Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 29 - Intro to Slow Foods

One of the great joys of living at Creque Dam Farm is the amazing, fresh, home cooked meals we enjoy three times a day. Once you eat all your greens less than an hour after harvest, every other salad just seems flat and lifeless. Once a month the farm hosts a fundraiser dinner, a six-course food adventure, highlighting what produce is at its peak and what meats we have available locally. We try to get all of the ingredients from our own land, but sometimes we have to reach off-farm to other local growers, depending on our supply. The culmination of our week in the kitchen is the complete planning, preparation, and plating of a "Slow Down Dinner Experience." Chef Keith and Dan Glenn will be leading us in this taste adventure!

I'm excited.

I LOVE food.

Day one introduction involved a wonderful discussion about our culture of food, our comfort foods, and our food memories. This was an opportunity to talk about your grandmother's broccoli soup, the best grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup ever, a meatloaf that knocked your socks off, or that special meal that included all of the best ingredients; the food, the company, and the emotional significance.

When asked what was my perfect food experience there are two specific meals that come to mind. In 2001, while traveling South East Asia with Laura Smith (a friend from NYC I met in Tokyo), I had the most delicious curry I have every eaten. No curry has ever compared to this one, and I have tried my share. This particular curry had fish and vegetables slow cooked and served in a green coconut, Cambodian style. We were in Siem Reap, traveling on a tight budget, and just having a fun adventure as young college kids. It was a great time in my life.

The second meal that I consider a perfect food experience was in Montreal in May 2006. I have written about this meal recently because it relates directly to my current situation, but like any truly special memory it doesn't dull with repetition. At that time Val and I were engaged. but he was going to school in Yokohama, Japan and I was working in DC. He was asked to corner and translate for the MMA fighter Hatsu Hioki in his title match for TKO in Montreal (the video of this fight is here in minute 10:18, you can see Val at the end rush in to help Hatsu after his win.)

The flights from DC to Montreal were unbelievably expensive. My friends Derek and Sarah came to my help and made for the best weekend roadtrip after work on Friday (9 hours up, 13 hours back). We drove all night. The morning we arrived we happened upon a restaurant near the hotel. That breakfast at Chez Cora was absolutely phenomenal. Apples, sliced and baked with brie, nuts, and maple syrup, coffee, a pile of mixed fresh fruit, whole wheat crepes, amazing. The synergy between the company of good friends and the long separation from Val made that coming together so perfect. The next time Hatsu was asked to defend his TKO featherweight title we gladly returned to Montreal and Chez Cora for breakfast. It still makes my heart flutter just thinking about it.

What are your best meals? Comfort foods? The thing you could eat every day and never be tired of it? Slow food is about food traditions, sharing meals and conscious meal preparation. I am so excited for this week!

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