of the solution startled me – why hadn’t I thought of this before? I suppose everything has its time…..
I’ve read an awful lot of cookbooks in my life – or maybe ‘read’ isn’t quite the right word…”leafed through” is probably closer to the truth. Scanning the ingredients quickly, getting an idea of proportions, I then close the book and wing it…. And I actually own a surprising number of cookbooks, for someone who never uses them to cook from. I look through them for inspiration, loving the aesthetics of beautiful food photos, or in the case of inherited cookbooks, of special pages worn and stained by food and fingers through years and lifetimes….Old cookbooks are a history of culinary alchemy. As we are indeed what we eat (we are what we believe we eat, as well, but we will get to that later) we can chart the evolution of humanity and consciousness through Devil’s Food Cake and Almond Chew-Chews and Mrs. Harriet McLeod’s Recipe for Beef Stew..
As humanity worked its way from Nature toward Science, the kitchen turned from a place of sanctuary and solace to a laboratory, run under strict hygienic discipline.( Mom was just Mom, after all…how could she be expected to understand the complexity and the chemistry of culinary science?) Aunt Jemima morphed into the Man from Glad as cooking lost its soul to social legitimacy. The Goddess was an heiress of dwindling estate – all the natural arts: gardening, cooking, herbalism, midwifery and massage, shrank to the feminine fastness of the UnderDeveloped, third-ranked, majority world….
Sick chickens in China and cows made mad from eating the flesh of their sisters were the way that many of us first tweaked to the fact that We are One. (I write these words after the watershed of the Obama inauguration, when the World read in huge letters ‘We are One’ and rushed to adopt this man as Theirs…). The effect of wars and leisure time, of television, consumerism desperate for moremoremore, easy travel, infertility and the ‘Net, was that the world shrank around us like Cling Wrap ….
Even in the hidden corner of the world where Heartroot Farm is situated, everyone is at least related to someone who has gone away for study or travel, the local dépanneur offers Korean smoked oysters and little coloured babies are growing up in the snow, speaking Québeçois, far from the lands of their birth.
For a variety of reasons (mostly symptoms of changing belief systems related to health and politics), meat and potatoes, white sugar and canned this and packages of that are gradually being supplemented, if not replaced, by grains, vegetables, fruits and all manner and mien of exotic items. Urban sophisticates navigate deftly through arugula, dragonfruit, hazelnut-pumpkin seed butter and innumerable other items that Spell Check doesn’t recognise, not to mention at least three dozen sorts of cooking oil from over forty different producers. We are confronted with an embarrassment of choice…..
Concurrently, we have come to perceive the power of purchase as an exercise of freedom of choice and political will. Legions of individuals are employed and billions of dollars-pounds-yen-rupees spent on understanding and influencing ‘market trends” – on getting us to choose one product over another.
YIKES! I thought I was writing about cooking!
As I write, the world economy, like London Bridge in the nursery rhyme, is “falling down, falling down”….We are living in a time of chaos and Truth. Beds are overturned, drawers and closets emptied out for all to see. Long-held secrets are being revealed so that each individual now has the option of empowerment and self-realisation. Once again, ‘the Goddess is afoot’: the sap rises and her intuitive arts will blossom anew.
At HeartRoot Farm, we honour and celebrate the earthcycles at the solstices and equinoxes. The oriental Five Element Cycle and the indigenous American Medicine Wheel both inform an appreciation of the importance of each individual in the evolution of the planet. Food is prepared in order to facilitate and resonate with the particular energies of each part of the cycle. It feels to me that it’s about time for us to take full responsibility for our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health – in understanding the cycles of Nature, we understand and can predict the movement of all natural systems, including ourselves.
Apart from all of the above, people seem to like the food I cook – even inveterate carnivores are surprised to feel satisfied with our mostly organic and vegetarian fare. My life is far too unpredictable to be able to commit to a schedule – one recipe per week, for example – but I can promise to begin sprinkling this site with some of the recipes that have become Heartroot favourites over the years….
Keep your eyes peeled!