In celebration of Foodbuzz‘s offical launch – if you haven’t checked them out do so now and tell them the nourished kitchen sent you – I’m taking part in their global blogging event. The event, dubbed “24, 24, 24” honors 24 food bloggers all across the globe posting about 24 meals within 24 hours. I’m delighted to participate in this event.
So … onto the food!
The leaves are turning in Crested Butte and nothing heralds Autumn quite like Vinotok – a harvest festival that ends in eccentric and near-naked revelry around a bonfire. I could think of nothing more apt than first celebrating the festival with our own eccentric celebration of the autumnal harvest.
But, you see, this autumnal supper is special. Indeed, every dish I served to my guests harbored a criminal secret – illegal ingredients. Ludicrous as it sounds, many foods simply cannot be purchased in their simplest and most natural state. Farmers can’t sell their eggs without special licensing. Ranchers can raise their animals, assist in their birth, but can’t participate in their slaughter.
Fresh milk from healthy cows – unadulterated by pasteurization – cannot be purchased where I live. Some of the most beautiful cheeses produced by some of the most skillful artisans cannot be sold in the United States because they were made from fresh, raw milk and aged fewer than two months time. Many farmers cannot sell their eggs without first procuring license to do so from the state. Beyond that, an animal can live its entire life on a ranch but must then be transported to be slaughtered. Just ask Joel Salatin; everything he wants to do is illegal.
So for this special meal, and in celebration of our farmers who find ways to skirt the laws and still provide the public with such delicious and healthful options as raw milk or fresh eggs from unlicensed hens pecking surreptitiously on native grass, our menu includes these wonderful, delicious and criminal foods.
Tonight with friends and family, we joked about the FDA or the state Department of Health knocking at our door as we dined on the following menu:
- Beet and ChÃ¨vre Terrine featuring a homemade raw milk cheese aged only a few weeks.
- Fruit and Artisan Cheese Plate featuring illegaly, but deliciously, imported French raw milk cheeses and a homemade raw milk cheese.
- Simple Green Salad topped with with boiled eggs from those dangerously unlicensed hens I warned you about earlier (recipe here).
- Beef ConsommÃ© with Autumn Vegetables made featuring stock made from the bones of an animal slaughtered by the farmer on his own farm (recipe here).
- Roasted Chicken with Prosciutto & Herbs starring an unfortunate chicken who had been fortunate enough to live outside in grass and peck at grubs before being processed on the farm instead of a processing plant hundreds of miles from home (recipe here).
- Braised Fennel with Basil created with raw butter (recipe here).
- Honey-glazed Carrots also created with that pesky raw butter and illegal chicken bones (recipe here).
- Radishes Sauteed in Butter with Parsley featuring what else but that butter again (recipe here).
- Salt Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with raw butter (recipe here).
- Apple Clafoutis created with both raw cream and unlicensed eggs – yes, we’re getting really felonious now.
- Honeyed Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries made with delicious raw cream from grass-fed cows (recipe here).
- Fresh Raw Milk to drink.
- Homemade Hard Cider Oh yes. We like moonshine here, but only for the beneficial bacteria. I swear.
We enjoyed the meal–in all its skirting of the law–but it’s important to note that many people may view these laws as a way to ensure that the public limit exposure to potential pathogens. Yet, the laws favor industrial agriculture and interfere with both the small farmers’ ability to making farming economically viable and the consumers’ ability to make an informed choice.
Indeed, though I consistently choose to include these foods that skirt the law and bend health codes, they’ve never made me sick; rather, my health has improved with the inclusion of pasture-fed chicken, grass-fed meats and raw milk. Consider that spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, beef and a slew of other legal, industrial foods have made people across the US sick due to contamination with pathogens like e. coli and salmonella.
There is a great deal more accountability when you can look the person who produces your food straight in the eye. We should trust our farmers and ourselves without relying on the state to determine what we can and cannot enjoy.