A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.
I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:
Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
Feeding nine billion people in a truly sustainable way will be one of the greatest challenges our civilization has had to confront. It will require the imagination, determination and hard work of countless people from all over the world. There is no time to lose.
â€”Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN
The surest way to capture the flavors, colors, and textures of a culture is by using authentic products.
â€”Lidia Bastianich, from Lidiaâ€™s Italian-American Kitchen
The most important habit you can develop is to taste as you are preparing something. Take a sample and taste it critically at different stages of the cooking, then correct the seasoningsâ€¦
â€”Marion Cunningham, from Learning to Cook
Plant a vegetable garden if you have the space, a window box if you donâ€™t.
Better than Summer Camp: Summer Programs in Cheese Making, Fermentation, Charcuterie, Draft Horse Farming & Food Writing at Sterling College
When I saw the 2014 Summer Curriculum posted on the Sterling College website, I was jealous. What a remarkable schedule of courses to take. As a food writer and cooking enthusiast, the selection seemed more than interesting; it seemed salutatory, a curriculum for our time and place, a summer camp for the enlightened. Oh, that I might have a few weeks to take even one of the courses!
I wanted to find out why my idea of a great summer camp should be happening on the campus of Sterling College this summer so I called, Christian Feuerstein, Director of Communications. Her enthusiasm was infectious.
Making News About Small Farms
Iâ€™ve been working on a book about small farms in Vermont, so I didnâ€™t need to be told about what a special place the state is for farming innovation. Fed by the energies of far-seeing entrepreneurs and deep thinkers with an interest in the future of food sustainability, the state is nurturing a broad spectrum of food and farming initiatives. The hard work and passion of young and talented farmers is making news about the importance of small farm farming.
Aligned with this exciting progress in agriculture and local food production is a small college tucked into the beauty of the Northeast Kingdom, a region of Vermont that many consider to be the â€śreal Vermontâ€ť. Sterling College is a jewel of a white clapper campus set on top of a ridge in Craftsbury Common, the quintessential northern New England town with its commons defined by a white picket fence, a church spire the sentinel for the surrounding hills.
An Enlightened Decision
The college has been there since the 1970s when an enlightened staff and board made the decision to turn what had been a boyâ€™s boarding school into an equally small center of higher learning.Â From the beginning, Sterling College was dedicated to teaching a liberal arts curriculum that integrated the value of environmentally concerned farming practices. The concept was to prepare students for a world fast becoming aware of the dangers of an unhealthy eco-system created by the unsafe practices of urban, exurban and farming communities throughout the United States and the world.
A College For Its Time
Fast forward forty-odd years and Sterling College is now as relevant in its leadership of the contemporary â€śback to the landâ€ť movement as any educational institution in the country.
It is the blend of farm chores, hands-on learning and liberal arts classes that has made the school one that attracts a special breed of student, a student looking for more than just a college degree. Sterling College students have had the intelligence, the inquisitiveness and the far-sightedness, over the years, to choose a curriculum that isnâ€™t just providing them rote courses in liberal thinking. If this choice may have seemed unusual in decades gone by, it now seems cutting edge.
If I Could I Would Head To The Kingdom
So, if I were a student â€“the students at Sterling College may choose any of the summer two week intensives as part of their degree program- or, if I were looking for a continuing education course; or if I could only find the time this summer to engage in some amazing food techniques, brush up on my food writing skills, or learn to plough a field behind two beautiful draft horses, I would head to the Kingdom, where the clearness of the air makes my head spin and the scent of new mown hay spells summer. In a heartbeat, I would sign myself up for the best summer camp of all, at Sterling College. Â
Classes of Interest
Christian outlined the courses on food and food writing for me. I think youâ€™ll find something of interest, as I did:
Artisan Cheese: May 27-June 6
There is room for no more then 25 people in the Artisan Cheese course being taught by, not only, Ivan Larcher, French cheese consultant extrordinaire, but also, Mateo Kehler of The Cellars at Jasper Hill. Both are well-known and respected cheese makers (Mateo Kehlerâ€™s Bailey-Hazen Blue and Windemere are world-renowned) whose combined expertise will help you become a proficient cheese maker in only two weeks.
Working Horses, Working Landscape: May 27-June 6
If you could only be two people, you might also want to sign up for the Working Horses, Working Landscape class taught in the same two weeks. I had the pleasure last summer of meeting the two remarkable and handsome draft horses whose strong backs and sturdy legs provide the Sterling College with small-scale farm management of fields and woodlots on the extensive campus. The course will provide students with hands-on, as well as classroom experience, with class trips to other working farms where draft horses provide the energy for basic farm work to learn the techniques and maintenance of these fine farm animals.
Writing in Place: June 9-20
Writing in Place is a course for those interested in writing about food and the environment. John Elder, whose best known books, Reading The Mountains of Home and Frog Run, on the life and environment of Vermont are legendary; , whose fiction and non-fiction books, most recently, a novel, Flight, and a history, Inventing Niagara, place her among the new generation of writers wedded to the idea of landscape as character; Rowan Jacobsen, known as a science writer with the book, A Geography of Oysters, places him among the best of food writers, as well; and artist, naturalist and teacher at Williams, Harvard and Antioch New England Colleges â€” all will be teaching the Writing in Place course. Each writer brings sensitivity to place and time in their writing that will make for a valuable introduction to writing about food and the environment. In fact, I consider it to be a graduate-level course, the talent brought together to teach it is so remarkable. Â
Charcuterie: June 23-July 3
The Charcuterie Program will be given by two of the most important people making small-scale artisan meat products, second to cheese making in importance in the state of Vermont. , author of The Gourmet Butcherâ€™s Guide to Meat, has almost single-handily brought the art of the butcher back to popular attention. was born in Assisi, Italy and raised on an organic vegetable farm in Vermont. His interest and knowledge through apprenticeships in Italy in the ancient process of creating fresh sausage and dry-cured meats makes him a perfect partner and teacher, along with Anne Obelnicki, the Director of Sustainable Food Systems at Sterling College. Her local and organic sustainable dining service is a remarkable example of how the college is leading other institutions in implementing environmental and food-related programs for the future.
Fermentation: July 7-18
The two weeks spent with Sandor Katz, leading Vermont revivalist and expert on the process of fermentation, could help you to become as adept as the Japanese at this ancient of all preserving techniques, including fermenting vegetables, beverages from seasonal fruits, Kombucha and other fermented tonic beverages, grain-based beverages, as well as bean fermentation â€“Tempeh, Natto and Dosa- and yogurt, kefir and other basic cheese-making processes that involve fermentation.
There are other courses being taught on-campus at Sterling College this summer, but these were the ones that spoke to my mind and heart. If Christianâ€™s and my enthusiasm isnâ€™t enough to persuade you, take a look at the Sterling College website, www.sterlingcollege.edu/summer .
And, call Laura Lea Berry, Coordinator of Academic Programs, 802 586-7711, X 107 or email firstname.lastname@example.org , for an opportunity to be a part of this very special â€śsummer campâ€ť.
Â Wish I could join you!
Posted: 5-2-2014SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG’S FEED
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Food events that have caught my eye.
a La Carte Videos
Bronwyn Dunne and Judith Jones Prepare Two Potato Salads at Bryn Teg. See the recipes
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