S.L.U.R.P. Distilled

Soup...so simple, comforting, and evocative of the things we all love about food. No other food form so easily and completely encompasses the most rewarding emotions of "the meal". It can nourish, energize, warm or cool you. It can serve as a lead-in to bigger things, or take the main stage itself. Most importantly, it can be reminiscent of home - instantly making you feel that all is well and safe and strong.

Chaia Cucina Newsletter 2014-02 Feb

Plan Now, Feast Later
Yes, here I go again. Hopping up onto my foodie pulpit to nag, nag, nag. In my defense, I come by it honestly. If you are raised Jewish, and more specifically Jewish in the Northeast, the capacity (ne, responsibility) to nag is not simply an understanding or a product of nurture. It is literally part of your genetic code. So now you all get it. Call it nagging, call it a wake-up call, call it what you wish. I’m gonna chat at ya. The fact remains that you will undoubtedly be feasting in June if you ready yourself and start your garden planning in February. The funny thing about a garden is that it can seem like a massive project. And by all accounts it is. But it is also a massive project that is the composition of a number of smaller projects/components, many of which can be started months before the heavy lifting is necessary. And personally…I think it’s FUN to start planning now.
Thinking about what I want to plant naturally gets me thinking about what I want to eat, which leads to thinking about what I want to cook, which leads me to thinking about all the fun friends and cohorts I can have over for dinner. Just like that my social calendar is brimming with preemptive energy! Seriously, gardening is an activity best spread out over time; the better to give your veggies the freedom they need to grow at their own pace. And being able to look ahead to the actual physical time you need to earmark for bed preparation and maintenance can really give you a better handle on how to allot that time.
So all I’m sayin’ is…..start looking at seeds, mapping out your yard, and salivating. And you don’t have to go it alone. There are great resources here in town to help with project planning as well. There are courses at the Downtown Library sponsored by Wasatch Community Gardens. The lovely ladies at Traces host a number of how-to classes. There are online resources like the USU Extension. And there are local seed and plant vendors like the delightful Carolyn Kenyon at Kenyon Organics that can aid the process as well. I know that just writing this newsletter is making my tapeworm, Leonard, stir. He knows that soon enough he’ll be eating all the fresh veggies he can handle. And I’ll be planning menus and gatherings galore…..
…..In the meantime, I’ll just have to satisfy Leonard with more soup.
This Month’s Selection is:
Gingered Beef and Lentil Soup with Asian Vegetables
Soup Pickup Date: Saturday, March 1st
Soup Order Deadline: Midnight on Tuesday, February 25th
Pickup Location and Time: Tony Caputo’s Market and Deli, 314 West 300 South, Salt Lake City, from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Pickup Note: Please either make alternate-pickup arrangements with me before the scheduled pickup day (or simply pay to have home delivery) if you feel scheduling will be an issue. Thanks much for your understanding and enjoy your soup!
P.S. Thanks to everyone who has introduced a new friend to the cult of S.L.U.R.P. Keep it up as we start the New Year!
Go to the website and order soup here! =>> www.chaiacucina.com
A Romantic date for……..Eight?
Valentine’s Day has always been an interesting holiday to me. It often represents a fierce battle between a person’s or couple’s hope and expectation for what the night should bring, and what actually does manifest itself. In many instances, those expectations surround the promise of a spectacular culinary exploration – maybe at a fine dining establishment or special “occasion” restaurant. As I did last year around this time, I’d like to offer you the opportunity to take a slightly altered approach.
If you and your significant other have a few friends/other couples that are all tired of the yearly battle for a reservation at the hottest spot in town, why not bring the restaurant to you instead? I’ll help you organize a Valentine’s day tasting for 8-12 people to make your taste buds sing, and I’ll execute it in the comfort of your own home. Heck, you can wear pajamas and slippers if you really want to relax! We can make the menu as extravagant or playful or simple as you choose and pair wines/beverages with it as you see fit. Do 3 courses or 10, whatever sounds beautiful! Give a call and let’s chat about what will make this special day a memorable AND relaxing one! Phone me at 801-598-3986 (or on Google Voice at 385-21-CHAIA) or contact me through the website @ www.chaiacucina.com.
Time To Get Involved, Support Action
As many of you are aware, I am (and have been since my return to Salt Lake from San Francisco in May 2001….) involved with the Salt Lake chapter of Slow Food International. You may or may not also be aware that Slow Food Salt Lake has grown into one of the most active, vibrant, and long-standing chapters in the United States.
Slow Food SLC has expanded its outreach in recent years (first under the direction of the indefatigable Christi Paulson, now under current beneficent food-loving overlord {overlady?} Gwen Crist) to go far beyond raising awareness of food issues and the importance of understanding what we put in our bodies and how it’s cultivated. Slow Food now administers and funds (through its amazing micro-grant program) numerous food initiatives including building and helping maintain edible schoolyards, aiding local refugee communities with food cultivation and resourcing, and acting as an impetus for legislative food action on both a local and national level.
The call in this country for positive action regarding food sources, nutrition, health, and our food economy has become increasingly louder in the last decade, and with good reason. What you eat, WHAT YOU MAKE ENERGETICALLY A PART OF YOU, is unequivocally the baseline for every aspect of your health and life — it affects (positively or negatively) your emotion, your brain development and maintenance, your physical stature and health, and more generally your sense of happiness and well-being. It seems obvious that the more we work to make everyone’s food resources better, the stronger we become, physically and productively, as a nation and a society. So where do you enter this fight for goodness? Where do you start to find out the role you can play?….through an organization like Slow Food.
I want to take this space to make an honest and sincere request/plea for everyone to get to work. No person on this planet is untouched by issues regarding food, drinking water and the ability and necessity to feed our ever-growing population. As such, it would stand to reason that everyone needs to do their part to address those issues in some way. Like many issues of our day, the scope and scale of the problem can seem daunting. But the act of banding together and pooling resources can yield amazing results. That banding together can start today with your engagement and your support of/membership in Slow Food. And you don’t have to simply take my word for it. Do some research, talk to people you know, then get involved. Slow Food needs and wants your hands to help till the dirt.
As always, any of you are more than welcome to contact me directly with questions. But the easiest way to start understanding more is to go on the Slow Food website and see for yourself what’s going on. And don’t just do it by yourself; grab a friend or two or three or four and start understanding the role you play in cultivating everyone’s strength.
Visit the website here and get involved at: www.slowfoodutah.org

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