Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lessons in farming

Biscuit's class went on a field trip recently to a local strawberry farm. I had too much going on at work and didn't get to go with them. I was actually pretty sad about that. The kids get so excited on the trips, and they're just so much fun to be around.

I can't offer any details of the trip because, like I said, I didn't get to go. But apparently, it was loads of fun. And they got to pick their own strawberries. And they learned about how to grow strawberries. And they learned the word "eco-tourism," which means that farms not only sell what they grow or raise, they invite people to come out and see how it all happens. At a charge, of course.

I grew up on a farm, so I know how it all goes down. I know where my bacon comes from. I've seen it through the process. I've gathered eggs and slopped hogs and let the milk cow in from the field (her name was Bonnie, by the way!). But nowadays, so many kids live in cities and suburban neighborhoods and don't have access to food-growing and food-raising places. Some kids don't even realize where their food comes from (except from the grocery store, of course). 

I have a grown friend who won't eat eggs unless they come from the grocery store.

"You know they're coming out of a chicken the same way, right?" I asked her.

"Yes, but they're somehow removed from all that," she said.

"So you'll eat farm goods, you just don't want to know how they arrived on your plate," I said.

"Exactly!" she said.

Well, I think people should know where their food comes from. And they should appreciate the people who help get it there. I don't think people appreciate their food like they should. Farming is a hard life, yet there are still people willing to do it. And I am truly thankful for that.

That said, when Biscuit handed me his little basket of strawberries, my brain immediately went to work trying to figure out how to use the berries in a way he would eat them. He won't eat them raw. He probably wouldn't eat them in chunks, like in a cobbler. They wouldn't really be spotlighted enough in muffins or a cake. So I decided to make a strawberry sauce for pancakes.

I stemmed the berries (1 pint) and threw them in a pot with some sugar (1/2 cup) and vanilla (2 teaspoons). Then I cooked it until it was thick (about 12-15 minutes). Then I used my stick blender to make it smooth. And then, just to remove any and all obstacles, I poured it through my finest sieve. That got rid of the seeds. The texture was silky smooth.

I poured the sauce into a gravy boat and carried it to the table, along with some pancakes and bacon.

I dipped a spoon into the gravy boat and got a tiny bit of the sauce.

"Here," I said to Biscuit. "Try this." 

He tried it and made a terrible face. It was a little tart, so I thought I'd let him taste it with a pancake. I tore a little piece off, dipped it into the sauce and handed it to him. He made the same awful face.

"I don't like that, either, Mom," Biscuit said.

Crazy child! 

It certainly didn't go to waste because Jeff and I loved it!

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