This Traditional Foods website is developed and maintained by my mother and I in the Sequoia National Forest of California.
My mother, Jeanie Rose (pictured at right), has cooked for her family since she was ten years old and managed a large commercial kitchen for twenty years. She has been asked many times to write a cookbook. Those people can read this website instead.
I have more of an interest in food science and work with my mom to find the best compromise between science and flavor. (I am pictured below with my younger son.) I have written for or been featured at Organic Gardening Magazine, Grist, Ethicurean, The Cornucopia Institute, and RealMilk.com.
The bone broth technique my mom and I outline on this site was featured in the Weston A. Price’s Wise Traditions and referred to by author Jen Allbritton as “Nobel Prize worthy.” As a result, we claim to be Nobel Prize nominees (in Chemistry?). I am sure that the dearly departed political scientist Lin Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics (and Indiana University professor during my time there), would be amused at our claim. As it turns out, we may not be headed to Stockholm for a prize in Chemistry anytime soon, but we do eat good soup.
Our approach to broth has changed the way a lot of traditional foodies are making soup — “continuous broth” and “perpetual broth” techniques have become popular since we publicized our “12 Days of Gelatin” video in the spring of 2010. It is a simple and frugal technique that my mom adapted from the advice of a chef in Sequoia Park in the 1960s and from a farm worker/custodian in Delano in the 1970s. It is not a new method by any means, a fact that makes our trip to Stockholm even less likely.
The broth technique fits well into our value of “easy,” because we have so many other things to do. I am sure you do too.
Easy And Fuss-Free Philosophy
Consumers are looking for answers on the best foods and cooking processes for health and it is really easy to get caught up in some of the findings from food science (the movement to soak grains is a good example). When those techniques add to stress and frustration in your kitchen and, worse yet, turn out a food you don’t like, it is time to step back and reflect on what you are doing. We do that all the time here in our kitchen. If the technique is stressful, we research it and reassess. There are almost always better ways to do things when the technique causes gray hair and when the younger generation balk at the outcome. In those cases, we are going to tell you all about it.
The Best Ingredients You Can Afford
In terms of food ingredients, we follow the philosophy of the Ethicurean valuing SOLE food: sustainable, organic, local, and/or ethically produced. However, you will notice in our recipes that we do not mention that an ingredient should be “organic,” “grass-fed,” etc. We know that people who have found this site prize quality ingredients that fit their budget. We also know that times are hard out there.
When my father was born, his family lived in a tent on the Sacramento River and then grew up in one of the poorest communities in the state. We understand financial struggle. When the tent cities went up again over two years ago, we started mentioning “organic” less often. Many people these days find it a blessing to have a kitchen to cook in, much less have organic produce in it. If you are able to get through this
recession depression feeding your family whole food in your own kitchen, we think that’s great. Buy the best you can. Take this opportunity to learn to grow your own if you do not already.
As a side note, my mom founded a highly-successful food bank in Delano, California (the home of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers) in the 1980s. In that work, her team found that some commodity foods never got consumed because people did not know what to do with them. Her team created recipes and did food demonstrations so that families could use those commodity ingredients in tasty ways. We are out of touch with commodity foods these days but if you have something in your cupboard you don’t know what to do with, contact us.
The House And Homestead
My mom and I live on the same five acres in the Sequoia National Forest in an historic house designed by San Diego architect Irving J. Gill. You can read more about the house itself at Gill On The Hill and follow links to pictures and history. It has a colorful past and is tucked in the middle of nowhere in the Sierra mountains of Central California, two miles from the southern-most stand of Giant Sequoia redwood trees. From this house, we can see more beef cattle than people. The people we do see are likely to be wearing well-worn spurs and chaps.
The kitchen is about 250 square feet, lending itself to a whole lot of experimentation. Depending on the season, you might find counter space dedicated to fermenting, the biggest advantage of such a spacious kitchen. However, we preserve food in a lot of ways, including drying and freezing. We will share some of our favorite techniques on this site.
In the garden, Mom is the queen, having gardened first when she was 8 years old and, more memorably, back in the 1960s when the term “organic” was fresh, new, and non-commercialized. She had a commercial herb business at that time. Mom was an early fan of J.I Rodale and visited the Rodale headquarters in Emmaus, Pennsylvania back in 1972 on a family road trip. Apparently, Robert Rodale enjoyed watching my sister and I frolic on the grassy hills near his office. Who knew he would become a legend. In any case, my mother is pretty hard-core (as was that generation of gardeners) and we turn to her for gardening advice.
More To Come
As this website develops, we will be adding a great deal of data to it about the nutrient content of food. Some of this data has never before seen the Internet. Stay tuned.