It is holiday feast season so I thought I would rummage through Ecotone’s Sustenance Issue to get some ideas for avoiding that same dried-out poultry and canned cranberry sauce. The bounty therein was plentiful, and I couldn’t stop with the traditional five-item list. So give your Aunt Henrietta an extra glass of white zinfandel and let your tastebuds celebrate alongside you in this collection of fantastic recipes.
- Reading Camille T. Dungy’s essay “Differentiation” I found myself wandering the snowy planes of an Alaskan town discovering a food culture I had no knowledge of. Since I am not in the habit of catching and processing my seafood by hand, I decided on the next-best thing: to start our feast with a salmon fish cake courtesy of BBCGoodFood.com. I’m not suggesting that you go crazy and make your own mayonnaise tarter sauce but I am alsohttp://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/braised-mustard-greens-recipe not not suggesting that.
- It is a challenge to read Randall Kenan’s essay “Greens: A Mess of Memories About Taste” and not imagine the tangy savory flavor of mustard greens filling you up and making you feel at home. You don’t have to be a Southerner to appreciate the mastery of imagery and sensuous textures Kenan weaves into his essay. Being a firm believer in the power of bacon to make anything better, I found a recipe, courtesy of Rachel Ray, that combined the two. If Aunt Henrietta is huffing and puffing about not having those mashed potatoes, just give her a taste of these greens and ask her, “Ain’t it good? Ain’t it good?”
- I am particularly excited about this next one. Sarah Becan’s comic “Les Curds du Mal” is both savory and enraging. After spending time learning about the politics of importing French cheese, you’ll want to jet off to Paris directly for a bit of Brie. Although we now know that our imported cheese is subpar, we’ll take what we can get and, after finding this recipe, courtesy of Saveur, we want it. And this recipe for a Tartiflette might make it taste even better.
- Many of us here at Ecotone and Lookout have holiday histories that are steeped in tradition. But after reading “Breaking the Jemima Code: The Legacy of African American Cookbooks,” an excerpt from the book The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cooks, we’ve learned that many of our tried-and-true traditions have origins we’re unaware of. In the spirit of acknowledging that Toni Tipton-Martin gives us, let’s get rid of that salty swine and savor something new. I’m sure by this point Aunt Henrietta is on board and ready for whatever the table delivers—just make sure no one starts talking politics! Here’s a recipe for Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb offered up by Toni Tipton-Martin herself via the JemimaCode.com
- The Sustenance Issue of Ecotone is a trip not only through physical sustenance, but also the emotional and historical kind. Here at Ecotone we celebrate the knowledge and healing the comes through the sharing of stories. This next recipe is inspired by Matthew Gavin Frank’s essay “Spoon Bread.” Frank’s candid examination of his own family and cultural history in Nebraska is awe inspiring. And mouth watering. This recipe for spoon bread is courtesy of Martha Stewart.
- Emily Hillard’s essay “Heavenly Work: The Fleeting Legacy of the Shakers” asks us to imagine how a community interacts with its history. I couldn’t imagine a sweeter way to end a foray into new traditions. So, we perused Emily’s blog, Nothing in The House, and found a recipe for Red Wine-Poached Seckel Pear Tarlets that will have Aunt Henrietta dreaming about next year (and after all that white zinfindel we doubt she’ll turn down anything poached in red wine). If this particular tartlet is not your style, check out Emily’s blog for a plethora of options.
From all of us here at Ecotone and Lookout, we wish you a season filled with good sustenance of all kinds: good friends, fiesty family (wink wink, Aunt Henrietta), tasty food, and robust literature.
–Reneé LaBonté, Lookout intern