Thursday, May 27, 2010

Italian feast to benefit chapter's Terra Madre hopefuls

Below is an invitation to an Italian dinner with a special purpose. Slow Food Katy Trail and The Wine Cellar & Bistro invite you to Festa Italiana!, a casual and delicious local-foods feast that will benefit our Slow Food chapter’s delegation to the Terra Madre conference in Turin in October. Donating their talents to the cooking and serving of the dinner will be chefs Craig Cyr and Brook Harlan.

This conference is held in the Piedmont region of Italy, where the Slow Food organization was born more than 20 years ago. The five-day meeting will bring together food communities, cooks, farmers, educators, food activists, academics, youth and musicians from throughout the world. All who attend are united in a desire to promote sustainable local food production in harmony with the environment, while respecting knowledge handed down throughout the generations.

Although the biennial conference has been held since 2004, this will be Slow Food Katy Trail’s first time to apply for representation there. We’re excited about the possibility of sending a mid-Missouri food community delegation to “The Olympics” of the food world. It’s high time that our region show the world what we have to offer!

We’re proud to nominate chef Craig Cyr, of The Wine Cellar & Bistro; chef/educator Brook Harlan, of the Columbia Area Career Center Culinary Arts Program; farmer Julie Walker, of Greystone Farm; and Walker Claridge, of The Root Cellar and Broadway Brewery fame. Proceeds from this dinner will be used for plane fares. Conference costs are covered by other sponsors upon arrival in Italy.

We’re able to offer this fabulous feast at such a reasonable price because of volunteer assistance and generous donations. A special thanks to the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s support of Missouri Legacy Beef and Show-Me Farms, whose local beef products will be featured. Grazie mille to Glazer’s Midwest, Golden Barrel and Missouri Beverage, who will keep the vino flowing ... and xoxoxo to those relentlessly faithful Slow Food volunteers who make it all possible every time at every event!

The $35 ticket price includes tip. Slow Food members receive the first opportunity to purchase tickets during the first five days of sales. Ticket sales open to the public on June 1.

For more information on the Terra Madre conference and its importance in the construction of a global sustainable food network, please visit S2DE0085&tp=3. This is a fantastic opportunity for our local food community to share information and collaborate with like-minded people from throughout the world.

Please come share in the excitement of the possibility and, as always, delicious eats!

Buon appetito!

Slow Food Katy Trail and

The Wine Cellar & Bistro present

Festa Italiana!

An Italian buffet of delicious local and seasonal foods
to benefit SFKT’s Terra Madre delegation

Sunday, June 13 at The Wine Cellar & Bistro, 505 Cherry St.
Come anytime between 5 and 8 p.m.

Beef carpaccio, pickled vegetables, assorted goat cheeses and grilled crostini

Salad of arugula and mixed greens, tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, green onions and Uprise croutons–tossed with an anchovy-balsamic vinaigrette.

Il secondo

 Ossobuco–beef shanks slowly braised in Chianti, with fresh herbs. Served with a creamy risotto made with pancetta and Milton Creamery Prairie Breeze cheese.

Trio di gelati

Mint with Patric Chocolate nibs
Rhubarb with vanilla and wildflower honey

I Vini
A selection of Italian white and red wines

Prepared and served by chefs Craig Cyr and Brook Harlan

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother-Daughter Team Helps Recover Lost Tradition Of Preserving Food

Saving The Seasons--An Easy-To-Use Guide For Those Who Want To Preserve Their Own Food, But Don’t Know How

Not that long ago, many people knew how to preserve food. Information about canning, freezing and drying was passed down from generation to generation. But that’s not the case today, say Susanna Meyer and Mary Clemens Meyer, co-authors of Saving The Seasons: How To Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything, a new book from Herald Press. “Many younger people today want to preserve food, but don’t know how to do it,” says Susanna “Maybe their grandmother canned, or their mother used to, but that generational knowledge hasn’t been passed down.” “Many families no longer have a tradition of preserving food,” adds Mary, who is also Susanna’s mother. “They have not learned what the more rural population of a century ago knew about how to pick, prepare, and process food to keep for the future.”

Passing on tips and ideas for preserving food was one reason why the two decided to create "Saving the Seasons."

“We wanted to provide a clear and easy-to-use guide for those who want to preserve their own food, but don’t know how,” says Susanna, who directs agricultural production at Grow Pittsburgh, a non-profit organization that produces food in the city and helps people create new gardens. “It’s especially helpful for those without a farming or gardening tradition,” adds Mary, who, along with her husband, grows certified organic vegetables and fruit in Fresno, Ohio. “It tells the best way to preserve a certain food, and exactly how to do it.” The two note that the book also comes along at a time when more people are expressing an interest in eating locally grown and seasonal food. “More people care about where their food comes from,” says Mary. “They want to know who grew it and under what conditions. The easiest way to get those answers is to grow food yourself, or buy direct from the grower.” “People are growing becoming more interested in issues like food safety, gardening and supporting local farmers,” Susanna adds, noting that tighter household budgets also play a part in decisions to preserve food.

They both think that "Saving the Seasons" will be of particular interest to those who bought "Simply in Season," a cook book from Herald Press that celebrates cooking and eating locally grown seasonal food. “One of the challenges of cooking seasonally for many in the U.S. and Canada is not having the food you need when it is out of season,” Susanna says. “Preserving food while it's in season is a great way to make sure you have it later in the year.” “We include information about when produce is in season, and the best way to preserve each item,” adds Mary. “Learning to preserve your own food makes living seasonally a year-round possibility, not just a one-season experience.”

The book also grows out of their faith, they say. “Being a Christian to me means caring for God’s earth and learning from the created world,” says Mary. “The process of planting, weeding, waiting, and then finally harvesting, preserving and eating helps me feel that I am a participant in God’s creation, not just a bystander.” “Growing up Mennonite, I learned that I was responsible to care for my own health and the health of the environment and people around me,” adds Susanna. “Growing and preserving my own food helps me live out these values.” Susanna hopes Saving the Seasons will “inspire people who might otherwise think they can’t preserve their own food.”

“I’m excited about sharing the how-to of preserving with a new generation of gardeners and eaters,” adds Mary.

"Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything" is available from Herald Press at or by calling 1-800-245-7894, x 278 (U.S.), 1-800-631-6535 (Canada). The cost is $24.99 USD/$28. 99 CAD.