Winter Comfort Food

I step into the arctic entry of the Williams Street Farmhouse, where we are keeping our tubs of garden harvest.  I check the thermometer on the wall… 40 degrees…perfect.  I grab a couple plump potatoes, brush some sand of of some beets, a handful of carrots, and a parsnip or two.  I scrub them in a bowl of cool water, my hands numbing.  Oven on to 400, chop, chop, the  chunks pile up in the bowl.  I toss them with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of dried thyme from the garden.  I spread them on a cookie sheet, the red, orange, and white pieces forming a beautiful mosaic.

I am making one of my favorite winter meals.  One that feeds my soul and keeps me going through the dark, cold winter.  Salmon, sauerkraut, and roasted root vegetables.  Simple and delicious.  Sweet and earthy, the root vegetables are grounding.  Tangy and warming, the crisp sauerkraut carries the reminder of summer’s sun.  Tender and moist, the red salmon carries me protein from the riches of the sea.

As I work I am struck by overwhelming gratitude for my little garden and the surrounding nature that feeds me throughout the year.  Here we are in the dead of winter, tucked into our cozy warm house, and eating like royalty. We don’t need to go to the grocery store, worry about the pesticides in our food, or rely on cheap oil to grow it and get it to us.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone could grow at least some of their own food?  It is possible.  In New York City during World War II, residents grew 25% of their food on rooftops.  Imagine what could be grown in suburban America?  And what about the rest of the world?  If we can help people garden with nature on small intensive plots with trees and diverse crops, we can alleviate world hunger and reverse the effects of climate chaos.

Matt and I decided to spend a significant portion of our holiday budget on gifts through Heifer International.  On this website you can buy a hive of bees, a trio of rabbits, a goat, or other animals that Heifer International will donate to a needy family with the necessary training. The animals provide food, income, and fertilizer for their gardens, helping them to become more self-sufficient and food secure.  Each gift multiplies because every family agrees to pass on one or more of their animal’s offspring and knowledge to another family in need.

I finish out our meal by popping open a jar of sauerkraut from the pantry and pouring it into a pan on the stove to simmer.  Then I cut open the food saver bag and gently take out the salmon filet.  I pat it dry with a paper towel, brush it with oil from a warming frying pan, dust it with salt and pepper, and put it in the pan.  I flip it over after a few minutes, and call Matt out of the office for dinner.  Bon Appetit! 


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