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.

amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

We can dramatically increase global food availability and environmental sustainability by using more of our crops to feed people directly and less to fatten livestock.
—Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
—Michael Pollan

Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.
—Craig Claiborne

People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than those of us eating a modern Western diet of processed food.
—Michael Pollan

New Guest Writer: Welcome Corrie to the Green Mountain State!

Corrie Austin is new to Vermont and new to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains. I always say that making good food is one of the most creative things you can do, akin to practicing the fine arts or designing beautiful living spaces, so it’s no surprise Corrie has found herself writing about the creative food leadership in her new home and her own insights on the subject of healthy and inspiring food.  

Welcome, Corrie…I can’t wait to see, through your eyes, the wonderful world of culinary Vermont!

 

Hello VERMONT!

In order to share my experiences and musings on Vermont’s food vibe, I feel the need to introduce my relationship with food. Overall, I have the best intentions for a “healthy” diet; “healthy,” a word whose meaning has, for me, constantly evolved. In the end, I live by the following food philosophies:

  1. Prepare your own food
  2. Enjoy eating! I feel sad when I see people who are scared to enjoy eating.  There is a TON of nutritional information available, much of it contradicting; this makes eating well intimidating. But…FOOD IS DELICIOUS AND SHOULD BE ENJOYED!
  3. Eat local, whole foods

Admittedly…none of this is groundbreaking. However, I didn’t always think this way.

 

In high school, my parents gave me school lunch money, BUT if I made my own lunch, I could keep the money.  This paved the way for preparing my own food, even if I was motivated by money, not health.  

Also during high school, I battled minor OCD tendencies that manifested in a low-grade eating disorder. I was scared of food, and I certainly didn’t know how to enjoy it. I was diagnosed before things got out of hand, but this began a phase in my life where I tried to eat foods with as little fat and as few calories as possible. That’s being “healthy,” right? Using this philosophy, mustard intrigued me…only 5 calories per serving? If only I could live off mustard!  I’m still a HUGE mustard fan, but as a condiment! Not a food group…I do eat it by the spoon-full sometimes…shhh. 

Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont

Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont

I lived in fear of eating for a while, and what I DID eat was often wrong.  The meals I “prepared” were cans of soup and horrible frozen vegetable/fake cheese concoctions that fell into my “low fat/calorie” requirement – makes you wonder just WHAT exactly they are made of…because we all know cheese is NOT low in fat or calories…

Without getting into details, I discovered the joy of farmer’s markets, food co-ops, and whole foods. I was influenced by friends, boyfriends, books, architecture school, and a course I took on the Natural Food Industry. I stopped feeling scared of eating as I became freed by my knowledge and understanding of eating well.

Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT

Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT

Wrap this all up into a tidy little bundle, and you have the food-enjoying, home-food prepping, whole food eating, human being that is ME! I love trying new recipes and restaurants, but I also enjoy the simplicity of roasting delicious vegetables with some olive oil and salt, it can be that easy!

As a recent transplant from Portland, Oregon, I can tell that I have moved from one foodie city to another.  Vermonters do food right; local isn’t a trend, it’s a lifestyle! I look forward to sharing my food enthusiasm with you while I explore Vermont’s food scene!

Posted: 4-22-2017

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Corrie Austin is new to Vermont and new to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains. I always say that making good food is one of the most creative things you can do, akin to practicing the fine arts or designing beautiful living spaces, so it’s no surprise Corrie has found herself writing about the creative food leadership in her new home and her own insights on the subject of healthy and inspiring food.  

Welcome, Corrie…I can’t wait to see, through your eyes, the wonderful world of culinary Vermont!

 

Hello VERMONT!

In order to share my experiences and musings on Vermont's food vibe, I feel the need to introduce my relationship with food. Overall, I have the best intentions for a "healthy" diet; "healthy," a word whose meaning has, for me, constantly evolved. In the end, I live by the following food philosophies:

  1. Prepare your own food
  2. Enjoy eating! I feel sad when I see people who are scared to enjoy eating.  There is a TON of nutritional information available, much of it contradicting; this makes eating well intimidating. But…FOOD IS DELICIOUS AND SHOULD BE ENJOYED!
  3. Eat local, whole foods
Admittedly…none of this is groundbreaking. However, I didn't always think this way.

 

In high school, my parents gave me school lunch money, BUT if I made my own lunch, I could keep the money.  This paved the way for preparing my own food, even if I was motivated by money, not health.  

Also during high school, I battled minor OCD tendencies that manifested in a low-grade eating disorder. I was scared of food, and I certainly didn't know how to enjoy it. I was diagnosed before things got out of hand, but this began a phase in my life where I tried to eat foods with as little fat and as few calories as possible. That’s being "healthy," right? Using this philosophy, mustard intrigued me…only 5 calories per serving? If only I could live off mustard!  I'm still a HUGE mustard fan, but as a condiment! Not a food group...I do eat it by the spoon-full sometimes…shhh. 

[caption id="attachment_4186" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont[/caption] I lived in fear of eating for a while, and what I DID eat was often wrong.  The meals I "prepared" were cans of soup and horrible frozen vegetable/fake cheese concoctions that fell into my "low fat/calorie" requirement - makes you wonder just WHAT exactly they are made of...because we all know cheese is NOT low in fat or calories...

Without getting into details, I discovered the joy of farmer's markets, food co-ops, and whole foods. I was influenced by friends, boyfriends, books, architecture school, and a course I took on the Natural Food Industry. I stopped feeling scared of eating as I became freed by my knowledge and understanding of eating well.

[caption id="attachment_4164" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT[/caption]

Wrap this all up into a tidy little bundle, and you have the food-enjoying, home-food prepping, whole food eating, human being that is ME! I love trying new recipes and restaurants, but I also enjoy the simplicity of roasting delicious vegetables with some olive oil and salt, it can be that easy!

As a recent transplant from Portland, Oregon, I can tell that I have moved from one foodie city to another.  Vermonters do food right; local isn't a trend, it's a lifestyle! I look forward to sharing my food enthusiasm with you while I explore Vermont's food scene!

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Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 4.40.16 PM
I miss my wonderful assistant, Natalie Lovelace. She spent her last year and a half as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont running around the northern stretches of Vermont with me talking to people about food.
What a delight it was to have her as my blog manager. Natalie often, not only wrote, but photographed and posted stories for ITKWB. And she did a great job! But, the best part for us was meeting and interviewing the food producers –farmers, chefs, bakers, restauranteurs and food entrepreneurs that make Vermont a leader in food innovation. Natalie brought her intelligence, energy and curiosity to our quest for interesting tales to tell our readers. And we had so much fun!
Graduating in May with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Food Systems, but home now in California, I know she’s already lighting up her hometown of San Francisco!
When you get tired of all that sun, Natalie,  please  think about a return to Vermont. We miss you already!
À Bientôt, bronwyn-signature11
 

*** IMG_6992_2

Bronwyn and I would often try to pin down what makes Vermont such a magical place, especially in terms of its thriving local food system. Since being back home in the Bay Area for the past couple months, it has become clearer to me that the locality of the food makes Burlington unlike any other place I know. In Burlington, I was not only walking distance from shops, restaurants, and the university itself, but also from the farms that provided much of its food. Here, local food is the norm. It is common for chefs to be cooking with produce that was harvested hours before; for people to personally know someone who has started a food-related business, and for people to know the story behind most of the products in their kitchen.

Now that I am back in California, I see that this is what makes Vermont so unique. Although there is a push for local food in the Bay Area, the reality is that the farms are far from the city. Farmers often have to commute hours to get their produce to market. This distance makes it more difficult to create relationships with those individuals that work to harvest the food on our plate, which in my opinion is the core to a local food system. As Bronwyn and I experienced through our interviews with different food entrepreneurs in Vermont, it is the stories behind the food that make it meaningful. For me, the closer I am to these stories, the more I appreciate the food on my plate.

Although it will be more difficult to find these stories, I know that it’s important for me to search these out. In fact, just this morning, I met a man named Max that started a coffee roasting company in my town that grows his own beans in Peru. As Max passionately described his methods of growing and harvesting, I was reminded of many of the food producers I had met in Vermont. Through working with Bronwyn, I have realized that although food nourishes the body, the connections we make with others nourishes the soul. I will always be thankful for Bronwyn and the passionate food artisans of Vermont for helping me to appreciate the true meaning of local.

À Bientôt, Natalie

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 1.21.44 AM

***

" ["post_title"]=> string(38) "A Farewell To The Green Mountain State" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(38) "a-farewell-to-the-green-mountain-state" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-07-17 08:25:05" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-07-17 08:25:05" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4142" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#227 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4110) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-05-15 18:42:03" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-05-15 18:42:03" ["post_content"]=> string(10824) "unnamed-3 Just A Little Stir How do you interview iconic restaurant owner, Avery Rifkin? You don’t. You let him interview you, something he’s very good at, as many of his customers know. It’s part of the charm of Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, his singular restaurant.  Rifkin’s presence is one of host and interlocutor, while his partner, Tim Eliott remains quietly in the background.  Avery’s warmth and kindness toward his “guests” is one of the reasons the restaurant is so popular. And, even as I write this, I know I will be causing just a little stir in the otherwise amiability of the man. He is genuinely modest about his contributions to the restaurant’s eighteen years of success. The Right Formula Partnerships in any business don’t come easily. There’s always some decision that divides two people working together, as almost any marital partnership reminds us. Somehow, Eliott and Rifkin have found the right formula for their business partnership. It’s one that many would envy but it’s not easily defined. Perhaps, it’s because they came together with the same desire, a desire to build a restaurant that anyone could afford to dine in. And, I add to this, they wanted to make the restaurant a place where anyone would feel at home. They have achieved this in so many ways but it didn’t happen by chance, because, as we all know, “the devil is in the details,” and Rifkin is good at details. 318fb6db-bfae-43ab-837a-bd2273d20c85 Stop and Look Around The next time you walk into Stone Soup stop and look around. Though I know this is not easy because of the array of the delicious dishes to choose from set out on a handsome buffet, but next time, stop and look. I do because I’ve begun to realize things are always changing at Stone Soup.  Though everything looks as though it had been there for a lifetime, in fact in the twelve years I’ve been eating at Stone Soup, the entire back half of the kitchen area has been redesigned –Tim’s idea because his career started as a dishwasher and he wanted a perfect dishwashing area for his staff. It is, in fact, a marvel of dishwashing engineering, one that I envy. The gleaming stainless steel counters that surround the large sinks and commercial dishwashing machine (why doesn’t GE make a home dishwasher that washes and dries in 15 minutes?) are a model for anyone who loves to roll up their sleeves and dive into the suds. Hamburger Fridays Recently, diamond-faceted globes have been hung above the handsome, ornate main counter of the restaurant replacing the originals and giving off just the right amount of prisimed light for the display of challah and whole-grain breads, cakes and cookies that are as delectable as they look. Installed last year, a new counter at the back of the room is now the best place to be on the restaurant’s “hamburger Fridays” when Avery proves that he is what his partner says he is, “ the meat-whisperer”, making the best hamburgers in town. And though he is glad that many loyal customers make Fridays a habit, there are just as many who swear by his brisket, the sweet and tangy chicken wings and the absolutely authentic chicken livers with crisp skin cracklings and fried onions served as a sandwich, all part of each week’s menu. post Gracefully Into The Pond There are so many small details that make the interior of the restaurant unique. As a regular customer, I’ve admired but never asked why there is a print of a pig diving gracefully into a pond hanging on a wall overlooking the dining room.  It’s part of the mystery of Stone Soup, and I doubt that I’ll ever ask that question because I want that little bit of mystery to always be there. Every print and photograph on the walls is chosen by Rifkin.  They reinforce the feeling of longevity and community that is the essence of Stone Soup.  As a transplanted New Yorker, I recognize what these photos represent. Some are from an earlier era of restaurant history, some of restaurant neighbors in Burlington. Some identify the contribution of local farmers through scenes of working landscapes and farming equipment.  All are Stone Soup’s version of the signed “celebrity” and “faithful customer” photos that hang on the walls of dairy restaurants and delicatessens all around the five boroughs. In Stone Soups case, the photos are a tribute to restaurant life and the local farming community, both so important to the success of the restaurant.  It’s a tradition that Rifkin knows well growing up in Rochester, New York with his father, a professor at NYU, an excuse for frequent trips to Manhattan. His love for New York extends to the Adirondacks. The high-backed chairs recently installed at the counter overlooking the kitchen, a tribute to the other side of the lake. unnamed-5 What About Local? What about local? This is a question I always ask in a restaurant in Vermont because it’s an important part of our agricultural economy to buy locally. It’s a way of supporting community and acting on what you believe in if you believe in small farms as most of us do in the Green Mountain State. But I didn’t have to ask Rifkin this question because it’s evident how local the food is at Stone Soup. Without a separate delivery entrance, all deliveries come through the front door and right past the customers sitting at tables in the main area of the dining room, headed to the storage rooms below. On the day that I interviewed Rifkin, a farmer with several bags of produce appeared.  With a welcome, Rifkin was on his feet immediately and called out to the busy staff, “All hands on deck!” Soon, the produce bags were out of sight and Rifkin was offering the farmer some freshly baked cookies for the road home. When I asked how long had the restaurant been buying locally, the answer was, “From the beginning. It never occurred to us to do it any other way.” Rifkin and Elliot were ahead of the “local” curve because local fit a tenet of their business plan: to serve the community. blog post Not A Vegetarian Restaurant What Stone Soup is to many of its customers is a vegetarian restaurant, though it isn’t really one.  That’s because Eliott built his reputation at a much admired vegetarian delicatessen and market on Main Street, Organum. At the same time, Avery was working for Olive Branch, a bakery and take-out in the South End. When City Market, a restaurant on College Street in downtown Burlington, closed, both men, separately, took a look at the space. Soon, they were meeting daily for lunch at Nectar’s, the music venue and bar on Main Street, discussing their ideas about the possibility of partnership.  It’s a classic restaurant start-up saga: Two men with a vision team up and months later the city is graced with a new restaurant, one that today –eighteen years later- is still a success. Love In Plain Sight I credit commitment as a factor that has made Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup such a happy ending-story, but I also credit something far subtler, I credit love. It is something you feel when you walk in the door and under the electric sign that says “Hot Kale”, a gift from the staff. You feel it when you hand your full plate over to be weighed to one of the servers and they know who you are. You feel it when you see Eliott’s broad smile beaming at some joke from another staff member slicing up carrots on the broad wooden cutting board in the kitchen. You feel it when you see a customer greeting Rifkin with a huge bear hug in the center of the dining room; and you see it in the total transparency of the restaurant, itself, where all the cooking is done in plain sight.
unnamed-6 Check out Stone Soup’s website for daily menus and hours at stonesoupvt.com, or just stop by to see what it’s all about for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
À Bientôt, bronwyn-signature11      " ["post_title"]=> string(35) "Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, Part II" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(81) "Read the second part to the post on Avery Rifkin & Tim Elliott's Stone Soup here." 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The color, the smell, the beauty of lettuce freshly picked from the garden makes him smile. He talks about the tender leaves easily crushed if not handled gently and the importance of washing them carefully and thoroughly before storing in a container that doesn’t pack them down. His enthusiastic description also reminds me that in certain ways, we in America, have not only lost the true enjoyment of eating real food, but the true enjoyment of preparing real food, as well. “You can tell what’s happy and what’s not. You have to treat it like a living thing”, Tim explained. Natalie and I sat at a table in the window of Muddy Waters, the iconic café on Main St., listening to Tim, a partner at the equally iconic restaurant, Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, whose life in food might well be the perfect template for the exciting culinary world that is Burlington, Vermont, in 2016. unnamed Cafeteria-style Tim and his partner, Avery Rifkin, have run their restaurant on College Street just off the city’s pedestrian mall, a vital heart of urban energy, since 1997. Their intuitive leap into combining forces to run a restaurant together brought something to the food scene here that hadn’t been done before. Not only is the restaurant a cafeteria-style eatery, it is also small enough and intimate enough to encourage its patrons to consider it a second home. Stone Soup feeds the residents of the neighborhood, as well as downtown business people, tourists, and students from nearby colleges and the University of Vermont. Tim agrees that most people don’t have time to really cook. Stone Soup, with its fairly priced (after choosing from a selection of main dishes and sides, diners have their plates weighed and priced accordingly) menu selections, is the best alternative to a home-cooked meal that I know. A family of four can dine for under $50 at Stone Soup.  In my mind that beats bringing home a luke-warm pizza or heating-up even the best Thai noodle soup from a local Asian take-out. unnamed-6 Homesteaders Tim was raised by “homesteaders”, his description of his parents, who were living a life very much influenced by the Nearings, Helen and Scott, the fabled back-to-the land” promoters whose lifestyle influenced so many to live “off the grid” back in the 1970s. Tim’s family was living in a home they built themselves with enough of a garden to grow most of their own food in Hancock, New Hampshire, long before it became a trend.  As vegetarians, they raised their own produce to put meals on the table.  Bill and Eileen Elliott are still living off the land in the house that Tim grew up in.  He readily admits he sees his parents’ marriage and partnership as the one he most aspires to even though his choice of lifestyle revolves around a restaurant, a business partner, a multitude of faithful customers and a loyal staff. After recognizing that college was not for him, Tim fell into the fast paced restaurant business—“if I’m not moving, I’m sleeping”. After the usual dishwashing jobs, he wound up running the deli department for Organum, a popular vegetarian restaurant and health food store in Burlington during the 90s. Not a surprise since he’d been raised a vegetarian and only converted to meat-eating when he couldn’t say “no” to a salmon dinner made by a friend and colleague. unnamed-3 In A Good Way When you walk into Stone Soup it feels a little like a place that’s been there a long time. From the hand-painted sign above the garage door façade, to the tin ceiling, to all the beautiful and locally-made wooden tables, the gorgeously heavy and ornately carved serving counter, the hand-forged wrought-iron tiered display trays offering desserts made onsite, there’s a sense that you’ve walked back in time…but, in a good way! unnamed-1 Perfect Imperfection There isn’t another restaurant in the world that you can compare it to, at least not one that I’ve eaten in. Nowhere else have I found the combination of refined esthetic and perfect “imperfection” that is found here. The eye has fun taking in a breakfront that sits between the front dining space and the back. It was made for the restaurant some 18-years ago, but it could have been found in one of those country auction houses selling good 19th century antiques.  It’s embellished with a stained-glass panel at the top and trailing ivy decorating the side shelves that hold silverware and glasses.  It commands attention and sets the tone for the calm and generous experience of sitting down at Stone Soup with a plate of real food. This breakfront is also the gateway for all the suppliers who bring their wares to the restaurant.  Early morning is the usual time for farmers to bring their produce, meat and eggs to Stone Soup, but it’s not surprising to see Dave Quickel from Stony Loam Farm walk in with tender lettuce just picked before lunch giving the staff an edge on every other eatery in town as far as freshness goes. The owners appreciate that it’ s a treat for their customers to see the food come into the kitchen wide open to the dining room. They have been buying locally since the first week in 1997, beating the competition in what is now the local and organic movement.  “It wasn’t a movement when we began.  It’s what we wanted to do,” says Rifkin.   unnamed-4 Follow the story of Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup in our next post, and find out why the menu is one of the best in the city of Burlington. And, learn why Avery Rifkin is the reason why Stone Soup isn’t a vegetarian restaurant." ["post_title"]=> string(26) "Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(65) "Read more about Burlington's iconic Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup." 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Thanksgiving this year was, for me, a wonderful time to think about gratitude. I was grateful because my daughter’s family in Paris was safe after the terrorist attacks in that beautiful city. I was grateful, too, that my Thanksgiving was spent with two remarkable 90+ year olds, my stepmother Judith Jones, and her cousin, Jane Gunther. Believe me when I say that they, in spite of their venerable age, still rule the roost, and though this often gives me pause, I’m grateful that they’re still celebrating with me. A blessing for sure!
So it seemed the right moment between two holidays that celebrate giving and help us understand how important being grateful is to our sense of self, to write about the importance of food security, a basic right of all people all over the world.
Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of the Upaya Institute in Sante Fe, New Mexico, writes that one of the gifts we can give each other this season is the gift of non-fear. When food security is guaranteed as it is for many, but not all of us, it helps us to banish fear of hunger. For a great part of the world, there is no end to the fear of hunger. If we solve this problem for the world, so many other problems that hurt and terrify us will end, as well.
Read what Natalie has experienced as a UVM senior in the Food Systems program and remember your local food shelf or food program when you give this year to your favorite organization.
À Bientôt and Happy Holidays!
bronwyn-signature1

***

Food Insecurity in Vermont With the abundance of farmers markets, co-ops, and farms in Vermont, it may be surprising to hear that hunger is still a large issue. Despite the thriving local food scene in the state, 13% of all households in Vermont are food insecure, and 1 in 5 children experience hunger at some point. Food Waste--A Coexisting Problem At the same time, food waste is just as large of an issue. In the United States, around 40% of all food is wasted. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state in their book, The Ethics of Eating, “[Waste] reflects nothing more than a casual disregard for what went into producing the food, from the suffering of the animals, to the labor of the workers, to the natural resources consumed and the pollution generated”. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state, this is not simply a waste of nutrients, but a waste of water, seeds, soil, time, energy, and (possible) degradation of our environment. [caption id="attachment_4003" align="aligncenter" width="520"]12107135_10153619226469326_63227699415022266_n Photo Courtesy of the Intervale Center[/caption] The Intervale's Gleaning & Food Rescue Program However, we are fortunate to have so many amazing organizations and programs working to combat these issues. The Intervale’s Gleaning and Food Rescue Program in Burlington is one of them. This summer and fall I helped distribute free food shares to low-income individuals as part of this program, which runs from mid July through October and collects leftover produce from farms at the Intervale, such as Digger’s Mirth. Sometimes this produce is leftover because the farmer simply has too much of it, other times, it is because it is not aesthetically up to consumers standards; however, it still tastes just as good! This produce is then divvied up into shares for individuals and organizations to pick up each week. [caption id="attachment_4004" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12088582_10153619219389326_8403675372498293644_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] Many Factors Lead to Food Insecurity It was not only so rewarding to directly give food to those in need, but it also gave me insight into the issue of food insecurity as a whole in Vermont. Before this program, I had always thought that rates of food insecurity were higher for women and children. However, after this program, I witnessed that age is also a huge factor in individual’s ability to obtain food. In addition to lack of mobility, many seniors also face increased health problems, which makes it difficult to stand long enough to prepare a meal. One older woman, who came each week, would always leave the butternut squash because she said it hurt her hands to peel it. There are many factors that limit an individual’s access to nutritious meals. [caption id="attachment_4005" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12107236_10153619219374326_1747472433099693458_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] "Just One Paycheck Away" With Vermont’s new Universal Recycling Law, which bans food scraps from going into the landfill, we will all have to be more aware of the food waste we produce. During this past semester, I also had the opportunity to work with the Agency of Natural Resources to figure out the financial impact of increased food donations at food rescue sites, which will have to increase their infrastructure due to this law. As part of this project I had the privilege to sit down and talk with Sally Metro from the Williston Food Shelf. The Williston Food Shelf provides groceries to families in need twice a month. Each family gets to choose their own food. Sally stated that we all need to be more aware of how we treat individuals in need. “We are all just one pay check away from this”, she explained. 12243032_1641906072693756_112836025984205107_n Gratitude During this holiday season, as I spend time with family and friends over meals, I will take time to really give thanks what is on my plate. I encourage everyone with extra food to share it with a friend, family, or local food shelf to show gratitude towards the abundance in your life. Wishing everyone a healthy and nutritious holiday season, Natalie Lovelace

***

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Corrie Austin is new to Vermont and new to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains. I always say that making good food is one of the most creative things you can do, akin to practicing the fine arts or designing beautiful living spaces, so it’s no surprise Corrie has found herself writing about the creative food leadership in her new home and her own insights on the subject of healthy and inspiring food.  

Welcome, Corrie…I can’t wait to see, through your eyes, the wonderful world of culinary Vermont!

 

Hello VERMONT!

In order to share my experiences and musings on Vermont's food vibe, I feel the need to introduce my relationship with food. Overall, I have the best intentions for a "healthy" diet; "healthy," a word whose meaning has, for me, constantly evolved. In the end, I live by the following food philosophies:

  1. Prepare your own food
  2. Enjoy eating! I feel sad when I see people who are scared to enjoy eating.  There is a TON of nutritional information available, much of it contradicting; this makes eating well intimidating. But…FOOD IS DELICIOUS AND SHOULD BE ENJOYED!
  3. Eat local, whole foods
Admittedly…none of this is groundbreaking. However, I didn't always think this way.

 

In high school, my parents gave me school lunch money, BUT if I made my own lunch, I could keep the money.  This paved the way for preparing my own food, even if I was motivated by money, not health.  

Also during high school, I battled minor OCD tendencies that manifested in a low-grade eating disorder. I was scared of food, and I certainly didn't know how to enjoy it. I was diagnosed before things got out of hand, but this began a phase in my life where I tried to eat foods with as little fat and as few calories as possible. That’s being "healthy," right? Using this philosophy, mustard intrigued me…only 5 calories per serving? If only I could live off mustard!  I'm still a HUGE mustard fan, but as a condiment! Not a food group...I do eat it by the spoon-full sometimes…shhh. 

[caption id="attachment_4186" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont[/caption] I lived in fear of eating for a while, and what I DID eat was often wrong.  The meals I "prepared" were cans of soup and horrible frozen vegetable/fake cheese concoctions that fell into my "low fat/calorie" requirement - makes you wonder just WHAT exactly they are made of...because we all know cheese is NOT low in fat or calories...

Without getting into details, I discovered the joy of farmer's markets, food co-ops, and whole foods. I was influenced by friends, boyfriends, books, architecture school, and a course I took on the Natural Food Industry. I stopped feeling scared of eating as I became freed by my knowledge and understanding of eating well.

[caption id="attachment_4164" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT[/caption]

Wrap this all up into a tidy little bundle, and you have the food-enjoying, home-food prepping, whole food eating, human being that is ME! I love trying new recipes and restaurants, but I also enjoy the simplicity of roasting delicious vegetables with some olive oil and salt, it can be that easy!

As a recent transplant from Portland, Oregon, I can tell that I have moved from one foodie city to another.  Vermonters do food right; local isn't a trend, it's a lifestyle! I look forward to sharing my food enthusiasm with you while I explore Vermont's food scene!

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One Response to “New Guest Writer: Welcome Corrie to the Green Mountain State!”

  1. Kellie Kutkey says:

    I’m excited for you! You always do good, healthy eating is fun. I can’t wait for you to visit us later.

Leave a Reply


 

A Farewell To The Green Mountain State

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 4.40.16 PM
I miss my wonderful assistant, Natalie Lovelace. She spent her last year and a half as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont running around the northern stretches of Vermont with me talking to people about food.
What a delight it was to have her as my blog manager. Natalie often, not only wrote, but photographed and posted stories for ITKWB. And she did a great job! But, the best part for us was meeting and interviewing the food producers –farmers, chefs, bakers, restauranteurs and food entrepreneurs that make Vermont a leader in food innovation. Natalie brought her intelligence, energy and curiosity to our quest for interesting tales to tell our readers. And we had so much fun!
Graduating in May with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Food Systems, but home now in California, I know she’s already lighting up her hometown of San Francisco!
When you get tired of all that sun, Natalie,  please  think about a return to Vermont. We miss you already!
À Bientôt,
bronwyn-signature11

 

***
IMG_6992_2

Bronwyn and I would often try to pin down what makes Vermont such a magical place, especially in terms of its thriving local food system. Since being back home in the Bay Area for the past couple months, it has become clearer to me that the locality of the food makes Burlington unlike any other place I know. In Burlington, I was not only walking distance from shops, restaurants, and the university itself, but also from the farms that provided much of its food. Here, local food is the norm. It is common for chefs to be cooking with produce that was harvested hours before; for people to personally know someone who has started a food-related business, and for people to know the story behind most of the products in their kitchen.

Now that I am back in California, I see that this is what makes Vermont so unique. Although there is a push for local food in the Bay Area, the reality is that the farms are far from the city. Farmers often have to commute hours to get their produce to market. This distance makes it more difficult to create relationships with those individuals that work to harvest the food on our plate, which in my opinion is the core to a local food system. As Bronwyn and I experienced through our interviews with different food entrepreneurs in Vermont, it is the stories behind the food that make it meaningful. For me, the closer I am to these stories, the more I appreciate the food on my plate.

Although it will be more difficult to find these stories, I know that it’s important for me to search these out. In fact, just this morning, I met a man named Max that started a coffee roasting company in my town that grows his own beans in Peru. As Max passionately described his methods of growing and harvesting, I was reminded of many of the food producers I had met in Vermont. Through working with Bronwyn, I have realized that although food nourishes the body, the connections we make with others nourishes the soul. I will always be thankful for Bronwyn and the passionate food artisans of Vermont for helping me to appreciate the true meaning of local.

À Bientôt,
Natalie

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 1.21.44 AM

***

Posted: 7-16-2016

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Corrie Austin is new to Vermont and new to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains. I always say that making good food is one of the most creative things you can do, akin to practicing the fine arts or designing beautiful living spaces, so it’s no surprise Corrie has found herself writing about the creative food leadership in her new home and her own insights on the subject of healthy and inspiring food.  

Welcome, Corrie…I can’t wait to see, through your eyes, the wonderful world of culinary Vermont!

 

Hello VERMONT!

In order to share my experiences and musings on Vermont's food vibe, I feel the need to introduce my relationship with food. Overall, I have the best intentions for a "healthy" diet; "healthy," a word whose meaning has, for me, constantly evolved. In the end, I live by the following food philosophies:

  1. Prepare your own food
  2. Enjoy eating! I feel sad when I see people who are scared to enjoy eating.  There is a TON of nutritional information available, much of it contradicting; this makes eating well intimidating. But…FOOD IS DELICIOUS AND SHOULD BE ENJOYED!
  3. Eat local, whole foods
Admittedly…none of this is groundbreaking. However, I didn't always think this way.

 

In high school, my parents gave me school lunch money, BUT if I made my own lunch, I could keep the money.  This paved the way for preparing my own food, even if I was motivated by money, not health.  

Also during high school, I battled minor OCD tendencies that manifested in a low-grade eating disorder. I was scared of food, and I certainly didn't know how to enjoy it. I was diagnosed before things got out of hand, but this began a phase in my life where I tried to eat foods with as little fat and as few calories as possible. That’s being "healthy," right? Using this philosophy, mustard intrigued me…only 5 calories per serving? If only I could live off mustard!  I'm still a HUGE mustard fan, but as a condiment! Not a food group...I do eat it by the spoon-full sometimes…shhh. 

[caption id="attachment_4186" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont[/caption] I lived in fear of eating for a while, and what I DID eat was often wrong.  The meals I "prepared" were cans of soup and horrible frozen vegetable/fake cheese concoctions that fell into my "low fat/calorie" requirement - makes you wonder just WHAT exactly they are made of...because we all know cheese is NOT low in fat or calories...

Without getting into details, I discovered the joy of farmer's markets, food co-ops, and whole foods. I was influenced by friends, boyfriends, books, architecture school, and a course I took on the Natural Food Industry. I stopped feeling scared of eating as I became freed by my knowledge and understanding of eating well.

[caption id="attachment_4164" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT[/caption]

Wrap this all up into a tidy little bundle, and you have the food-enjoying, home-food prepping, whole food eating, human being that is ME! I love trying new recipes and restaurants, but I also enjoy the simplicity of roasting delicious vegetables with some olive oil and salt, it can be that easy!

As a recent transplant from Portland, Oregon, I can tell that I have moved from one foodie city to another.  Vermonters do food right; local isn't a trend, it's a lifestyle! I look forward to sharing my food enthusiasm with you while I explore Vermont's food scene!

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Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 4.40.16 PM
I miss my wonderful assistant, Natalie Lovelace. She spent her last year and a half as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont running around the northern stretches of Vermont with me talking to people about food.
What a delight it was to have her as my blog manager. Natalie often, not only wrote, but photographed and posted stories for ITKWB. And she did a great job! But, the best part for us was meeting and interviewing the food producers –farmers, chefs, bakers, restauranteurs and food entrepreneurs that make Vermont a leader in food innovation. Natalie brought her intelligence, energy and curiosity to our quest for interesting tales to tell our readers. And we had so much fun!
Graduating in May with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Food Systems, but home now in California, I know she’s already lighting up her hometown of San Francisco!
When you get tired of all that sun, Natalie,  please  think about a return to Vermont. We miss you already!
À Bientôt, bronwyn-signature11
 

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Bronwyn and I would often try to pin down what makes Vermont such a magical place, especially in terms of its thriving local food system. Since being back home in the Bay Area for the past couple months, it has become clearer to me that the locality of the food makes Burlington unlike any other place I know. In Burlington, I was not only walking distance from shops, restaurants, and the university itself, but also from the farms that provided much of its food. Here, local food is the norm. It is common for chefs to be cooking with produce that was harvested hours before; for people to personally know someone who has started a food-related business, and for people to know the story behind most of the products in their kitchen.

Now that I am back in California, I see that this is what makes Vermont so unique. Although there is a push for local food in the Bay Area, the reality is that the farms are far from the city. Farmers often have to commute hours to get their produce to market. This distance makes it more difficult to create relationships with those individuals that work to harvest the food on our plate, which in my opinion is the core to a local food system. As Bronwyn and I experienced through our interviews with different food entrepreneurs in Vermont, it is the stories behind the food that make it meaningful. For me, the closer I am to these stories, the more I appreciate the food on my plate.

Although it will be more difficult to find these stories, I know that it’s important for me to search these out. In fact, just this morning, I met a man named Max that started a coffee roasting company in my town that grows his own beans in Peru. As Max passionately described his methods of growing and harvesting, I was reminded of many of the food producers I had met in Vermont. Through working with Bronwyn, I have realized that although food nourishes the body, the connections we make with others nourishes the soul. I will always be thankful for Bronwyn and the passionate food artisans of Vermont for helping me to appreciate the true meaning of local.

À Bientôt, Natalie

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" ["post_title"]=> string(38) "A Farewell To The Green Mountain State" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(38) "a-farewell-to-the-green-mountain-state" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-07-17 08:25:05" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-07-17 08:25:05" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4142" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#227 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4110) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-05-15 18:42:03" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-05-15 18:42:03" ["post_content"]=> string(10824) "unnamed-3 Just A Little Stir How do you interview iconic restaurant owner, Avery Rifkin? You don’t. You let him interview you, something he’s very good at, as many of his customers know. It’s part of the charm of Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, his singular restaurant.  Rifkin’s presence is one of host and interlocutor, while his partner, Tim Eliott remains quietly in the background.  Avery’s warmth and kindness toward his “guests” is one of the reasons the restaurant is so popular. And, even as I write this, I know I will be causing just a little stir in the otherwise amiability of the man. He is genuinely modest about his contributions to the restaurant’s eighteen years of success. The Right Formula Partnerships in any business don’t come easily. There’s always some decision that divides two people working together, as almost any marital partnership reminds us. Somehow, Eliott and Rifkin have found the right formula for their business partnership. It’s one that many would envy but it’s not easily defined. Perhaps, it’s because they came together with the same desire, a desire to build a restaurant that anyone could afford to dine in. And, I add to this, they wanted to make the restaurant a place where anyone would feel at home. They have achieved this in so many ways but it didn’t happen by chance, because, as we all know, “the devil is in the details,” and Rifkin is good at details. 318fb6db-bfae-43ab-837a-bd2273d20c85 Stop and Look Around The next time you walk into Stone Soup stop and look around. Though I know this is not easy because of the array of the delicious dishes to choose from set out on a handsome buffet, but next time, stop and look. I do because I’ve begun to realize things are always changing at Stone Soup.  Though everything looks as though it had been there for a lifetime, in fact in the twelve years I’ve been eating at Stone Soup, the entire back half of the kitchen area has been redesigned –Tim’s idea because his career started as a dishwasher and he wanted a perfect dishwashing area for his staff. It is, in fact, a marvel of dishwashing engineering, one that I envy. The gleaming stainless steel counters that surround the large sinks and commercial dishwashing machine (why doesn’t GE make a home dishwasher that washes and dries in 15 minutes?) are a model for anyone who loves to roll up their sleeves and dive into the suds. Hamburger Fridays Recently, diamond-faceted globes have been hung above the handsome, ornate main counter of the restaurant replacing the originals and giving off just the right amount of prisimed light for the display of challah and whole-grain breads, cakes and cookies that are as delectable as they look. Installed last year, a new counter at the back of the room is now the best place to be on the restaurant’s “hamburger Fridays” when Avery proves that he is what his partner says he is, “ the meat-whisperer”, making the best hamburgers in town. And though he is glad that many loyal customers make Fridays a habit, there are just as many who swear by his brisket, the sweet and tangy chicken wings and the absolutely authentic chicken livers with crisp skin cracklings and fried onions served as a sandwich, all part of each week’s menu. post Gracefully Into The Pond There are so many small details that make the interior of the restaurant unique. As a regular customer, I’ve admired but never asked why there is a print of a pig diving gracefully into a pond hanging on a wall overlooking the dining room.  It’s part of the mystery of Stone Soup, and I doubt that I’ll ever ask that question because I want that little bit of mystery to always be there. Every print and photograph on the walls is chosen by Rifkin.  They reinforce the feeling of longevity and community that is the essence of Stone Soup.  As a transplanted New Yorker, I recognize what these photos represent. Some are from an earlier era of restaurant history, some of restaurant neighbors in Burlington. Some identify the contribution of local farmers through scenes of working landscapes and farming equipment.  All are Stone Soup’s version of the signed “celebrity” and “faithful customer” photos that hang on the walls of dairy restaurants and delicatessens all around the five boroughs. In Stone Soups case, the photos are a tribute to restaurant life and the local farming community, both so important to the success of the restaurant.  It’s a tradition that Rifkin knows well growing up in Rochester, New York with his father, a professor at NYU, an excuse for frequent trips to Manhattan. His love for New York extends to the Adirondacks. The high-backed chairs recently installed at the counter overlooking the kitchen, a tribute to the other side of the lake. unnamed-5 What About Local? What about local? This is a question I always ask in a restaurant in Vermont because it’s an important part of our agricultural economy to buy locally. It’s a way of supporting community and acting on what you believe in if you believe in small farms as most of us do in the Green Mountain State. But I didn’t have to ask Rifkin this question because it’s evident how local the food is at Stone Soup. Without a separate delivery entrance, all deliveries come through the front door and right past the customers sitting at tables in the main area of the dining room, headed to the storage rooms below. On the day that I interviewed Rifkin, a farmer with several bags of produce appeared.  With a welcome, Rifkin was on his feet immediately and called out to the busy staff, “All hands on deck!” Soon, the produce bags were out of sight and Rifkin was offering the farmer some freshly baked cookies for the road home. When I asked how long had the restaurant been buying locally, the answer was, “From the beginning. It never occurred to us to do it any other way.” Rifkin and Elliot were ahead of the “local” curve because local fit a tenet of their business plan: to serve the community. blog post Not A Vegetarian Restaurant What Stone Soup is to many of its customers is a vegetarian restaurant, though it isn’t really one.  That’s because Eliott built his reputation at a much admired vegetarian delicatessen and market on Main Street, Organum. At the same time, Avery was working for Olive Branch, a bakery and take-out in the South End. When City Market, a restaurant on College Street in downtown Burlington, closed, both men, separately, took a look at the space. Soon, they were meeting daily for lunch at Nectar’s, the music venue and bar on Main Street, discussing their ideas about the possibility of partnership.  It’s a classic restaurant start-up saga: Two men with a vision team up and months later the city is graced with a new restaurant, one that today –eighteen years later- is still a success. Love In Plain Sight I credit commitment as a factor that has made Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup such a happy ending-story, but I also credit something far subtler, I credit love. It is something you feel when you walk in the door and under the electric sign that says “Hot Kale”, a gift from the staff. You feel it when you hand your full plate over to be weighed to one of the servers and they know who you are. You feel it when you see Eliott’s broad smile beaming at some joke from another staff member slicing up carrots on the broad wooden cutting board in the kitchen. You feel it when you see a customer greeting Rifkin with a huge bear hug in the center of the dining room; and you see it in the total transparency of the restaurant, itself, where all the cooking is done in plain sight.
unnamed-6 Check out Stone Soup’s website for daily menus and hours at stonesoupvt.com, or just stop by to see what it’s all about for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
À Bientôt, bronwyn-signature11      " ["post_title"]=> string(35) "Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, Part II" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(81) "Read the second part to the post on Avery Rifkin & Tim Elliott's Stone Soup here." 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The color, the smell, the beauty of lettuce freshly picked from the garden makes him smile. He talks about the tender leaves easily crushed if not handled gently and the importance of washing them carefully and thoroughly before storing in a container that doesn’t pack them down. His enthusiastic description also reminds me that in certain ways, we in America, have not only lost the true enjoyment of eating real food, but the true enjoyment of preparing real food, as well. “You can tell what’s happy and what’s not. You have to treat it like a living thing”, Tim explained. Natalie and I sat at a table in the window of Muddy Waters, the iconic café on Main St., listening to Tim, a partner at the equally iconic restaurant, Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, whose life in food might well be the perfect template for the exciting culinary world that is Burlington, Vermont, in 2016. unnamed Cafeteria-style Tim and his partner, Avery Rifkin, have run their restaurant on College Street just off the city’s pedestrian mall, a vital heart of urban energy, since 1997. Their intuitive leap into combining forces to run a restaurant together brought something to the food scene here that hadn’t been done before. Not only is the restaurant a cafeteria-style eatery, it is also small enough and intimate enough to encourage its patrons to consider it a second home. Stone Soup feeds the residents of the neighborhood, as well as downtown business people, tourists, and students from nearby colleges and the University of Vermont. Tim agrees that most people don’t have time to really cook. Stone Soup, with its fairly priced (after choosing from a selection of main dishes and sides, diners have their plates weighed and priced accordingly) menu selections, is the best alternative to a home-cooked meal that I know. A family of four can dine for under $50 at Stone Soup.  In my mind that beats bringing home a luke-warm pizza or heating-up even the best Thai noodle soup from a local Asian take-out. unnamed-6 Homesteaders Tim was raised by “homesteaders”, his description of his parents, who were living a life very much influenced by the Nearings, Helen and Scott, the fabled back-to-the land” promoters whose lifestyle influenced so many to live “off the grid” back in the 1970s. Tim’s family was living in a home they built themselves with enough of a garden to grow most of their own food in Hancock, New Hampshire, long before it became a trend.  As vegetarians, they raised their own produce to put meals on the table.  Bill and Eileen Elliott are still living off the land in the house that Tim grew up in.  He readily admits he sees his parents’ marriage and partnership as the one he most aspires to even though his choice of lifestyle revolves around a restaurant, a business partner, a multitude of faithful customers and a loyal staff. After recognizing that college was not for him, Tim fell into the fast paced restaurant business—“if I’m not moving, I’m sleeping”. After the usual dishwashing jobs, he wound up running the deli department for Organum, a popular vegetarian restaurant and health food store in Burlington during the 90s. Not a surprise since he’d been raised a vegetarian and only converted to meat-eating when he couldn’t say “no” to a salmon dinner made by a friend and colleague. unnamed-3 In A Good Way When you walk into Stone Soup it feels a little like a place that’s been there a long time. From the hand-painted sign above the garage door façade, to the tin ceiling, to all the beautiful and locally-made wooden tables, the gorgeously heavy and ornately carved serving counter, the hand-forged wrought-iron tiered display trays offering desserts made onsite, there’s a sense that you’ve walked back in time…but, in a good way! unnamed-1 Perfect Imperfection There isn’t another restaurant in the world that you can compare it to, at least not one that I’ve eaten in. Nowhere else have I found the combination of refined esthetic and perfect “imperfection” that is found here. The eye has fun taking in a breakfront that sits between the front dining space and the back. It was made for the restaurant some 18-years ago, but it could have been found in one of those country auction houses selling good 19th century antiques.  It’s embellished with a stained-glass panel at the top and trailing ivy decorating the side shelves that hold silverware and glasses.  It commands attention and sets the tone for the calm and generous experience of sitting down at Stone Soup with a plate of real food. This breakfront is also the gateway for all the suppliers who bring their wares to the restaurant.  Early morning is the usual time for farmers to bring their produce, meat and eggs to Stone Soup, but it’s not surprising to see Dave Quickel from Stony Loam Farm walk in with tender lettuce just picked before lunch giving the staff an edge on every other eatery in town as far as freshness goes. The owners appreciate that it’ s a treat for their customers to see the food come into the kitchen wide open to the dining room. They have been buying locally since the first week in 1997, beating the competition in what is now the local and organic movement.  “It wasn’t a movement when we began.  It’s what we wanted to do,” says Rifkin.   unnamed-4 Follow the story of Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup in our next post, and find out why the menu is one of the best in the city of Burlington. And, learn why Avery Rifkin is the reason why Stone Soup isn’t a vegetarian restaurant." ["post_title"]=> string(26) "Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(65) "Read more about Burlington's iconic Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup." 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Thanksgiving this year was, for me, a wonderful time to think about gratitude. I was grateful because my daughter’s family in Paris was safe after the terrorist attacks in that beautiful city. I was grateful, too, that my Thanksgiving was spent with two remarkable 90+ year olds, my stepmother Judith Jones, and her cousin, Jane Gunther. Believe me when I say that they, in spite of their venerable age, still rule the roost, and though this often gives me pause, I’m grateful that they’re still celebrating with me. A blessing for sure!
So it seemed the right moment between two holidays that celebrate giving and help us understand how important being grateful is to our sense of self, to write about the importance of food security, a basic right of all people all over the world.
Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of the Upaya Institute in Sante Fe, New Mexico, writes that one of the gifts we can give each other this season is the gift of non-fear. When food security is guaranteed as it is for many, but not all of us, it helps us to banish fear of hunger. For a great part of the world, there is no end to the fear of hunger. If we solve this problem for the world, so many other problems that hurt and terrify us will end, as well.
Read what Natalie has experienced as a UVM senior in the Food Systems program and remember your local food shelf or food program when you give this year to your favorite organization.
À Bientôt and Happy Holidays!
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Food Insecurity in Vermont With the abundance of farmers markets, co-ops, and farms in Vermont, it may be surprising to hear that hunger is still a large issue. Despite the thriving local food scene in the state, 13% of all households in Vermont are food insecure, and 1 in 5 children experience hunger at some point. Food Waste--A Coexisting Problem At the same time, food waste is just as large of an issue. In the United States, around 40% of all food is wasted. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state in their book, The Ethics of Eating, “[Waste] reflects nothing more than a casual disregard for what went into producing the food, from the suffering of the animals, to the labor of the workers, to the natural resources consumed and the pollution generated”. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state, this is not simply a waste of nutrients, but a waste of water, seeds, soil, time, energy, and (possible) degradation of our environment. [caption id="attachment_4003" align="aligncenter" width="520"]12107135_10153619226469326_63227699415022266_n Photo Courtesy of the Intervale Center[/caption] The Intervale's Gleaning & Food Rescue Program However, we are fortunate to have so many amazing organizations and programs working to combat these issues. The Intervale’s Gleaning and Food Rescue Program in Burlington is one of them. This summer and fall I helped distribute free food shares to low-income individuals as part of this program, which runs from mid July through October and collects leftover produce from farms at the Intervale, such as Digger’s Mirth. Sometimes this produce is leftover because the farmer simply has too much of it, other times, it is because it is not aesthetically up to consumers standards; however, it still tastes just as good! This produce is then divvied up into shares for individuals and organizations to pick up each week. [caption id="attachment_4004" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12088582_10153619219389326_8403675372498293644_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] Many Factors Lead to Food Insecurity It was not only so rewarding to directly give food to those in need, but it also gave me insight into the issue of food insecurity as a whole in Vermont. Before this program, I had always thought that rates of food insecurity were higher for women and children. However, after this program, I witnessed that age is also a huge factor in individual’s ability to obtain food. In addition to lack of mobility, many seniors also face increased health problems, which makes it difficult to stand long enough to prepare a meal. One older woman, who came each week, would always leave the butternut squash because she said it hurt her hands to peel it. There are many factors that limit an individual’s access to nutritious meals. [caption id="attachment_4005" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12107236_10153619219374326_1747472433099693458_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] "Just One Paycheck Away" With Vermont’s new Universal Recycling Law, which bans food scraps from going into the landfill, we will all have to be more aware of the food waste we produce. During this past semester, I also had the opportunity to work with the Agency of Natural Resources to figure out the financial impact of increased food donations at food rescue sites, which will have to increase their infrastructure due to this law. As part of this project I had the privilege to sit down and talk with Sally Metro from the Williston Food Shelf. The Williston Food Shelf provides groceries to families in need twice a month. Each family gets to choose their own food. Sally stated that we all need to be more aware of how we treat individuals in need. “We are all just one pay check away from this”, she explained. 12243032_1641906072693756_112836025984205107_n Gratitude During this holiday season, as I spend time with family and friends over meals, I will take time to really give thanks what is on my plate. I encourage everyone with extra food to share it with a friend, family, or local food shelf to show gratitude towards the abundance in your life. Wishing everyone a healthy and nutritious holiday season, Natalie Lovelace

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I miss my wonderful assistant, Natalie Lovelace. She spent her last year and a half as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont running around the northern stretches of Vermont with me talking to people about food.
What a delight it was to have her as my blog manager. Natalie often, not only wrote, but photographed and posted stories for ITKWB. And she did a great job! But, the best part for us was meeting and interviewing the food producers –farmers, chefs, bakers, restauranteurs and food entrepreneurs that make Vermont a leader in food innovation. Natalie brought her intelligence, energy and curiosity to our quest for interesting tales to tell our readers. And we had so much fun!
Graduating in May with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Food Systems, but home now in California, I know she’s already lighting up her hometown of San Francisco!
When you get tired of all that sun, Natalie,  please  think about a return to Vermont. We miss you already!
À Bientôt, bronwyn-signature11
 

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Bronwyn and I would often try to pin down what makes Vermont such a magical place, especially in terms of its thriving local food system. Since being back home in the Bay Area for the past couple months, it has become clearer to me that the locality of the food makes Burlington unlike any other place I know. In Burlington, I was not only walking distance from shops, restaurants, and the university itself, but also from the farms that provided much of its food. Here, local food is the norm. It is common for chefs to be cooking with produce that was harvested hours before; for people to personally know someone who has started a food-related business, and for people to know the story behind most of the products in their kitchen.

Now that I am back in California, I see that this is what makes Vermont so unique. Although there is a push for local food in the Bay Area, the reality is that the farms are far from the city. Farmers often have to commute hours to get their produce to market. This distance makes it more difficult to create relationships with those individuals that work to harvest the food on our plate, which in my opinion is the core to a local food system. As Bronwyn and I experienced through our interviews with different food entrepreneurs in Vermont, it is the stories behind the food that make it meaningful. For me, the closer I am to these stories, the more I appreciate the food on my plate.

Although it will be more difficult to find these stories, I know that it’s important for me to search these out. In fact, just this morning, I met a man named Max that started a coffee roasting company in my town that grows his own beans in Peru. As Max passionately described his methods of growing and harvesting, I was reminded of many of the food producers I had met in Vermont. Through working with Bronwyn, I have realized that although food nourishes the body, the connections we make with others nourishes the soul. I will always be thankful for Bronwyn and the passionate food artisans of Vermont for helping me to appreciate the true meaning of local.

À Bientôt, Natalie

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***

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4 Responses to “A Farewell To The Green Mountain State”

  1. Margo Davis says:

    Natalie,

    Be my guest and come down to Palo Alto to our Sunday market!! You will be very impressed with the farmer’s and their produce albeit, they have traveled to get here. But, they are here….every Saturday and Sunday.

    Hope you are well in SF.

    Margo

  2. Margit Van Schaickj says:

    Bronwyn, how are you coming along on the book for which you and Natalie were researching? I’m very interested in the topic and looking forward to reading your book.

    • Bronwyn says:

      Hi Margit, We are mid-way with the book with a New York agent and an editor standing in the wings.

      Would love to know more about your interest. Are you a food systems/environmental writer, editor or are you interested in the farm world here in Vermont specifically. Would love to hear more!

  3. Just heard from Natalie that she’s working for a food market called Good Eggs that supplies SF customers with overnight delivery of fresh and prepared food direct from farmers in the area. Sounds like she’s found a perfect fit for her talents and interest…I’m hoping for a blog post or two from Natalie describing her experience. Who knows, maybe there could be a Good Eggs in every urban center one day providing fresh food to everyone!

Leave a Reply


 

Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, Part II

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Just A Little Stir
How do you interview iconic restaurant owner, Avery Rifkin? You don’t. You let him interview you, something he’s very good at, as many of his customers know. It’s part of the charm of Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, his singular restaurant.  Rifkin’s presence is one of host and interlocutor, while his partner, Tim Eliott remains quietly in the background.  Avery’s warmth and kindness toward his “guests” is one of the reasons the restaurant is so popular. And, even as I write this, I know I will be causing just a little stir in the otherwise amiability of the man. He is genuinely modest about his contributions to the restaurant’s eighteen years of success.

The Right Formula
Partnerships in any business don’t come easily. There’s always some decision that divides two people working together, as almost any marital partnership reminds us. Somehow, Eliott and Rifkin have found the right formula for their business partnership. It’s one that many would envy but it’s not easily defined. Perhaps, it’s because they came together with the same desire, a desire to build a restaurant that anyone could afford to dine in. And, I add to this, they wanted to make the restaurant a place where anyone would feel at home. They have achieved this in so many ways but it didn’t happen by chance, because, as we all know, “the devil is in the details,” and Rifkin is good at details.

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Stop and Look Around
The next time you walk into Stone Soup stop and look around. Though I know this is not easy because of the array of the delicious dishes to choose from set out on a handsome buffet, but next time, stop and look. I do because I’ve begun to realize things are always changing at Stone Soup.  Though everything looks as though it had been there for a lifetime, in fact in the twelve years I’ve been eating at Stone Soup, the entire back half of the kitchen area has been redesigned –Tim’s idea because his career started as a dishwasher and he wanted a perfect dishwashing area for his staff. It is, in fact, a marvel of dishwashing engineering, one that I envy. The gleaming stainless steel counters that surround the large sinks and commercial dishwashing machine (why doesn’t GE make a home dishwasher that washes and dries in 15 minutes?) are a model for anyone who loves to roll up their sleeves and dive into the suds.

Hamburger Fridays
Recently, diamond-faceted globes have been hung above the handsome, ornate main counter of the restaurant replacing the originals and giving off just the right amount of prisimed light for the display of challah and whole-grain breads, cakes and cookies that are as delectable as they look. Installed last year, a new counter at the back of the room is now the best place to be on the restaurant’s “hamburger Fridays” when Avery proves that he is what his partner says he is, “ the meat-whisperer”, making the best hamburgers in town. And though he is glad that many loyal customers make Fridays a habit, there are just as many who swear by his brisket, the sweet and tangy chicken wings and the absolutely authentic chicken livers with crisp skin cracklings and fried onions served as a sandwich, all part of each week’s menu.

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Gracefully Into The Pond
There are so many small details that make the interior of the restaurant unique. As a regular customer, I’ve admired but never asked why there is a print of a pig diving gracefully into a pond hanging on a wall overlooking the dining room.  It’s part of the mystery of Stone Soup, and I doubt that I’ll ever ask that question because I want that little bit of mystery to always be there.

Every print and photograph on the walls is chosen by Rifkin.  They reinforce the feeling of longevity and community that is the essence of Stone Soup.  As a transplanted New Yorker, I recognize what these photos represent. Some are from an earlier era of restaurant history, some of restaurant neighbors in Burlington. Some identify the contribution of local farmers through scenes of working landscapes and farming equipment.  All are Stone Soup’s version of the signed “celebrity” and “faithful customer” photos that hang on the walls of dairy restaurants and delicatessens all around the five boroughs. In Stone Soups case, the photos are a tribute to restaurant life and the local farming community, both so important to the success of the restaurant.  It’s a tradition that Rifkin knows well growing up in Rochester, New York with his father, a professor at NYU, an excuse for frequent trips to Manhattan. His love for New York extends to the Adirondacks. The high-backed chairs recently installed at the counter overlooking the kitchen, a tribute to the other side of the lake.

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What About Local?
What about local? This is a question I always ask in a restaurant in Vermont because it’s an important part of our agricultural economy to buy locally. It’s a way of supporting community and acting on what you believe in if you believe in small farms as most of us do in the Green Mountain State. But I didn’t have to ask Rifkin this question because it’s evident how local the food is at Stone Soup.

Without a separate delivery entrance, all deliveries come through the front door and right past the customers sitting at tables in the main area of the dining room, headed to the storage rooms below. On the day that I interviewed Rifkin, a farmer with several bags of produce appeared.  With a welcome, Rifkin was on his feet immediately and called out to the busy staff, “All hands on deck!” Soon, the produce bags were out of sight and Rifkin was offering the farmer some freshly baked cookies for the road home. When I asked how long had the restaurant been buying locally, the answer was, “From the beginning. It never occurred to us to do it any other way.” Rifkin and Elliot were ahead of the “local” curve because local fit a tenet of their business plan: to serve the community.

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Not A Vegetarian Restaurant
What Stone Soup is to many of its customers is a vegetarian restaurant, though it isn’t really one.  That’s because Eliott built his reputation at a much admired vegetarian delicatessen and market on Main Street, Organum. At the same time, Avery was working for Olive Branch, a bakery and take-out in the South End. When City Market, a restaurant on College Street in downtown Burlington, closed, both men, separately, took a look at the space. Soon, they were meeting daily for lunch at Nectar’s, the music venue and bar on Main Street, discussing their ideas about the possibility of partnership.  It’s a classic restaurant start-up saga: Two men with a vision team up and months later the city is graced with a new restaurant, one that today –eighteen years later- is still a success.

Love In Plain Sight
I credit commitment as a factor that has made Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup such a happy ending-story, but I also credit something far subtler, I credit love. It is something you feel when you walk in the door and under the electric sign that says “Hot Kale”, a gift from the staff. You feel it when you hand your full plate over to be weighed to one of the servers and they know who you are. You feel it when you see Eliott’s broad smile beaming at some joke from another staff member slicing up carrots on the broad wooden cutting board in the kitchen. You feel it when you see a customer greeting Rifkin with a huge bear hug in the center of the dining room; and you see it in the total transparency of the restaurant, itself, where all the cooking is done in plain sight.

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Check out Stone Soup’s website for daily menus and hours at s
tonesoupvt.com, or just stop by to see what it’s all about for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

À Bientôt,

bronwyn-signature11

 

 

 

Posted: 5-15-2016

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Corrie Austin is new to Vermont and new to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains. I always say that making good food is one of the most creative things you can do, akin to practicing the fine arts or designing beautiful living spaces, so it’s no surprise Corrie has found herself writing about the creative food leadership in her new home and her own insights on the subject of healthy and inspiring food.  

Welcome, Corrie…I can’t wait to see, through your eyes, the wonderful world of culinary Vermont!

 

Hello VERMONT!

In order to share my experiences and musings on Vermont's food vibe, I feel the need to introduce my relationship with food. Overall, I have the best intentions for a "healthy" diet; "healthy," a word whose meaning has, for me, constantly evolved. In the end, I live by the following food philosophies:

  1. Prepare your own food
  2. Enjoy eating! I feel sad when I see people who are scared to enjoy eating.  There is a TON of nutritional information available, much of it contradicting; this makes eating well intimidating. But…FOOD IS DELICIOUS AND SHOULD BE ENJOYED!
  3. Eat local, whole foods
Admittedly…none of this is groundbreaking. However, I didn't always think this way.

 

In high school, my parents gave me school lunch money, BUT if I made my own lunch, I could keep the money.  This paved the way for preparing my own food, even if I was motivated by money, not health.  

Also during high school, I battled minor OCD tendencies that manifested in a low-grade eating disorder. I was scared of food, and I certainly didn't know how to enjoy it. I was diagnosed before things got out of hand, but this began a phase in my life where I tried to eat foods with as little fat and as few calories as possible. That’s being "healthy," right? Using this philosophy, mustard intrigued me…only 5 calories per serving? If only I could live off mustard!  I'm still a HUGE mustard fan, but as a condiment! Not a food group...I do eat it by the spoon-full sometimes…shhh. 

[caption id="attachment_4186" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont[/caption] I lived in fear of eating for a while, and what I DID eat was often wrong.  The meals I "prepared" were cans of soup and horrible frozen vegetable/fake cheese concoctions that fell into my "low fat/calorie" requirement - makes you wonder just WHAT exactly they are made of...because we all know cheese is NOT low in fat or calories...

Without getting into details, I discovered the joy of farmer's markets, food co-ops, and whole foods. I was influenced by friends, boyfriends, books, architecture school, and a course I took on the Natural Food Industry. I stopped feeling scared of eating as I became freed by my knowledge and understanding of eating well.

[caption id="attachment_4164" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT[/caption]

Wrap this all up into a tidy little bundle, and you have the food-enjoying, home-food prepping, whole food eating, human being that is ME! I love trying new recipes and restaurants, but I also enjoy the simplicity of roasting delicious vegetables with some olive oil and salt, it can be that easy!

As a recent transplant from Portland, Oregon, I can tell that I have moved from one foodie city to another.  Vermonters do food right; local isn't a trend, it's a lifestyle! I look forward to sharing my food enthusiasm with you while I explore Vermont's food scene!

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Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 4.40.16 PM
I miss my wonderful assistant, Natalie Lovelace. She spent her last year and a half as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont running around the northern stretches of Vermont with me talking to people about food.
What a delight it was to have her as my blog manager. Natalie often, not only wrote, but photographed and posted stories for ITKWB. And she did a great job! But, the best part for us was meeting and interviewing the food producers –farmers, chefs, bakers, restauranteurs and food entrepreneurs that make Vermont a leader in food innovation. Natalie brought her intelligence, energy and curiosity to our quest for interesting tales to tell our readers. And we had so much fun!
Graduating in May with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Food Systems, but home now in California, I know she’s already lighting up her hometown of San Francisco!
When you get tired of all that sun, Natalie,  please  think about a return to Vermont. We miss you already!
À Bientôt, bronwyn-signature11
 

*** IMG_6992_2

Bronwyn and I would often try to pin down what makes Vermont such a magical place, especially in terms of its thriving local food system. Since being back home in the Bay Area for the past couple months, it has become clearer to me that the locality of the food makes Burlington unlike any other place I know. In Burlington, I was not only walking distance from shops, restaurants, and the university itself, but also from the farms that provided much of its food. Here, local food is the norm. It is common for chefs to be cooking with produce that was harvested hours before; for people to personally know someone who has started a food-related business, and for people to know the story behind most of the products in their kitchen.

Now that I am back in California, I see that this is what makes Vermont so unique. Although there is a push for local food in the Bay Area, the reality is that the farms are far from the city. Farmers often have to commute hours to get their produce to market. This distance makes it more difficult to create relationships with those individuals that work to harvest the food on our plate, which in my opinion is the core to a local food system. As Bronwyn and I experienced through our interviews with different food entrepreneurs in Vermont, it is the stories behind the food that make it meaningful. For me, the closer I am to these stories, the more I appreciate the food on my plate.

Although it will be more difficult to find these stories, I know that it’s important for me to search these out. In fact, just this morning, I met a man named Max that started a coffee roasting company in my town that grows his own beans in Peru. As Max passionately described his methods of growing and harvesting, I was reminded of many of the food producers I had met in Vermont. Through working with Bronwyn, I have realized that although food nourishes the body, the connections we make with others nourishes the soul. I will always be thankful for Bronwyn and the passionate food artisans of Vermont for helping me to appreciate the true meaning of local.

À Bientôt, Natalie

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 1.21.44 AM

***

" ["post_title"]=> string(38) "A Farewell To The Green Mountain State" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(38) "a-farewell-to-the-green-mountain-state" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-07-17 08:25:05" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-07-17 08:25:05" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4142" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#227 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4110) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-05-15 18:42:03" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-05-15 18:42:03" ["post_content"]=> string(10824) "unnamed-3 Just A Little Stir How do you interview iconic restaurant owner, Avery Rifkin? You don’t. You let him interview you, something he’s very good at, as many of his customers know. It’s part of the charm of Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, his singular restaurant.  Rifkin’s presence is one of host and interlocutor, while his partner, Tim Eliott remains quietly in the background.  Avery’s warmth and kindness toward his “guests” is one of the reasons the restaurant is so popular. And, even as I write this, I know I will be causing just a little stir in the otherwise amiability of the man. He is genuinely modest about his contributions to the restaurant’s eighteen years of success. The Right Formula Partnerships in any business don’t come easily. There’s always some decision that divides two people working together, as almost any marital partnership reminds us. Somehow, Eliott and Rifkin have found the right formula for their business partnership. It’s one that many would envy but it’s not easily defined. Perhaps, it’s because they came together with the same desire, a desire to build a restaurant that anyone could afford to dine in. And, I add to this, they wanted to make the restaurant a place where anyone would feel at home. They have achieved this in so many ways but it didn’t happen by chance, because, as we all know, “the devil is in the details,” and Rifkin is good at details. 318fb6db-bfae-43ab-837a-bd2273d20c85 Stop and Look Around The next time you walk into Stone Soup stop and look around. Though I know this is not easy because of the array of the delicious dishes to choose from set out on a handsome buffet, but next time, stop and look. I do because I’ve begun to realize things are always changing at Stone Soup.  Though everything looks as though it had been there for a lifetime, in fact in the twelve years I’ve been eating at Stone Soup, the entire back half of the kitchen area has been redesigned –Tim’s idea because his career started as a dishwasher and he wanted a perfect dishwashing area for his staff. It is, in fact, a marvel of dishwashing engineering, one that I envy. The gleaming stainless steel counters that surround the large sinks and commercial dishwashing machine (why doesn’t GE make a home dishwasher that washes and dries in 15 minutes?) are a model for anyone who loves to roll up their sleeves and dive into the suds. Hamburger Fridays Recently, diamond-faceted globes have been hung above the handsome, ornate main counter of the restaurant replacing the originals and giving off just the right amount of prisimed light for the display of challah and whole-grain breads, cakes and cookies that are as delectable as they look. Installed last year, a new counter at the back of the room is now the best place to be on the restaurant’s “hamburger Fridays” when Avery proves that he is what his partner says he is, “ the meat-whisperer”, making the best hamburgers in town. And though he is glad that many loyal customers make Fridays a habit, there are just as many who swear by his brisket, the sweet and tangy chicken wings and the absolutely authentic chicken livers with crisp skin cracklings and fried onions served as a sandwich, all part of each week’s menu. post Gracefully Into The Pond There are so many small details that make the interior of the restaurant unique. As a regular customer, I’ve admired but never asked why there is a print of a pig diving gracefully into a pond hanging on a wall overlooking the dining room.  It’s part of the mystery of Stone Soup, and I doubt that I’ll ever ask that question because I want that little bit of mystery to always be there. Every print and photograph on the walls is chosen by Rifkin.  They reinforce the feeling of longevity and community that is the essence of Stone Soup.  As a transplanted New Yorker, I recognize what these photos represent. Some are from an earlier era of restaurant history, some of restaurant neighbors in Burlington. Some identify the contribution of local farmers through scenes of working landscapes and farming equipment.  All are Stone Soup’s version of the signed “celebrity” and “faithful customer” photos that hang on the walls of dairy restaurants and delicatessens all around the five boroughs. In Stone Soups case, the photos are a tribute to restaurant life and the local farming community, both so important to the success of the restaurant.  It’s a tradition that Rifkin knows well growing up in Rochester, New York with his father, a professor at NYU, an excuse for frequent trips to Manhattan. His love for New York extends to the Adirondacks. The high-backed chairs recently installed at the counter overlooking the kitchen, a tribute to the other side of the lake. unnamed-5 What About Local? What about local? This is a question I always ask in a restaurant in Vermont because it’s an important part of our agricultural economy to buy locally. It’s a way of supporting community and acting on what you believe in if you believe in small farms as most of us do in the Green Mountain State. But I didn’t have to ask Rifkin this question because it’s evident how local the food is at Stone Soup. Without a separate delivery entrance, all deliveries come through the front door and right past the customers sitting at tables in the main area of the dining room, headed to the storage rooms below. On the day that I interviewed Rifkin, a farmer with several bags of produce appeared.  With a welcome, Rifkin was on his feet immediately and called out to the busy staff, “All hands on deck!” Soon, the produce bags were out of sight and Rifkin was offering the farmer some freshly baked cookies for the road home. When I asked how long had the restaurant been buying locally, the answer was, “From the beginning. It never occurred to us to do it any other way.” Rifkin and Elliot were ahead of the “local” curve because local fit a tenet of their business plan: to serve the community. blog post Not A Vegetarian Restaurant What Stone Soup is to many of its customers is a vegetarian restaurant, though it isn’t really one.  That’s because Eliott built his reputation at a much admired vegetarian delicatessen and market on Main Street, Organum. At the same time, Avery was working for Olive Branch, a bakery and take-out in the South End. When City Market, a restaurant on College Street in downtown Burlington, closed, both men, separately, took a look at the space. Soon, they were meeting daily for lunch at Nectar’s, the music venue and bar on Main Street, discussing their ideas about the possibility of partnership.  It’s a classic restaurant start-up saga: Two men with a vision team up and months later the city is graced with a new restaurant, one that today –eighteen years later- is still a success. Love In Plain Sight I credit commitment as a factor that has made Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup such a happy ending-story, but I also credit something far subtler, I credit love. It is something you feel when you walk in the door and under the electric sign that says “Hot Kale”, a gift from the staff. You feel it when you hand your full plate over to be weighed to one of the servers and they know who you are. You feel it when you see Eliott’s broad smile beaming at some joke from another staff member slicing up carrots on the broad wooden cutting board in the kitchen. You feel it when you see a customer greeting Rifkin with a huge bear hug in the center of the dining room; and you see it in the total transparency of the restaurant, itself, where all the cooking is done in plain sight.
unnamed-6 Check out Stone Soup’s website for daily menus and hours at stonesoupvt.com, or just stop by to see what it’s all about for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
À Bientôt, bronwyn-signature11      " ["post_title"]=> string(35) "Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, Part II" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(81) "Read the second part to the post on Avery Rifkin & Tim Elliott's Stone Soup here." 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The color, the smell, the beauty of lettuce freshly picked from the garden makes him smile. He talks about the tender leaves easily crushed if not handled gently and the importance of washing them carefully and thoroughly before storing in a container that doesn’t pack them down. His enthusiastic description also reminds me that in certain ways, we in America, have not only lost the true enjoyment of eating real food, but the true enjoyment of preparing real food, as well. “You can tell what’s happy and what’s not. You have to treat it like a living thing”, Tim explained. Natalie and I sat at a table in the window of Muddy Waters, the iconic café on Main St., listening to Tim, a partner at the equally iconic restaurant, Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, whose life in food might well be the perfect template for the exciting culinary world that is Burlington, Vermont, in 2016. unnamed Cafeteria-style Tim and his partner, Avery Rifkin, have run their restaurant on College Street just off the city’s pedestrian mall, a vital heart of urban energy, since 1997. Their intuitive leap into combining forces to run a restaurant together brought something to the food scene here that hadn’t been done before. Not only is the restaurant a cafeteria-style eatery, it is also small enough and intimate enough to encourage its patrons to consider it a second home. Stone Soup feeds the residents of the neighborhood, as well as downtown business people, tourists, and students from nearby colleges and the University of Vermont. Tim agrees that most people don’t have time to really cook. Stone Soup, with its fairly priced (after choosing from a selection of main dishes and sides, diners have their plates weighed and priced accordingly) menu selections, is the best alternative to a home-cooked meal that I know. A family of four can dine for under $50 at Stone Soup.  In my mind that beats bringing home a luke-warm pizza or heating-up even the best Thai noodle soup from a local Asian take-out. unnamed-6 Homesteaders Tim was raised by “homesteaders”, his description of his parents, who were living a life very much influenced by the Nearings, Helen and Scott, the fabled back-to-the land” promoters whose lifestyle influenced so many to live “off the grid” back in the 1970s. Tim’s family was living in a home they built themselves with enough of a garden to grow most of their own food in Hancock, New Hampshire, long before it became a trend.  As vegetarians, they raised their own produce to put meals on the table.  Bill and Eileen Elliott are still living off the land in the house that Tim grew up in.  He readily admits he sees his parents’ marriage and partnership as the one he most aspires to even though his choice of lifestyle revolves around a restaurant, a business partner, a multitude of faithful customers and a loyal staff. After recognizing that college was not for him, Tim fell into the fast paced restaurant business—“if I’m not moving, I’m sleeping”. After the usual dishwashing jobs, he wound up running the deli department for Organum, a popular vegetarian restaurant and health food store in Burlington during the 90s. Not a surprise since he’d been raised a vegetarian and only converted to meat-eating when he couldn’t say “no” to a salmon dinner made by a friend and colleague. unnamed-3 In A Good Way When you walk into Stone Soup it feels a little like a place that’s been there a long time. From the hand-painted sign above the garage door façade, to the tin ceiling, to all the beautiful and locally-made wooden tables, the gorgeously heavy and ornately carved serving counter, the hand-forged wrought-iron tiered display trays offering desserts made onsite, there’s a sense that you’ve walked back in time…but, in a good way! unnamed-1 Perfect Imperfection There isn’t another restaurant in the world that you can compare it to, at least not one that I’ve eaten in. Nowhere else have I found the combination of refined esthetic and perfect “imperfection” that is found here. The eye has fun taking in a breakfront that sits between the front dining space and the back. It was made for the restaurant some 18-years ago, but it could have been found in one of those country auction houses selling good 19th century antiques.  It’s embellished with a stained-glass panel at the top and trailing ivy decorating the side shelves that hold silverware and glasses.  It commands attention and sets the tone for the calm and generous experience of sitting down at Stone Soup with a plate of real food. This breakfront is also the gateway for all the suppliers who bring their wares to the restaurant.  Early morning is the usual time for farmers to bring their produce, meat and eggs to Stone Soup, but it’s not surprising to see Dave Quickel from Stony Loam Farm walk in with tender lettuce just picked before lunch giving the staff an edge on every other eatery in town as far as freshness goes. The owners appreciate that it’ s a treat for their customers to see the food come into the kitchen wide open to the dining room. They have been buying locally since the first week in 1997, beating the competition in what is now the local and organic movement.  “It wasn’t a movement when we began.  It’s what we wanted to do,” says Rifkin.   unnamed-4 Follow the story of Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup in our next post, and find out why the menu is one of the best in the city of Burlington. And, learn why Avery Rifkin is the reason why Stone Soup isn’t a vegetarian restaurant." ["post_title"]=> string(26) "Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(65) "Read more about Burlington's iconic Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup." 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Thanksgiving this year was, for me, a wonderful time to think about gratitude. I was grateful because my daughter’s family in Paris was safe after the terrorist attacks in that beautiful city. I was grateful, too, that my Thanksgiving was spent with two remarkable 90+ year olds, my stepmother Judith Jones, and her cousin, Jane Gunther. Believe me when I say that they, in spite of their venerable age, still rule the roost, and though this often gives me pause, I’m grateful that they’re still celebrating with me. A blessing for sure!
So it seemed the right moment between two holidays that celebrate giving and help us understand how important being grateful is to our sense of self, to write about the importance of food security, a basic right of all people all over the world.
Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of the Upaya Institute in Sante Fe, New Mexico, writes that one of the gifts we can give each other this season is the gift of non-fear. When food security is guaranteed as it is for many, but not all of us, it helps us to banish fear of hunger. For a great part of the world, there is no end to the fear of hunger. If we solve this problem for the world, so many other problems that hurt and terrify us will end, as well.
Read what Natalie has experienced as a UVM senior in the Food Systems program and remember your local food shelf or food program when you give this year to your favorite organization.
À Bientôt and Happy Holidays!
bronwyn-signature1

***

Food Insecurity in Vermont With the abundance of farmers markets, co-ops, and farms in Vermont, it may be surprising to hear that hunger is still a large issue. Despite the thriving local food scene in the state, 13% of all households in Vermont are food insecure, and 1 in 5 children experience hunger at some point. Food Waste--A Coexisting Problem At the same time, food waste is just as large of an issue. In the United States, around 40% of all food is wasted. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state in their book, The Ethics of Eating, “[Waste] reflects nothing more than a casual disregard for what went into producing the food, from the suffering of the animals, to the labor of the workers, to the natural resources consumed and the pollution generated”. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state, this is not simply a waste of nutrients, but a waste of water, seeds, soil, time, energy, and (possible) degradation of our environment. [caption id="attachment_4003" align="aligncenter" width="520"]12107135_10153619226469326_63227699415022266_n Photo Courtesy of the Intervale Center[/caption] The Intervale's Gleaning & Food Rescue Program However, we are fortunate to have so many amazing organizations and programs working to combat these issues. The Intervale’s Gleaning and Food Rescue Program in Burlington is one of them. This summer and fall I helped distribute free food shares to low-income individuals as part of this program, which runs from mid July through October and collects leftover produce from farms at the Intervale, such as Digger’s Mirth. Sometimes this produce is leftover because the farmer simply has too much of it, other times, it is because it is not aesthetically up to consumers standards; however, it still tastes just as good! This produce is then divvied up into shares for individuals and organizations to pick up each week. [caption id="attachment_4004" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12088582_10153619219389326_8403675372498293644_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] Many Factors Lead to Food Insecurity It was not only so rewarding to directly give food to those in need, but it also gave me insight into the issue of food insecurity as a whole in Vermont. Before this program, I had always thought that rates of food insecurity were higher for women and children. However, after this program, I witnessed that age is also a huge factor in individual’s ability to obtain food. In addition to lack of mobility, many seniors also face increased health problems, which makes it difficult to stand long enough to prepare a meal. One older woman, who came each week, would always leave the butternut squash because she said it hurt her hands to peel it. There are many factors that limit an individual’s access to nutritious meals. [caption id="attachment_4005" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12107236_10153619219374326_1747472433099693458_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] "Just One Paycheck Away" With Vermont’s new Universal Recycling Law, which bans food scraps from going into the landfill, we will all have to be more aware of the food waste we produce. During this past semester, I also had the opportunity to work with the Agency of Natural Resources to figure out the financial impact of increased food donations at food rescue sites, which will have to increase their infrastructure due to this law. As part of this project I had the privilege to sit down and talk with Sally Metro from the Williston Food Shelf. The Williston Food Shelf provides groceries to families in need twice a month. Each family gets to choose their own food. Sally stated that we all need to be more aware of how we treat individuals in need. “We are all just one pay check away from this”, she explained. 12243032_1641906072693756_112836025984205107_n Gratitude During this holiday season, as I spend time with family and friends over meals, I will take time to really give thanks what is on my plate. I encourage everyone with extra food to share it with a friend, family, or local food shelf to show gratitude towards the abundance in your life. Wishing everyone a healthy and nutritious holiday season, Natalie Lovelace

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" ["post_title"]=> string(9) "Gratitude" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(66) "Read about the issue of food insecurity and food waste in Vermont." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(9) "gratitude" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-02-21 03:15:23" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-02-21 03:15:23" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4002" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#227 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4110) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-05-15 18:42:03" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-05-15 18:42:03" ["post_content"]=> string(10824) "unnamed-3 Just A Little Stir How do you interview iconic restaurant owner, Avery Rifkin? You don’t. You let him interview you, something he’s very good at, as many of his customers know. It’s part of the charm of Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, his singular restaurant.  Rifkin’s presence is one of host and interlocutor, while his partner, Tim Eliott remains quietly in the background.  Avery’s warmth and kindness toward his “guests” is one of the reasons the restaurant is so popular. And, even as I write this, I know I will be causing just a little stir in the otherwise amiability of the man. He is genuinely modest about his contributions to the restaurant’s eighteen years of success. The Right Formula Partnerships in any business don’t come easily. There’s always some decision that divides two people working together, as almost any marital partnership reminds us. Somehow, Eliott and Rifkin have found the right formula for their business partnership. It’s one that many would envy but it’s not easily defined. Perhaps, it’s because they came together with the same desire, a desire to build a restaurant that anyone could afford to dine in. And, I add to this, they wanted to make the restaurant a place where anyone would feel at home. They have achieved this in so many ways but it didn’t happen by chance, because, as we all know, “the devil is in the details,” and Rifkin is good at details. 318fb6db-bfae-43ab-837a-bd2273d20c85 Stop and Look Around The next time you walk into Stone Soup stop and look around. Though I know this is not easy because of the array of the delicious dishes to choose from set out on a handsome buffet, but next time, stop and look. I do because I’ve begun to realize things are always changing at Stone Soup.  Though everything looks as though it had been there for a lifetime, in fact in the twelve years I’ve been eating at Stone Soup, the entire back half of the kitchen area has been redesigned –Tim’s idea because his career started as a dishwasher and he wanted a perfect dishwashing area for his staff. It is, in fact, a marvel of dishwashing engineering, one that I envy. The gleaming stainless steel counters that surround the large sinks and commercial dishwashing machine (why doesn’t GE make a home dishwasher that washes and dries in 15 minutes?) are a model for anyone who loves to roll up their sleeves and dive into the suds. Hamburger Fridays Recently, diamond-faceted globes have been hung above the handsome, ornate main counter of the restaurant replacing the originals and giving off just the right amount of prisimed light for the display of challah and whole-grain breads, cakes and cookies that are as delectable as they look. Installed last year, a new counter at the back of the room is now the best place to be on the restaurant’s “hamburger Fridays” when Avery proves that he is what his partner says he is, “ the meat-whisperer”, making the best hamburgers in town. And though he is glad that many loyal customers make Fridays a habit, there are just as many who swear by his brisket, the sweet and tangy chicken wings and the absolutely authentic chicken livers with crisp skin cracklings and fried onions served as a sandwich, all part of each week’s menu. post Gracefully Into The Pond There are so many small details that make the interior of the restaurant unique. As a regular customer, I’ve admired but never asked why there is a print of a pig diving gracefully into a pond hanging on a wall overlooking the dining room.  It’s part of the mystery of Stone Soup, and I doubt that I’ll ever ask that question because I want that little bit of mystery to always be there. Every print and photograph on the walls is chosen by Rifkin.  They reinforce the feeling of longevity and community that is the essence of Stone Soup.  As a transplanted New Yorker, I recognize what these photos represent. Some are from an earlier era of restaurant history, some of restaurant neighbors in Burlington. Some identify the contribution of local farmers through scenes of working landscapes and farming equipment.  All are Stone Soup’s version of the signed “celebrity” and “faithful customer” photos that hang on the walls of dairy restaurants and delicatessens all around the five boroughs. In Stone Soups case, the photos are a tribute to restaurant life and the local farming community, both so important to the success of the restaurant.  It’s a tradition that Rifkin knows well growing up in Rochester, New York with his father, a professor at NYU, an excuse for frequent trips to Manhattan. His love for New York extends to the Adirondacks. The high-backed chairs recently installed at the counter overlooking the kitchen, a tribute to the other side of the lake. unnamed-5 What About Local? What about local? This is a question I always ask in a restaurant in Vermont because it’s an important part of our agricultural economy to buy locally. It’s a way of supporting community and acting on what you believe in if you believe in small farms as most of us do in the Green Mountain State. But I didn’t have to ask Rifkin this question because it’s evident how local the food is at Stone Soup. Without a separate delivery entrance, all deliveries come through the front door and right past the customers sitting at tables in the main area of the dining room, headed to the storage rooms below. On the day that I interviewed Rifkin, a farmer with several bags of produce appeared.  With a welcome, Rifkin was on his feet immediately and called out to the busy staff, “All hands on deck!” Soon, the produce bags were out of sight and Rifkin was offering the farmer some freshly baked cookies for the road home. When I asked how long had the restaurant been buying locally, the answer was, “From the beginning. It never occurred to us to do it any other way.” Rifkin and Elliot were ahead of the “local” curve because local fit a tenet of their business plan: to serve the community. blog post Not A Vegetarian Restaurant What Stone Soup is to many of its customers is a vegetarian restaurant, though it isn’t really one.  That’s because Eliott built his reputation at a much admired vegetarian delicatessen and market on Main Street, Organum. At the same time, Avery was working for Olive Branch, a bakery and take-out in the South End. When City Market, a restaurant on College Street in downtown Burlington, closed, both men, separately, took a look at the space. Soon, they were meeting daily for lunch at Nectar’s, the music venue and bar on Main Street, discussing their ideas about the possibility of partnership.  It’s a classic restaurant start-up saga: Two men with a vision team up and months later the city is graced with a new restaurant, one that today –eighteen years later- is still a success. Love In Plain Sight I credit commitment as a factor that has made Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup such a happy ending-story, but I also credit something far subtler, I credit love. It is something you feel when you walk in the door and under the electric sign that says “Hot Kale”, a gift from the staff. You feel it when you hand your full plate over to be weighed to one of the servers and they know who you are. You feel it when you see Eliott’s broad smile beaming at some joke from another staff member slicing up carrots on the broad wooden cutting board in the kitchen. You feel it when you see a customer greeting Rifkin with a huge bear hug in the center of the dining room; and you see it in the total transparency of the restaurant, itself, where all the cooking is done in plain sight.
unnamed-6 Check out Stone Soup’s website for daily menus and hours at stonesoupvt.com, or just stop by to see what it’s all about for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
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You will be very impressed with the farmer's and their produce albeit, they have traveled to get here. But, they are here....every Saturday and Sunday. Hope you are well in SF. Margo" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(118) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_11_5) AppleWebKit/601.6.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.1.1 Safari/601.6.17" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [1]=> &object(stdClass)#74 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208510" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4142" ["comment_author"]=> string(19) "Margit Van Schaickj" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(27) "margit.vanschaick@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(13) "73.68.168.222" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-08-07 21:00:42" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-08-07 21:00:42" ["comment_content"]=> string(164) "Bronwyn, how are you coming along on the book for which you and Natalie were researching? I'm very interested in the topic and looking forward to reading your book." ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(127) "Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; CPU OS 5_1_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9B206 Safari/7534.48.3" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [2]=> &object(stdClass)#77 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208511" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4142" ["comment_author"]=> string(13) "Bronwyn Dunne" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(20) "bronwyndunne@mac.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(34) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(13) "24.91.160.255" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-08-12 17:50:44" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-08-12 17:50:44" ["comment_content"]=> string(439) "Just heard from Natalie that she's working for a food market called Good Eggs that supplies SF customers with overnight delivery of fresh and prepared food direct from farmers in the area. Sounds like she's found a perfect fit for her talents and interest...I'm hoping for a blog post or two from Natalie describing her experience. Who knows, maybe there could be a Good Eggs in every urban center one day providing fresh food to everyone!" 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Are you a food systems/environmental writer, editor or are you interested in the farm world here in Vermont specifically. Would love to hear more!" 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4 Responses to “Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, Part II”

  1. Margo Davis says:

    This lovely piece about Zabby and Elf alone makes me want to move to Burlington!! Wonderful writing…about a wonderful restaurant…that I have only had the great pleasure of eating in one time! If you live near Burlington, you are blessed.

  2. Polly Connell says:

    May have missed this reference earlier, but need to know why Zabby and Elf’s? Is this a reference to Avery Rifkin and Tim Eliot? My husband and I go often because we love the home cooked food, the reasonable prices and the casual ambiance. It’s a great dinner spot before catching an early movie at The Roxy or show at the Flynn or Flynn Space.

  3. Yes, Polly, the reference is to the owners. As I understand it, they were persuaded by friends not to call the restuarant Zabby and Elf’s, their nicknames, so compromised by calling it Stone Soup.

  4. Linda says:

    Every time we come to Burlington we have to go to Stone Soup. I really wish that they would write a cookbook!

Leave a Reply


 

Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup

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True Enjoyment
To listen to Tim Elliott describe the proper way to prepare lettuce for a salad is to listen to a man who loves vegetables. The color, the smell, the beauty of lettuce freshly picked from the garden makes him smile. He talks about the tender leaves easily crushed if not handled gently and the importance of washing them carefully and thoroughly before storing in a container that doesn’t pack them down. His enthusiastic description also reminds me that in certain ways, we in America, have not only lost the true enjoyment of eating real food, but the true enjoyment of preparing real food, as well.

“You can tell what’s happy and what’s not. You have to treat it like a living thing”, Tim explained. Natalie and I sat at a table in the window of Muddy Waters, the iconic café on Main St., listening to Tim, a partner at the equally iconic restaurant, Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, whose life in food might well be the perfect template for the exciting culinary world that is Burlington, Vermont, in 2016.

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Cafeteria-style
Tim and his partner, Avery Rifkin, have run their restaurant on College Street just off the city’s pedestrian mall, a vital heart of urban energy, since 1997. Their intuitive leap into combining forces to run a restaurant together brought something to the food scene here that hadn’t been done before. Not only is the restaurant a cafeteria-style eatery, it is also small enough and intimate enough to encourage its patrons to consider it a second home. Stone Soup feeds the residents of the neighborhood, as well as downtown business people, tourists, and students from nearby colleges and the University of Vermont.

Tim agrees that most people don’t have time to really cook. Stone Soup, with its fairly priced (after choosing from a selection of main dishes and sides, diners have their plates weighed and priced accordingly) menu selections, is the best alternative to a home-cooked meal that I know. A family of four can dine for under $50 at Stone Soup.  In my mind that beats bringing home a luke-warm pizza or heating-up even the best Thai noodle soup from a local Asian take-out.

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Homesteaders
Tim was raised by “homesteaders”, his description of his parents, who were living a life very much influenced by the Nearings, Helen and Scott, the fabled back-to-the land” promoters whose lifestyle influenced so many to live “off the grid” back in the 1970s. Tim’s family was living in a home they built themselves with enough of a garden to grow most of their own food in Hancock, New Hampshire, long before it became a trend.  As vegetarians, they raised their own produce to put meals on the table.  Bill and Eileen Elliott are still living off the land in the house that Tim grew up in.  He readily admits he sees his parents’ marriage and partnership as the one he most aspires to even though his choice of lifestyle revolves around a restaurant, a business partner, a multitude of faithful customers and a loyal staff.

After recognizing that college was not for him, Tim fell into the fast paced restaurant business—“if I’m not moving, I’m sleeping”. After the usual dishwashing jobs, he wound up running the deli department for Organum, a popular vegetarian restaurant and health food store in Burlington during the 90s. Not a surprise since he’d been raised a vegetarian and only converted to meat-eating when he couldn’t say “no” to a salmon dinner made by a friend and colleague.

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In A Good Way
When you walk into Stone Soup it feels a little like a place that’s been there a long time. From the hand-painted sign above the garage door façade, to the tin ceiling, to all the beautiful and locally-made wooden tables, the gorgeously heavy and ornately carved serving counter, the hand-forged wrought-iron tiered display trays offering desserts made onsite, there’s a sense that you’ve walked back in time…but, in a good way!

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Perfect Imperfection
There isn’t another restaurant in the world that you can compare it to, at least not one that I’ve eaten in. Nowhere else have I found the combination of refined esthetic and perfect “imperfection” that is found here. The eye has fun taking in a breakfront that sits between the front dining space and the back. It was made for the restaurant some 18-years ago, but it could have been found in one of those country auction houses selling good 19th century antiques.  It’s embellished with a stained-glass panel at the top and trailing ivy decorating the side shelves that hold silverware and glasses.  It commands attention and sets the tone for the calm and generous experience of sitting down at Stone Soup with a plate of real food.

This breakfront is also the gateway for all the suppliers who bring their wares to the restaurant.  Early morning is the usual time for farmers to bring their produce, meat and eggs to Stone Soup, but it’s not surprising to see Dave Quickel from Stony Loam Farm walk in with tender lettuce just picked before lunch giving the staff an edge on every other eatery in town as far as freshness goes.

The owners appreciate that it’ s a treat for their customers to see the food come into the kitchen wide open to the dining room. They have been buying locally since the first week in 1997, beating the competition in what is now the local and organic movement.  “It wasn’t a movement when we began.  It’s what we wanted to do,” says Rifkin.  

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Follow the story of Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup in our next post, and find out why the menu is one of the best in the city of Burlington. And, learn why Avery Rifkin is the reason why Stone Soup isn’t a vegetarian restaurant.

Posted: 3-20-2016

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Corrie Austin is new to Vermont and new to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains. I always say that making good food is one of the most creative things you can do, akin to practicing the fine arts or designing beautiful living spaces, so it’s no surprise Corrie has found herself writing about the creative food leadership in her new home and her own insights on the subject of healthy and inspiring food.  

Welcome, Corrie…I can’t wait to see, through your eyes, the wonderful world of culinary Vermont!

 

Hello VERMONT!

In order to share my experiences and musings on Vermont's food vibe, I feel the need to introduce my relationship with food. Overall, I have the best intentions for a "healthy" diet; "healthy," a word whose meaning has, for me, constantly evolved. In the end, I live by the following food philosophies:

  1. Prepare your own food
  2. Enjoy eating! I feel sad when I see people who are scared to enjoy eating.  There is a TON of nutritional information available, much of it contradicting; this makes eating well intimidating. But…FOOD IS DELICIOUS AND SHOULD BE ENJOYED!
  3. Eat local, whole foods
Admittedly…none of this is groundbreaking. However, I didn't always think this way.

 

In high school, my parents gave me school lunch money, BUT if I made my own lunch, I could keep the money.  This paved the way for preparing my own food, even if I was motivated by money, not health.  

Also during high school, I battled minor OCD tendencies that manifested in a low-grade eating disorder. I was scared of food, and I certainly didn't know how to enjoy it. I was diagnosed before things got out of hand, but this began a phase in my life where I tried to eat foods with as little fat and as few calories as possible. That’s being "healthy," right? Using this philosophy, mustard intrigued me…only 5 calories per serving? If only I could live off mustard!  I'm still a HUGE mustard fan, but as a condiment! Not a food group...I do eat it by the spoon-full sometimes…shhh. 

[caption id="attachment_4186" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont[/caption] I lived in fear of eating for a while, and what I DID eat was often wrong.  The meals I "prepared" were cans of soup and horrible frozen vegetable/fake cheese concoctions that fell into my "low fat/calorie" requirement - makes you wonder just WHAT exactly they are made of...because we all know cheese is NOT low in fat or calories...

Without getting into details, I discovered the joy of farmer's markets, food co-ops, and whole foods. I was influenced by friends, boyfriends, books, architecture school, and a course I took on the Natural Food Industry. I stopped feeling scared of eating as I became freed by my knowledge and understanding of eating well.

[caption id="attachment_4164" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT[/caption]

Wrap this all up into a tidy little bundle, and you have the food-enjoying, home-food prepping, whole food eating, human being that is ME! I love trying new recipes and restaurants, but I also enjoy the simplicity of roasting delicious vegetables with some olive oil and salt, it can be that easy!

As a recent transplant from Portland, Oregon, I can tell that I have moved from one foodie city to another.  Vermonters do food right; local isn't a trend, it's a lifestyle! I look forward to sharing my food enthusiasm with you while I explore Vermont's food scene!

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Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 4.40.16 PM
I miss my wonderful assistant, Natalie Lovelace. She spent her last year and a half as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont running around the northern stretches of Vermont with me talking to people about food.
What a delight it was to have her as my blog manager. Natalie often, not only wrote, but photographed and posted stories for ITKWB. And she did a great job! But, the best part for us was meeting and interviewing the food producers –farmers, chefs, bakers, restauranteurs and food entrepreneurs that make Vermont a leader in food innovation. Natalie brought her intelligence, energy and curiosity to our quest for interesting tales to tell our readers. And we had so much fun!
Graduating in May with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Food Systems, but home now in California, I know she’s already lighting up her hometown of San Francisco!
When you get tired of all that sun, Natalie,  please  think about a return to Vermont. We miss you already!
À Bientôt, bronwyn-signature11
 

*** IMG_6992_2

Bronwyn and I would often try to pin down what makes Vermont such a magical place, especially in terms of its thriving local food system. Since being back home in the Bay Area for the past couple months, it has become clearer to me that the locality of the food makes Burlington unlike any other place I know. In Burlington, I was not only walking distance from shops, restaurants, and the university itself, but also from the farms that provided much of its food. Here, local food is the norm. It is common for chefs to be cooking with produce that was harvested hours before; for people to personally know someone who has started a food-related business, and for people to know the story behind most of the products in their kitchen.

Now that I am back in California, I see that this is what makes Vermont so unique. Although there is a push for local food in the Bay Area, the reality is that the farms are far from the city. Farmers often have to commute hours to get their produce to market. This distance makes it more difficult to create relationships with those individuals that work to harvest the food on our plate, which in my opinion is the core to a local food system. As Bronwyn and I experienced through our interviews with different food entrepreneurs in Vermont, it is the stories behind the food that make it meaningful. For me, the closer I am to these stories, the more I appreciate the food on my plate.

Although it will be more difficult to find these stories, I know that it’s important for me to search these out. In fact, just this morning, I met a man named Max that started a coffee roasting company in my town that grows his own beans in Peru. As Max passionately described his methods of growing and harvesting, I was reminded of many of the food producers I had met in Vermont. Through working with Bronwyn, I have realized that although food nourishes the body, the connections we make with others nourishes the soul. I will always be thankful for Bronwyn and the passionate food artisans of Vermont for helping me to appreciate the true meaning of local.

À Bientôt, Natalie

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 1.21.44 AM

***

" ["post_title"]=> string(38) "A Farewell To The Green Mountain State" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(38) "a-farewell-to-the-green-mountain-state" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-07-17 08:25:05" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-07-17 08:25:05" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4142" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#227 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4110) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-05-15 18:42:03" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-05-15 18:42:03" ["post_content"]=> string(10824) "unnamed-3 Just A Little Stir How do you interview iconic restaurant owner, Avery Rifkin? You don’t. You let him interview you, something he’s very good at, as many of his customers know. It’s part of the charm of Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, his singular restaurant.  Rifkin’s presence is one of host and interlocutor, while his partner, Tim Eliott remains quietly in the background.  Avery’s warmth and kindness toward his “guests” is one of the reasons the restaurant is so popular. And, even as I write this, I know I will be causing just a little stir in the otherwise amiability of the man. He is genuinely modest about his contributions to the restaurant’s eighteen years of success. The Right Formula Partnerships in any business don’t come easily. There’s always some decision that divides two people working together, as almost any marital partnership reminds us. Somehow, Eliott and Rifkin have found the right formula for their business partnership. It’s one that many would envy but it’s not easily defined. Perhaps, it’s because they came together with the same desire, a desire to build a restaurant that anyone could afford to dine in. And, I add to this, they wanted to make the restaurant a place where anyone would feel at home. They have achieved this in so many ways but it didn’t happen by chance, because, as we all know, “the devil is in the details,” and Rifkin is good at details. 318fb6db-bfae-43ab-837a-bd2273d20c85 Stop and Look Around The next time you walk into Stone Soup stop and look around. Though I know this is not easy because of the array of the delicious dishes to choose from set out on a handsome buffet, but next time, stop and look. I do because I’ve begun to realize things are always changing at Stone Soup.  Though everything looks as though it had been there for a lifetime, in fact in the twelve years I’ve been eating at Stone Soup, the entire back half of the kitchen area has been redesigned –Tim’s idea because his career started as a dishwasher and he wanted a perfect dishwashing area for his staff. It is, in fact, a marvel of dishwashing engineering, one that I envy. The gleaming stainless steel counters that surround the large sinks and commercial dishwashing machine (why doesn’t GE make a home dishwasher that washes and dries in 15 minutes?) are a model for anyone who loves to roll up their sleeves and dive into the suds. Hamburger Fridays Recently, diamond-faceted globes have been hung above the handsome, ornate main counter of the restaurant replacing the originals and giving off just the right amount of prisimed light for the display of challah and whole-grain breads, cakes and cookies that are as delectable as they look. Installed last year, a new counter at the back of the room is now the best place to be on the restaurant’s “hamburger Fridays” when Avery proves that he is what his partner says he is, “ the meat-whisperer”, making the best hamburgers in town. And though he is glad that many loyal customers make Fridays a habit, there are just as many who swear by his brisket, the sweet and tangy chicken wings and the absolutely authentic chicken livers with crisp skin cracklings and fried onions served as a sandwich, all part of each week’s menu. post Gracefully Into The Pond There are so many small details that make the interior of the restaurant unique. As a regular customer, I’ve admired but never asked why there is a print of a pig diving gracefully into a pond hanging on a wall overlooking the dining room.  It’s part of the mystery of Stone Soup, and I doubt that I’ll ever ask that question because I want that little bit of mystery to always be there. Every print and photograph on the walls is chosen by Rifkin.  They reinforce the feeling of longevity and community that is the essence of Stone Soup.  As a transplanted New Yorker, I recognize what these photos represent. Some are from an earlier era of restaurant history, some of restaurant neighbors in Burlington. Some identify the contribution of local farmers through scenes of working landscapes and farming equipment.  All are Stone Soup’s version of the signed “celebrity” and “faithful customer” photos that hang on the walls of dairy restaurants and delicatessens all around the five boroughs. In Stone Soups case, the photos are a tribute to restaurant life and the local farming community, both so important to the success of the restaurant.  It’s a tradition that Rifkin knows well growing up in Rochester, New York with his father, a professor at NYU, an excuse for frequent trips to Manhattan. His love for New York extends to the Adirondacks. The high-backed chairs recently installed at the counter overlooking the kitchen, a tribute to the other side of the lake. unnamed-5 What About Local? What about local? This is a question I always ask in a restaurant in Vermont because it’s an important part of our agricultural economy to buy locally. It’s a way of supporting community and acting on what you believe in if you believe in small farms as most of us do in the Green Mountain State. But I didn’t have to ask Rifkin this question because it’s evident how local the food is at Stone Soup. Without a separate delivery entrance, all deliveries come through the front door and right past the customers sitting at tables in the main area of the dining room, headed to the storage rooms below. On the day that I interviewed Rifkin, a farmer with several bags of produce appeared.  With a welcome, Rifkin was on his feet immediately and called out to the busy staff, “All hands on deck!” Soon, the produce bags were out of sight and Rifkin was offering the farmer some freshly baked cookies for the road home. When I asked how long had the restaurant been buying locally, the answer was, “From the beginning. It never occurred to us to do it any other way.” Rifkin and Elliot were ahead of the “local” curve because local fit a tenet of their business plan: to serve the community. blog post Not A Vegetarian Restaurant What Stone Soup is to many of its customers is a vegetarian restaurant, though it isn’t really one.  That’s because Eliott built his reputation at a much admired vegetarian delicatessen and market on Main Street, Organum. At the same time, Avery was working for Olive Branch, a bakery and take-out in the South End. When City Market, a restaurant on College Street in downtown Burlington, closed, both men, separately, took a look at the space. Soon, they were meeting daily for lunch at Nectar’s, the music venue and bar on Main Street, discussing their ideas about the possibility of partnership.  It’s a classic restaurant start-up saga: Two men with a vision team up and months later the city is graced with a new restaurant, one that today –eighteen years later- is still a success. Love In Plain Sight I credit commitment as a factor that has made Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup such a happy ending-story, but I also credit something far subtler, I credit love. It is something you feel when you walk in the door and under the electric sign that says “Hot Kale”, a gift from the staff. You feel it when you hand your full plate over to be weighed to one of the servers and they know who you are. You feel it when you see Eliott’s broad smile beaming at some joke from another staff member slicing up carrots on the broad wooden cutting board in the kitchen. You feel it when you see a customer greeting Rifkin with a huge bear hug in the center of the dining room; and you see it in the total transparency of the restaurant, itself, where all the cooking is done in plain sight.
unnamed-6 Check out Stone Soup’s website for daily menus and hours at stonesoupvt.com, or just stop by to see what it’s all about for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
À Bientôt, bronwyn-signature11      " ["post_title"]=> string(35) "Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, Part II" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(81) "Read the second part to the post on Avery Rifkin & Tim Elliott's Stone Soup here." 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The color, the smell, the beauty of lettuce freshly picked from the garden makes him smile. He talks about the tender leaves easily crushed if not handled gently and the importance of washing them carefully and thoroughly before storing in a container that doesn’t pack them down. His enthusiastic description also reminds me that in certain ways, we in America, have not only lost the true enjoyment of eating real food, but the true enjoyment of preparing real food, as well. “You can tell what’s happy and what’s not. You have to treat it like a living thing”, Tim explained. Natalie and I sat at a table in the window of Muddy Waters, the iconic café on Main St., listening to Tim, a partner at the equally iconic restaurant, Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, whose life in food might well be the perfect template for the exciting culinary world that is Burlington, Vermont, in 2016. unnamed Cafeteria-style Tim and his partner, Avery Rifkin, have run their restaurant on College Street just off the city’s pedestrian mall, a vital heart of urban energy, since 1997. Their intuitive leap into combining forces to run a restaurant together brought something to the food scene here that hadn’t been done before. Not only is the restaurant a cafeteria-style eatery, it is also small enough and intimate enough to encourage its patrons to consider it a second home. Stone Soup feeds the residents of the neighborhood, as well as downtown business people, tourists, and students from nearby colleges and the University of Vermont. Tim agrees that most people don’t have time to really cook. Stone Soup, with its fairly priced (after choosing from a selection of main dishes and sides, diners have their plates weighed and priced accordingly) menu selections, is the best alternative to a home-cooked meal that I know. A family of four can dine for under $50 at Stone Soup.  In my mind that beats bringing home a luke-warm pizza or heating-up even the best Thai noodle soup from a local Asian take-out. unnamed-6 Homesteaders Tim was raised by “homesteaders”, his description of his parents, who were living a life very much influenced by the Nearings, Helen and Scott, the fabled back-to-the land” promoters whose lifestyle influenced so many to live “off the grid” back in the 1970s. Tim’s family was living in a home they built themselves with enough of a garden to grow most of their own food in Hancock, New Hampshire, long before it became a trend.  As vegetarians, they raised their own produce to put meals on the table.  Bill and Eileen Elliott are still living off the land in the house that Tim grew up in.  He readily admits he sees his parents’ marriage and partnership as the one he most aspires to even though his choice of lifestyle revolves around a restaurant, a business partner, a multitude of faithful customers and a loyal staff. After recognizing that college was not for him, Tim fell into the fast paced restaurant business—“if I’m not moving, I’m sleeping”. After the usual dishwashing jobs, he wound up running the deli department for Organum, a popular vegetarian restaurant and health food store in Burlington during the 90s. Not a surprise since he’d been raised a vegetarian and only converted to meat-eating when he couldn’t say “no” to a salmon dinner made by a friend and colleague. unnamed-3 In A Good Way When you walk into Stone Soup it feels a little like a place that’s been there a long time. From the hand-painted sign above the garage door façade, to the tin ceiling, to all the beautiful and locally-made wooden tables, the gorgeously heavy and ornately carved serving counter, the hand-forged wrought-iron tiered display trays offering desserts made onsite, there’s a sense that you’ve walked back in time…but, in a good way! unnamed-1 Perfect Imperfection There isn’t another restaurant in the world that you can compare it to, at least not one that I’ve eaten in. Nowhere else have I found the combination of refined esthetic and perfect “imperfection” that is found here. The eye has fun taking in a breakfront that sits between the front dining space and the back. It was made for the restaurant some 18-years ago, but it could have been found in one of those country auction houses selling good 19th century antiques.  It’s embellished with a stained-glass panel at the top and trailing ivy decorating the side shelves that hold silverware and glasses.  It commands attention and sets the tone for the calm and generous experience of sitting down at Stone Soup with a plate of real food. This breakfront is also the gateway for all the suppliers who bring their wares to the restaurant.  Early morning is the usual time for farmers to bring their produce, meat and eggs to Stone Soup, but it’s not surprising to see Dave Quickel from Stony Loam Farm walk in with tender lettuce just picked before lunch giving the staff an edge on every other eatery in town as far as freshness goes. The owners appreciate that it’ s a treat for their customers to see the food come into the kitchen wide open to the dining room. They have been buying locally since the first week in 1997, beating the competition in what is now the local and organic movement.  “It wasn’t a movement when we began.  It’s what we wanted to do,” says Rifkin.   unnamed-4 Follow the story of Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup in our next post, and find out why the menu is one of the best in the city of Burlington. And, learn why Avery Rifkin is the reason why Stone Soup isn’t a vegetarian restaurant." ["post_title"]=> string(26) "Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(65) "Read more about Burlington's iconic Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(21) "zabby-elfs-stone-soup" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-03-20 02:59:05" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-03-20 02:59:05" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4079" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#134 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4002) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-12-20 01:00:47" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-12-20 01:00:47" ["post_content"]=> string(7951) "[caption id="attachment_4009" align="aligncenter" width="530"]Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 10.07.10 PM Photo courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption]
Thanksgiving this year was, for me, a wonderful time to think about gratitude. I was grateful because my daughter’s family in Paris was safe after the terrorist attacks in that beautiful city. I was grateful, too, that my Thanksgiving was spent with two remarkable 90+ year olds, my stepmother Judith Jones, and her cousin, Jane Gunther. Believe me when I say that they, in spite of their venerable age, still rule the roost, and though this often gives me pause, I’m grateful that they’re still celebrating with me. A blessing for sure!
So it seemed the right moment between two holidays that celebrate giving and help us understand how important being grateful is to our sense of self, to write about the importance of food security, a basic right of all people all over the world.
Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of the Upaya Institute in Sante Fe, New Mexico, writes that one of the gifts we can give each other this season is the gift of non-fear. When food security is guaranteed as it is for many, but not all of us, it helps us to banish fear of hunger. For a great part of the world, there is no end to the fear of hunger. If we solve this problem for the world, so many other problems that hurt and terrify us will end, as well.
Read what Natalie has experienced as a UVM senior in the Food Systems program and remember your local food shelf or food program when you give this year to your favorite organization.
À Bientôt and Happy Holidays!
bronwyn-signature1

***

Food Insecurity in Vermont With the abundance of farmers markets, co-ops, and farms in Vermont, it may be surprising to hear that hunger is still a large issue. Despite the thriving local food scene in the state, 13% of all households in Vermont are food insecure, and 1 in 5 children experience hunger at some point. Food Waste--A Coexisting Problem At the same time, food waste is just as large of an issue. In the United States, around 40% of all food is wasted. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state in their book, The Ethics of Eating, “[Waste] reflects nothing more than a casual disregard for what went into producing the food, from the suffering of the animals, to the labor of the workers, to the natural resources consumed and the pollution generated”. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state, this is not simply a waste of nutrients, but a waste of water, seeds, soil, time, energy, and (possible) degradation of our environment. [caption id="attachment_4003" align="aligncenter" width="520"]12107135_10153619226469326_63227699415022266_n Photo Courtesy of the Intervale Center[/caption] The Intervale's Gleaning & Food Rescue Program However, we are fortunate to have so many amazing organizations and programs working to combat these issues. The Intervale’s Gleaning and Food Rescue Program in Burlington is one of them. This summer and fall I helped distribute free food shares to low-income individuals as part of this program, which runs from mid July through October and collects leftover produce from farms at the Intervale, such as Digger’s Mirth. Sometimes this produce is leftover because the farmer simply has too much of it, other times, it is because it is not aesthetically up to consumers standards; however, it still tastes just as good! This produce is then divvied up into shares for individuals and organizations to pick up each week. [caption id="attachment_4004" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12088582_10153619219389326_8403675372498293644_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] Many Factors Lead to Food Insecurity It was not only so rewarding to directly give food to those in need, but it also gave me insight into the issue of food insecurity as a whole in Vermont. Before this program, I had always thought that rates of food insecurity were higher for women and children. However, after this program, I witnessed that age is also a huge factor in individual’s ability to obtain food. In addition to lack of mobility, many seniors also face increased health problems, which makes it difficult to stand long enough to prepare a meal. One older woman, who came each week, would always leave the butternut squash because she said it hurt her hands to peel it. There are many factors that limit an individual’s access to nutritious meals. [caption id="attachment_4005" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12107236_10153619219374326_1747472433099693458_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] "Just One Paycheck Away" With Vermont’s new Universal Recycling Law, which bans food scraps from going into the landfill, we will all have to be more aware of the food waste we produce. During this past semester, I also had the opportunity to work with the Agency of Natural Resources to figure out the financial impact of increased food donations at food rescue sites, which will have to increase their infrastructure due to this law. As part of this project I had the privilege to sit down and talk with Sally Metro from the Williston Food Shelf. The Williston Food Shelf provides groceries to families in need twice a month. Each family gets to choose their own food. Sally stated that we all need to be more aware of how we treat individuals in need. “We are all just one pay check away from this”, she explained. 12243032_1641906072693756_112836025984205107_n Gratitude During this holiday season, as I spend time with family and friends over meals, I will take time to really give thanks what is on my plate. I encourage everyone with extra food to share it with a friend, family, or local food shelf to show gratitude towards the abundance in your life. Wishing everyone a healthy and nutritious holiday season, Natalie Lovelace

***

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The color, the smell, the beauty of lettuce freshly picked from the garden makes him smile. He talks about the tender leaves easily crushed if not handled gently and the importance of washing them carefully and thoroughly before storing in a container that doesn’t pack them down. His enthusiastic description also reminds me that in certain ways, we in America, have not only lost the true enjoyment of eating real food, but the true enjoyment of preparing real food, as well. “You can tell what’s happy and what’s not. You have to treat it like a living thing”, Tim explained. Natalie and I sat at a table in the window of Muddy Waters, the iconic café on Main St., listening to Tim, a partner at the equally iconic restaurant, Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, whose life in food might well be the perfect template for the exciting culinary world that is Burlington, Vermont, in 2016. unnamed Cafeteria-style Tim and his partner, Avery Rifkin, have run their restaurant on College Street just off the city’s pedestrian mall, a vital heart of urban energy, since 1997. Their intuitive leap into combining forces to run a restaurant together brought something to the food scene here that hadn’t been done before. Not only is the restaurant a cafeteria-style eatery, it is also small enough and intimate enough to encourage its patrons to consider it a second home. Stone Soup feeds the residents of the neighborhood, as well as downtown business people, tourists, and students from nearby colleges and the University of Vermont. Tim agrees that most people don’t have time to really cook. Stone Soup, with its fairly priced (after choosing from a selection of main dishes and sides, diners have their plates weighed and priced accordingly) menu selections, is the best alternative to a home-cooked meal that I know. A family of four can dine for under $50 at Stone Soup.  In my mind that beats bringing home a luke-warm pizza or heating-up even the best Thai noodle soup from a local Asian take-out. unnamed-6 Homesteaders Tim was raised by “homesteaders”, his description of his parents, who were living a life very much influenced by the Nearings, Helen and Scott, the fabled back-to-the land” promoters whose lifestyle influenced so many to live “off the grid” back in the 1970s. Tim’s family was living in a home they built themselves with enough of a garden to grow most of their own food in Hancock, New Hampshire, long before it became a trend.  As vegetarians, they raised their own produce to put meals on the table.  Bill and Eileen Elliott are still living off the land in the house that Tim grew up in.  He readily admits he sees his parents’ marriage and partnership as the one he most aspires to even though his choice of lifestyle revolves around a restaurant, a business partner, a multitude of faithful customers and a loyal staff. After recognizing that college was not for him, Tim fell into the fast paced restaurant business—“if I’m not moving, I’m sleeping”. After the usual dishwashing jobs, he wound up running the deli department for Organum, a popular vegetarian restaurant and health food store in Burlington during the 90s. Not a surprise since he’d been raised a vegetarian and only converted to meat-eating when he couldn’t say “no” to a salmon dinner made by a friend and colleague. unnamed-3 In A Good Way When you walk into Stone Soup it feels a little like a place that’s been there a long time. From the hand-painted sign above the garage door façade, to the tin ceiling, to all the beautiful and locally-made wooden tables, the gorgeously heavy and ornately carved serving counter, the hand-forged wrought-iron tiered display trays offering desserts made onsite, there’s a sense that you’ve walked back in time…but, in a good way! unnamed-1 Perfect Imperfection There isn’t another restaurant in the world that you can compare it to, at least not one that I’ve eaten in. Nowhere else have I found the combination of refined esthetic and perfect “imperfection” that is found here. The eye has fun taking in a breakfront that sits between the front dining space and the back. It was made for the restaurant some 18-years ago, but it could have been found in one of those country auction houses selling good 19th century antiques.  It’s embellished with a stained-glass panel at the top and trailing ivy decorating the side shelves that hold silverware and glasses.  It commands attention and sets the tone for the calm and generous experience of sitting down at Stone Soup with a plate of real food. This breakfront is also the gateway for all the suppliers who bring their wares to the restaurant.  Early morning is the usual time for farmers to bring their produce, meat and eggs to Stone Soup, but it’s not surprising to see Dave Quickel from Stony Loam Farm walk in with tender lettuce just picked before lunch giving the staff an edge on every other eatery in town as far as freshness goes. The owners appreciate that it’ s a treat for their customers to see the food come into the kitchen wide open to the dining room. They have been buying locally since the first week in 1997, beating the competition in what is now the local and organic movement.  “It wasn’t a movement when we began.  It’s what we wanted to do,” says Rifkin.   unnamed-4 Follow the story of Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup in our next post, and find out why the menu is one of the best in the city of Burlington. And, learn why Avery Rifkin is the reason why Stone Soup isn’t a vegetarian restaurant." ["post_title"]=> string(26) "Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(65) "Read more about Burlington's iconic Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(21) "zabby-elfs-stone-soup" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-03-20 02:59:05" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-03-20 02:59:05" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4079" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } ["queried_object"]=> object(stdClass)#233 (16) { ["term_id"]=> &int(1) ["name"]=> &string(4) "blog" ["slug"]=> &string(4) "blog" ["term_group"]=> int(0) ["term_taxonomy_id"]=> int(1) ["taxonomy"]=> string(8) "category" ["description"]=> &string(0) "" ["parent"]=> &int(0) ["count"]=> &int(111) ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["cat_ID"]=> &int(1) ["category_count"]=> &int(111) ["category_description"]=> &string(0) "" ["cat_name"]=> &string(4) "blog" ["category_nicename"]=> &string(4) "blog" ["category_parent"]=> &int(0) } ["queried_object_id"]=> int(1) ["comments"]=> array(4) { [0]=> &object(stdClass)#53 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208505" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4110" ["comment_author"]=> string(11) "Margo Davis" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(21) "margoadavis@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(30) "http://www.margodavisphoto.com" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(11) "73.15.0.172" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-05-16 21:16:34" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-05-16 21:16:34" ["comment_content"]=> string(243) "This lovely piece about Zabby and Elf alone makes me want to move to Burlington!! Wonderful writing...about a wonderful restaurant...that I have only had the great pleasure of eating in one time! If you live near Burlington, you are blessed." ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(116) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_11_4) AppleWebKit/601.5.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.1 Safari/601.5.17" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [1]=> &object(stdClass)#126 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208506" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4110" ["comment_author"]=> string(13) "Polly Connell" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(20) "pollywogvt@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "76.19.18.112" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-05-17 00:04:40" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-05-17 00:04:40" ["comment_content"]=> string(347) "May have missed this reference earlier, but need to know why Zabby and Elf's? Is this a reference to Avery Rifkin and Tim Eliot? My husband and I go often because we love the home cooked food, the reasonable prices and the casual ambiance. It's a great dinner spot before catching an early movie at The Roxy or show at the Flynn or Flynn Space." ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(116) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_5) AppleWebKit/601.5.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.1 Safari/601.5.17" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [2]=> &object(stdClass)#54 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208507" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4110" ["comment_author"]=> string(13) "Bronwyn Dunne" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(20) "bronwyndunne@mac.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(34) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(13) "24.91.160.255" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-05-19 23:35:04" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-05-19 23:35:04" ["comment_content"]=> string(197) "Yes, Polly, the reference is to the owners. As I understand it, they were persuaded by friends not to call the restuarant Zabby and Elf's, their nicknames, so compromised by calling it Stone Soup." ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(116) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_9_5) AppleWebKit/601.4.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.0.3 Safari/537.86.4" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [3]=> &object(stdClass)#31 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208516" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4110" ["comment_author"]=> string(5) "Linda" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(20) "Lindaparn6@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "107.19.189.0" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-12-30 13:53:43" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-12-30 13:53:43" ["comment_content"]=> string(109) "Every time we come to Burlington we have to go to Stone Soup. I really wish that they would write a cookbook!" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(128) "Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; CPU OS 10_1_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/602.2.14 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/10.0 Mobile/14B100 Safari/602.1" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } } ["comments_by_type"]=> array(4) { ["comment"]=> array(4) { [0]=> &object(stdClass)#53 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208505" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4110" ["comment_author"]=> string(11) "Margo Davis" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(21) "margoadavis@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(30) "http://www.margodavisphoto.com" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(11) "73.15.0.172" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-05-16 21:16:34" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-05-16 21:16:34" ["comment_content"]=> string(243) "This lovely piece about Zabby and Elf alone makes me want to move to Burlington!! Wonderful writing...about a wonderful restaurant...that I have only had the great pleasure of eating in one time! If you live near Burlington, you are blessed." ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(116) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_11_4) AppleWebKit/601.5.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.1 Safari/601.5.17" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [1]=> &object(stdClass)#126 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208506" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4110" ["comment_author"]=> string(13) "Polly Connell" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(20) "pollywogvt@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "76.19.18.112" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-05-17 00:04:40" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-05-17 00:04:40" ["comment_content"]=> string(347) "May have missed this reference earlier, but need to know why Zabby and Elf's? Is this a reference to Avery Rifkin and Tim Eliot? My husband and I go often because we love the home cooked food, the reasonable prices and the casual ambiance. It's a great dinner spot before catching an early movie at The Roxy or show at the Flynn or Flynn Space." ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(116) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_5) AppleWebKit/601.5.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.1 Safari/601.5.17" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [2]=> &object(stdClass)#54 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208507" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4110" ["comment_author"]=> string(13) "Bronwyn Dunne" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(20) "bronwyndunne@mac.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(34) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(13) "24.91.160.255" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-05-19 23:35:04" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-05-19 23:35:04" ["comment_content"]=> string(197) "Yes, Polly, the reference is to the owners. As I understand it, they were persuaded by friends not to call the restuarant Zabby and Elf's, their nicknames, so compromised by calling it Stone Soup." ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(116) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_9_5) AppleWebKit/601.4.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.0.3 Safari/537.86.4" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [3]=> &object(stdClass)#31 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208516" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4110" ["comment_author"]=> string(5) "Linda" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(20) "Lindaparn6@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "107.19.189.0" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-12-30 13:53:43" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-12-30 13:53:43" ["comment_content"]=> string(109) "Every time we come to Burlington we have to go to Stone Soup. I really wish that they would write a cookbook!" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(128) "Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; CPU OS 10_1_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/602.2.14 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/10.0 Mobile/14B100 Safari/602.1" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } } ["trackback"]=> array(0) { } ["pingback"]=> array(0) { } ["pings"]=> array(0) { } } }
SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG’S FEED

4 Responses to “Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup”

  1. Margo Davis says:

    Just want to say that during my last visit to Bronwyn, we had an over-the-top delicious meal at Stone Soup!!! I have traveled all over the world….Avery and Tim have created a special sanctum sanctorum of wonderful food.

    Margo

  2. Janet Biehl says:

    My favorite restaurant in Burlington–a true home away from home, where my friends and I have passed many a delightful dinner hour.

  3. Christine Junkins says:

    I ate at Stone Soup last summer while visiting Burlington.
    I loved the atmosphere and the amazing food choices!
    I had a delicious and nutritious lunch.

  4. Matthew Cronkite says:

    I love your description of the food, atmosphere and overall excellence of Stone Soup! I have yet to eat there, but it is now at the top of my list for my next visit to Burlington!

Leave a Reply


 

Gratitude

Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 10.07.10 PM

Photo courtesy of Intervale Center


Thanksgiving this year was, for me, a wonderful time to think about gratitude. I was grateful because my daughter’s family in Paris was safe after the terrorist attacks in that beautiful city. I was grateful, too, that my Thanksgiving was spent with two remarkable 90+ year olds, my stepmother Judith Jones, and her cousin, Jane Gunther. Believe me when I say that they, in spite of their venerable age, still rule the roost, and though this often gives me pause, I’m grateful that they’re still celebrating with me. A blessing for sure!
So it seemed the right moment between two holidays that celebrate giving and help us understand how important being grateful is to our sense of self, to write about the importance of food security, a basic right of all people all over the world.
Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of the Upaya Institute in Sante Fe, New Mexico, writes that one of the gifts we can give each other this season is the gift of non-fear. When food security is guaranteed as it is for many, but not all of us, it helps us to banish fear of hunger. For a great part of the world, there is no end to the fear of hunger. If we solve this problem for the world, so many other problems that hurt and terrify us will end, as well.
Read what Natalie has experienced as a UVM senior in the Food Systems program and remember your local food shelf or food program when you give this year to your favorite organization.
À Bientôt and Happy Holidays!
bronwyn-signature1

***

Food Insecurity in Vermont
With the abundance of farmers markets, co-ops, and farms in Vermont, it may be surprising to hear that hunger is still a large issue. Despite the thriving local food scene in the state, 13% of all households in Vermont are food insecure, and 1 in 5 children experience hunger at some point.

Food Waste–A Coexisting Problem
At the same time, food waste is just as large of an issue. In the United States, around 40% of all food is wasted. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state in their book, The Ethics of Eating, “[Waste] reflects nothing more than a casual disregard for what went into producing the food, from the suffering of the animals, to the labor of the workers, to the natural resources consumed and the pollution generated”. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state, this is not simply a waste of nutrients, but a waste of water, seeds, soil, time, energy, and (possible) degradation of our environment.

12107135_10153619226469326_63227699415022266_n

Photo Courtesy of the Intervale Center

The Intervale’s Gleaning & Food Rescue Program
However, we are fortunate to have so many amazing organizations and programs working to combat these issues. The Intervale’s Gleaning and Food Rescue Program in Burlington is one of them. This summer and fall I helped distribute free food shares to low-income individuals as part of this program, which runs from mid July through October and collects leftover produce from farms at the Intervale, such as Digger’s Mirth. Sometimes this produce is leftover because the farmer simply has too much of it, other times, it is because it is not aesthetically up to consumers standards; however, it still tastes just as good! This produce is then divvied up into shares for individuals and organizations to pick up each week.

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Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center

Many Factors Lead to Food Insecurity
It was not only so rewarding to directly give food to those in need, but it also gave me insight into the issue of food insecurity as a whole in Vermont. Before this program, I had always thought that rates of food insecurity were higher for women and children. However, after this program, I witnessed that age is also a huge factor in individual’s ability to obtain food. In addition to lack of mobility, many seniors also face increased health problems, which makes it difficult to stand long enough to prepare a meal. One older woman, who came each week, would always leave the butternut squash because she said it hurt her hands to peel it. There are many factors that limit an individual’s access to nutritious meals.

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Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center

“Just One Paycheck Away”
With Vermont’s new Universal Recycling Law, which bans food scraps from going into the landfill, we will all have to be more aware of the food waste we produce. During this past semester, I also had the opportunity to work with the Agency of Natural Resources to figure out the financial impact of increased food donations at food rescue sites, which will have to increase their infrastructure due to this law. As part of this project I had the privilege to sit down and talk with Sally Metro from the Williston Food Shelf. The Williston Food Shelf provides groceries to families in need twice a month. Each family gets to choose their own food. Sally stated that we all need to be more aware of how we treat individuals in need. “We are all just one pay check away from this”, she explained.

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Gratitude
During this holiday season, as I spend time with family and friends over meals, I will take time to really give thanks what is on my plate. I encourage everyone with extra food to share it with a friend, family, or local food shelf to show gratitude towards the abundance in your life.

Wishing everyone a healthy and nutritious holiday season,
Natalie Lovelace

***

Posted: 12-20-2015

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Corrie Austin is new to Vermont and new to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains. I always say that making good food is one of the most creative things you can do, akin to practicing the fine arts or designing beautiful living spaces, so it’s no surprise Corrie has found herself writing about the creative food leadership in her new home and her own insights on the subject of healthy and inspiring food.  

Welcome, Corrie…I can’t wait to see, through your eyes, the wonderful world of culinary Vermont!

 

Hello VERMONT!

In order to share my experiences and musings on Vermont's food vibe, I feel the need to introduce my relationship with food. Overall, I have the best intentions for a "healthy" diet; "healthy," a word whose meaning has, for me, constantly evolved. In the end, I live by the following food philosophies:

  1. Prepare your own food
  2. Enjoy eating! I feel sad when I see people who are scared to enjoy eating.  There is a TON of nutritional information available, much of it contradicting; this makes eating well intimidating. But…FOOD IS DELICIOUS AND SHOULD BE ENJOYED!
  3. Eat local, whole foods
Admittedly…none of this is groundbreaking. However, I didn't always think this way.

 

In high school, my parents gave me school lunch money, BUT if I made my own lunch, I could keep the money.  This paved the way for preparing my own food, even if I was motivated by money, not health.  

Also during high school, I battled minor OCD tendencies that manifested in a low-grade eating disorder. I was scared of food, and I certainly didn't know how to enjoy it. I was diagnosed before things got out of hand, but this began a phase in my life where I tried to eat foods with as little fat and as few calories as possible. That’s being "healthy," right? Using this philosophy, mustard intrigued me…only 5 calories per serving? If only I could live off mustard!  I'm still a HUGE mustard fan, but as a condiment! Not a food group...I do eat it by the spoon-full sometimes…shhh. 

[caption id="attachment_4186" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont Camping along the drive from Portland, Oregon to Vermont[/caption] I lived in fear of eating for a while, and what I DID eat was often wrong.  The meals I "prepared" were cans of soup and horrible frozen vegetable/fake cheese concoctions that fell into my "low fat/calorie" requirement - makes you wonder just WHAT exactly they are made of...because we all know cheese is NOT low in fat or calories...

Without getting into details, I discovered the joy of farmer's markets, food co-ops, and whole foods. I was influenced by friends, boyfriends, books, architecture school, and a course I took on the Natural Food Industry. I stopped feeling scared of eating as I became freed by my knowledge and understanding of eating well.

[caption id="attachment_4164" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT Recent photo of me with my husband, David, on our drive to move from Portland, OR to Hinesburg, VT[/caption]

Wrap this all up into a tidy little bundle, and you have the food-enjoying, home-food prepping, whole food eating, human being that is ME! I love trying new recipes and restaurants, but I also enjoy the simplicity of roasting delicious vegetables with some olive oil and salt, it can be that easy!

As a recent transplant from Portland, Oregon, I can tell that I have moved from one foodie city to another.  Vermonters do food right; local isn't a trend, it's a lifestyle! I look forward to sharing my food enthusiasm with you while I explore Vermont's food scene!

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Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 4.40.16 PM
I miss my wonderful assistant, Natalie Lovelace. She spent her last year and a half as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont running around the northern stretches of Vermont with me talking to people about food.
What a delight it was to have her as my blog manager. Natalie often, not only wrote, but photographed and posted stories for ITKWB. And she did a great job! But, the best part for us was meeting and interviewing the food producers –farmers, chefs, bakers, restauranteurs and food entrepreneurs that make Vermont a leader in food innovation. Natalie brought her intelligence, energy and curiosity to our quest for interesting tales to tell our readers. And we had so much fun!
Graduating in May with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Food Systems, but home now in California, I know she’s already lighting up her hometown of San Francisco!
When you get tired of all that sun, Natalie,  please  think about a return to Vermont. We miss you already!
À Bientôt, bronwyn-signature11
 

*** IMG_6992_2

Bronwyn and I would often try to pin down what makes Vermont such a magical place, especially in terms of its thriving local food system. Since being back home in the Bay Area for the past couple months, it has become clearer to me that the locality of the food makes Burlington unlike any other place I know. In Burlington, I was not only walking distance from shops, restaurants, and the university itself, but also from the farms that provided much of its food. Here, local food is the norm. It is common for chefs to be cooking with produce that was harvested hours before; for people to personally know someone who has started a food-related business, and for people to know the story behind most of the products in their kitchen.

Now that I am back in California, I see that this is what makes Vermont so unique. Although there is a push for local food in the Bay Area, the reality is that the farms are far from the city. Farmers often have to commute hours to get their produce to market. This distance makes it more difficult to create relationships with those individuals that work to harvest the food on our plate, which in my opinion is the core to a local food system. As Bronwyn and I experienced through our interviews with different food entrepreneurs in Vermont, it is the stories behind the food that make it meaningful. For me, the closer I am to these stories, the more I appreciate the food on my plate.

Although it will be more difficult to find these stories, I know that it’s important for me to search these out. In fact, just this morning, I met a man named Max that started a coffee roasting company in my town that grows his own beans in Peru. As Max passionately described his methods of growing and harvesting, I was reminded of many of the food producers I had met in Vermont. Through working with Bronwyn, I have realized that although food nourishes the body, the connections we make with others nourishes the soul. I will always be thankful for Bronwyn and the passionate food artisans of Vermont for helping me to appreciate the true meaning of local.

À Bientôt, Natalie

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 1.21.44 AM

***

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You don’t. You let him interview you, something he’s very good at, as many of his customers know. It’s part of the charm of Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, his singular restaurant.  Rifkin’s presence is one of host and interlocutor, while his partner, Tim Eliott remains quietly in the background.  Avery’s warmth and kindness toward his “guests” is one of the reasons the restaurant is so popular. And, even as I write this, I know I will be causing just a little stir in the otherwise amiability of the man. He is genuinely modest about his contributions to the restaurant’s eighteen years of success. The Right Formula Partnerships in any business don’t come easily. There’s always some decision that divides two people working together, as almost any marital partnership reminds us. Somehow, Eliott and Rifkin have found the right formula for their business partnership. It’s one that many would envy but it’s not easily defined. Perhaps, it’s because they came together with the same desire, a desire to build a restaurant that anyone could afford to dine in. And, I add to this, they wanted to make the restaurant a place where anyone would feel at home. They have achieved this in so many ways but it didn’t happen by chance, because, as we all know, “the devil is in the details,” and Rifkin is good at details. 318fb6db-bfae-43ab-837a-bd2273d20c85 Stop and Look Around The next time you walk into Stone Soup stop and look around. Though I know this is not easy because of the array of the delicious dishes to choose from set out on a handsome buffet, but next time, stop and look. I do because I’ve begun to realize things are always changing at Stone Soup.  Though everything looks as though it had been there for a lifetime, in fact in the twelve years I’ve been eating at Stone Soup, the entire back half of the kitchen area has been redesigned –Tim’s idea because his career started as a dishwasher and he wanted a perfect dishwashing area for his staff. It is, in fact, a marvel of dishwashing engineering, one that I envy. The gleaming stainless steel counters that surround the large sinks and commercial dishwashing machine (why doesn’t GE make a home dishwasher that washes and dries in 15 minutes?) are a model for anyone who loves to roll up their sleeves and dive into the suds. Hamburger Fridays Recently, diamond-faceted globes have been hung above the handsome, ornate main counter of the restaurant replacing the originals and giving off just the right amount of prisimed light for the display of challah and whole-grain breads, cakes and cookies that are as delectable as they look. Installed last year, a new counter at the back of the room is now the best place to be on the restaurant’s “hamburger Fridays” when Avery proves that he is what his partner says he is, “ the meat-whisperer”, making the best hamburgers in town. And though he is glad that many loyal customers make Fridays a habit, there are just as many who swear by his brisket, the sweet and tangy chicken wings and the absolutely authentic chicken livers with crisp skin cracklings and fried onions served as a sandwich, all part of each week’s menu. post Gracefully Into The Pond There are so many small details that make the interior of the restaurant unique. As a regular customer, I’ve admired but never asked why there is a print of a pig diving gracefully into a pond hanging on a wall overlooking the dining room.  It’s part of the mystery of Stone Soup, and I doubt that I’ll ever ask that question because I want that little bit of mystery to always be there. Every print and photograph on the walls is chosen by Rifkin.  They reinforce the feeling of longevity and community that is the essence of Stone Soup.  As a transplanted New Yorker, I recognize what these photos represent. Some are from an earlier era of restaurant history, some of restaurant neighbors in Burlington. Some identify the contribution of local farmers through scenes of working landscapes and farming equipment.  All are Stone Soup’s version of the signed “celebrity” and “faithful customer” photos that hang on the walls of dairy restaurants and delicatessens all around the five boroughs. In Stone Soups case, the photos are a tribute to restaurant life and the local farming community, both so important to the success of the restaurant.  It’s a tradition that Rifkin knows well growing up in Rochester, New York with his father, a professor at NYU, an excuse for frequent trips to Manhattan. His love for New York extends to the Adirondacks. The high-backed chairs recently installed at the counter overlooking the kitchen, a tribute to the other side of the lake. unnamed-5 What About Local? What about local? This is a question I always ask in a restaurant in Vermont because it’s an important part of our agricultural economy to buy locally. It’s a way of supporting community and acting on what you believe in if you believe in small farms as most of us do in the Green Mountain State. But I didn’t have to ask Rifkin this question because it’s evident how local the food is at Stone Soup. Without a separate delivery entrance, all deliveries come through the front door and right past the customers sitting at tables in the main area of the dining room, headed to the storage rooms below. On the day that I interviewed Rifkin, a farmer with several bags of produce appeared.  With a welcome, Rifkin was on his feet immediately and called out to the busy staff, “All hands on deck!” Soon, the produce bags were out of sight and Rifkin was offering the farmer some freshly baked cookies for the road home. When I asked how long had the restaurant been buying locally, the answer was, “From the beginning. It never occurred to us to do it any other way.” Rifkin and Elliot were ahead of the “local” curve because local fit a tenet of their business plan: to serve the community. blog post Not A Vegetarian Restaurant What Stone Soup is to many of its customers is a vegetarian restaurant, though it isn’t really one.  That’s because Eliott built his reputation at a much admired vegetarian delicatessen and market on Main Street, Organum. At the same time, Avery was working for Olive Branch, a bakery and take-out in the South End. When City Market, a restaurant on College Street in downtown Burlington, closed, both men, separately, took a look at the space. Soon, they were meeting daily for lunch at Nectar’s, the music venue and bar on Main Street, discussing their ideas about the possibility of partnership.  It’s a classic restaurant start-up saga: Two men with a vision team up and months later the city is graced with a new restaurant, one that today –eighteen years later- is still a success. Love In Plain Sight I credit commitment as a factor that has made Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup such a happy ending-story, but I also credit something far subtler, I credit love. It is something you feel when you walk in the door and under the electric sign that says “Hot Kale”, a gift from the staff. You feel it when you hand your full plate over to be weighed to one of the servers and they know who you are. You feel it when you see Eliott’s broad smile beaming at some joke from another staff member slicing up carrots on the broad wooden cutting board in the kitchen. You feel it when you see a customer greeting Rifkin with a huge bear hug in the center of the dining room; and you see it in the total transparency of the restaurant, itself, where all the cooking is done in plain sight.
unnamed-6 Check out Stone Soup’s website for daily menus and hours at stonesoupvt.com, or just stop by to see what it’s all about for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
À Bientôt, bronwyn-signature11      " ["post_title"]=> string(35) "Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, Part II" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(81) "Read the second part to the post on Avery Rifkin & Tim Elliott's Stone Soup here." 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The color, the smell, the beauty of lettuce freshly picked from the garden makes him smile. He talks about the tender leaves easily crushed if not handled gently and the importance of washing them carefully and thoroughly before storing in a container that doesn’t pack them down. His enthusiastic description also reminds me that in certain ways, we in America, have not only lost the true enjoyment of eating real food, but the true enjoyment of preparing real food, as well. “You can tell what’s happy and what’s not. You have to treat it like a living thing”, Tim explained. Natalie and I sat at a table in the window of Muddy Waters, the iconic café on Main St., listening to Tim, a partner at the equally iconic restaurant, Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, whose life in food might well be the perfect template for the exciting culinary world that is Burlington, Vermont, in 2016. unnamed Cafeteria-style Tim and his partner, Avery Rifkin, have run their restaurant on College Street just off the city’s pedestrian mall, a vital heart of urban energy, since 1997. Their intuitive leap into combining forces to run a restaurant together brought something to the food scene here that hadn’t been done before. Not only is the restaurant a cafeteria-style eatery, it is also small enough and intimate enough to encourage its patrons to consider it a second home. Stone Soup feeds the residents of the neighborhood, as well as downtown business people, tourists, and students from nearby colleges and the University of Vermont. Tim agrees that most people don’t have time to really cook. Stone Soup, with its fairly priced (after choosing from a selection of main dishes and sides, diners have their plates weighed and priced accordingly) menu selections, is the best alternative to a home-cooked meal that I know. A family of four can dine for under $50 at Stone Soup.  In my mind that beats bringing home a luke-warm pizza or heating-up even the best Thai noodle soup from a local Asian take-out. unnamed-6 Homesteaders Tim was raised by “homesteaders”, his description of his parents, who were living a life very much influenced by the Nearings, Helen and Scott, the fabled back-to-the land” promoters whose lifestyle influenced so many to live “off the grid” back in the 1970s. Tim’s family was living in a home they built themselves with enough of a garden to grow most of their own food in Hancock, New Hampshire, long before it became a trend.  As vegetarians, they raised their own produce to put meals on the table.  Bill and Eileen Elliott are still living off the land in the house that Tim grew up in.  He readily admits he sees his parents’ marriage and partnership as the one he most aspires to even though his choice of lifestyle revolves around a restaurant, a business partner, a multitude of faithful customers and a loyal staff. After recognizing that college was not for him, Tim fell into the fast paced restaurant business—“if I’m not moving, I’m sleeping”. After the usual dishwashing jobs, he wound up running the deli department for Organum, a popular vegetarian restaurant and health food store in Burlington during the 90s. Not a surprise since he’d been raised a vegetarian and only converted to meat-eating when he couldn’t say “no” to a salmon dinner made by a friend and colleague. unnamed-3 In A Good Way When you walk into Stone Soup it feels a little like a place that’s been there a long time. From the hand-painted sign above the garage door façade, to the tin ceiling, to all the beautiful and locally-made wooden tables, the gorgeously heavy and ornately carved serving counter, the hand-forged wrought-iron tiered display trays offering desserts made onsite, there’s a sense that you’ve walked back in time…but, in a good way! unnamed-1 Perfect Imperfection There isn’t another restaurant in the world that you can compare it to, at least not one that I’ve eaten in. Nowhere else have I found the combination of refined esthetic and perfect “imperfection” that is found here. The eye has fun taking in a breakfront that sits between the front dining space and the back. It was made for the restaurant some 18-years ago, but it could have been found in one of those country auction houses selling good 19th century antiques.  It’s embellished with a stained-glass panel at the top and trailing ivy decorating the side shelves that hold silverware and glasses.  It commands attention and sets the tone for the calm and generous experience of sitting down at Stone Soup with a plate of real food. This breakfront is also the gateway for all the suppliers who bring their wares to the restaurant.  Early morning is the usual time for farmers to bring their produce, meat and eggs to Stone Soup, but it’s not surprising to see Dave Quickel from Stony Loam Farm walk in with tender lettuce just picked before lunch giving the staff an edge on every other eatery in town as far as freshness goes. The owners appreciate that it’ s a treat for their customers to see the food come into the kitchen wide open to the dining room. They have been buying locally since the first week in 1997, beating the competition in what is now the local and organic movement.  “It wasn’t a movement when we began.  It’s what we wanted to do,” says Rifkin.   unnamed-4 Follow the story of Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup in our next post, and find out why the menu is one of the best in the city of Burlington. And, learn why Avery Rifkin is the reason why Stone Soup isn’t a vegetarian restaurant." ["post_title"]=> string(26) "Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(65) "Read more about Burlington's iconic Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup." 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Thanksgiving this year was, for me, a wonderful time to think about gratitude. I was grateful because my daughter’s family in Paris was safe after the terrorist attacks in that beautiful city. I was grateful, too, that my Thanksgiving was spent with two remarkable 90+ year olds, my stepmother Judith Jones, and her cousin, Jane Gunther. Believe me when I say that they, in spite of their venerable age, still rule the roost, and though this often gives me pause, I’m grateful that they’re still celebrating with me. A blessing for sure!
So it seemed the right moment between two holidays that celebrate giving and help us understand how important being grateful is to our sense of self, to write about the importance of food security, a basic right of all people all over the world.
Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of the Upaya Institute in Sante Fe, New Mexico, writes that one of the gifts we can give each other this season is the gift of non-fear. When food security is guaranteed as it is for many, but not all of us, it helps us to banish fear of hunger. For a great part of the world, there is no end to the fear of hunger. If we solve this problem for the world, so many other problems that hurt and terrify us will end, as well.
Read what Natalie has experienced as a UVM senior in the Food Systems program and remember your local food shelf or food program when you give this year to your favorite organization.
À Bientôt and Happy Holidays!
bronwyn-signature1

***

Food Insecurity in Vermont With the abundance of farmers markets, co-ops, and farms in Vermont, it may be surprising to hear that hunger is still a large issue. Despite the thriving local food scene in the state, 13% of all households in Vermont are food insecure, and 1 in 5 children experience hunger at some point. Food Waste--A Coexisting Problem At the same time, food waste is just as large of an issue. In the United States, around 40% of all food is wasted. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state in their book, The Ethics of Eating, “[Waste] reflects nothing more than a casual disregard for what went into producing the food, from the suffering of the animals, to the labor of the workers, to the natural resources consumed and the pollution generated”. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state, this is not simply a waste of nutrients, but a waste of water, seeds, soil, time, energy, and (possible) degradation of our environment. [caption id="attachment_4003" align="aligncenter" width="520"]12107135_10153619226469326_63227699415022266_n Photo Courtesy of the Intervale Center[/caption] The Intervale's Gleaning & Food Rescue Program However, we are fortunate to have so many amazing organizations and programs working to combat these issues. The Intervale’s Gleaning and Food Rescue Program in Burlington is one of them. This summer and fall I helped distribute free food shares to low-income individuals as part of this program, which runs from mid July through October and collects leftover produce from farms at the Intervale, such as Digger’s Mirth. Sometimes this produce is leftover because the farmer simply has too much of it, other times, it is because it is not aesthetically up to consumers standards; however, it still tastes just as good! This produce is then divvied up into shares for individuals and organizations to pick up each week. [caption id="attachment_4004" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12088582_10153619219389326_8403675372498293644_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] Many Factors Lead to Food Insecurity It was not only so rewarding to directly give food to those in need, but it also gave me insight into the issue of food insecurity as a whole in Vermont. Before this program, I had always thought that rates of food insecurity were higher for women and children. However, after this program, I witnessed that age is also a huge factor in individual’s ability to obtain food. In addition to lack of mobility, many seniors also face increased health problems, which makes it difficult to stand long enough to prepare a meal. One older woman, who came each week, would always leave the butternut squash because she said it hurt her hands to peel it. There are many factors that limit an individual’s access to nutritious meals. [caption id="attachment_4005" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12107236_10153619219374326_1747472433099693458_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] "Just One Paycheck Away" With Vermont’s new Universal Recycling Law, which bans food scraps from going into the landfill, we will all have to be more aware of the food waste we produce. During this past semester, I also had the opportunity to work with the Agency of Natural Resources to figure out the financial impact of increased food donations at food rescue sites, which will have to increase their infrastructure due to this law. As part of this project I had the privilege to sit down and talk with Sally Metro from the Williston Food Shelf. The Williston Food Shelf provides groceries to families in need twice a month. Each family gets to choose their own food. Sally stated that we all need to be more aware of how we treat individuals in need. “We are all just one pay check away from this”, she explained. 12243032_1641906072693756_112836025984205107_n Gratitude During this holiday season, as I spend time with family and friends over meals, I will take time to really give thanks what is on my plate. I encourage everyone with extra food to share it with a friend, family, or local food shelf to show gratitude towards the abundance in your life. Wishing everyone a healthy and nutritious holiday season, Natalie Lovelace

***

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Thanksgiving this year was, for me, a wonderful time to think about gratitude. I was grateful because my daughter’s family in Paris was safe after the terrorist attacks in that beautiful city. I was grateful, too, that my Thanksgiving was spent with two remarkable 90+ year olds, my stepmother Judith Jones, and her cousin, Jane Gunther. Believe me when I say that they, in spite of their venerable age, still rule the roost, and though this often gives me pause, I’m grateful that they’re still celebrating with me. A blessing for sure!
So it seemed the right moment between two holidays that celebrate giving and help us understand how important being grateful is to our sense of self, to write about the importance of food security, a basic right of all people all over the world.
Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of the Upaya Institute in Sante Fe, New Mexico, writes that one of the gifts we can give each other this season is the gift of non-fear. When food security is guaranteed as it is for many, but not all of us, it helps us to banish fear of hunger. For a great part of the world, there is no end to the fear of hunger. If we solve this problem for the world, so many other problems that hurt and terrify us will end, as well.
Read what Natalie has experienced as a UVM senior in the Food Systems program and remember your local food shelf or food program when you give this year to your favorite organization.
À Bientôt and Happy Holidays!
bronwyn-signature1

***

Food Insecurity in Vermont With the abundance of farmers markets, co-ops, and farms in Vermont, it may be surprising to hear that hunger is still a large issue. Despite the thriving local food scene in the state, 13% of all households in Vermont are food insecure, and 1 in 5 children experience hunger at some point. Food Waste--A Coexisting Problem At the same time, food waste is just as large of an issue. In the United States, around 40% of all food is wasted. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state in their book, The Ethics of Eating, “[Waste] reflects nothing more than a casual disregard for what went into producing the food, from the suffering of the animals, to the labor of the workers, to the natural resources consumed and the pollution generated”. As Peter Singer and Jim Mason state, this is not simply a waste of nutrients, but a waste of water, seeds, soil, time, energy, and (possible) degradation of our environment. [caption id="attachment_4003" align="aligncenter" width="520"]12107135_10153619226469326_63227699415022266_n Photo Courtesy of the Intervale Center[/caption] The Intervale's Gleaning & Food Rescue Program However, we are fortunate to have so many amazing organizations and programs working to combat these issues. The Intervale’s Gleaning and Food Rescue Program in Burlington is one of them. This summer and fall I helped distribute free food shares to low-income individuals as part of this program, which runs from mid July through October and collects leftover produce from farms at the Intervale, such as Digger’s Mirth. Sometimes this produce is leftover because the farmer simply has too much of it, other times, it is because it is not aesthetically up to consumers standards; however, it still tastes just as good! This produce is then divvied up into shares for individuals and organizations to pick up each week. [caption id="attachment_4004" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12088582_10153619219389326_8403675372498293644_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] Many Factors Lead to Food Insecurity It was not only so rewarding to directly give food to those in need, but it also gave me insight into the issue of food insecurity as a whole in Vermont. Before this program, I had always thought that rates of food insecurity were higher for women and children. However, after this program, I witnessed that age is also a huge factor in individual’s ability to obtain food. In addition to lack of mobility, many seniors also face increased health problems, which makes it difficult to stand long enough to prepare a meal. One older woman, who came each week, would always leave the butternut squash because she said it hurt her hands to peel it. There are many factors that limit an individual’s access to nutritious meals. [caption id="attachment_4005" align="aligncenter" width="530"]12107236_10153619219374326_1747472433099693458_n Photo Courtesy of Intervale Center[/caption] "Just One Paycheck Away" With Vermont’s new Universal Recycling Law, which bans food scraps from going into the landfill, we will all have to be more aware of the food waste we produce. During this past semester, I also had the opportunity to work with the Agency of Natural Resources to figure out the financial impact of increased food donations at food rescue sites, which will have to increase their infrastructure due to this law. As part of this project I had the privilege to sit down and talk with Sally Metro from the Williston Food Shelf. The Williston Food Shelf provides groceries to families in need twice a month. Each family gets to choose their own food. Sally stated that we all need to be more aware of how we treat individuals in need. “We are all just one pay check away from this”, she explained. 12243032_1641906072693756_112836025984205107_n Gratitude During this holiday season, as I spend time with family and friends over meals, I will take time to really give thanks what is on my plate. I encourage everyone with extra food to share it with a friend, family, or local food shelf to show gratitude towards the abundance in your life. Wishing everyone a healthy and nutritious holiday season, Natalie Lovelace

***

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I have traveled all over the world....Avery and Tim have created a special sanctum sanctorum of wonderful food. Margo" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(116) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_11_3) AppleWebKit/601.4.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.0.3 Safari/601.4.4" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [1]=> &object(stdClass)#94 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208501" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4079" ["comment_author"]=> string(11) "Janet Biehl" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(20) "janetbiehl@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(13) "204.13.45.202" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-03-20 17:05:34" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-03-20 17:05:34" ["comment_content"]=> string(131) "My favorite restaurant in Burlington--a true home away from home, where my friends and I have passed many a delightful dinner hour." ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(120) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_5) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/50.0.2661.26 Safari/537.36" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [2]=> &object(stdClass)#95 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208502" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4079" ["comment_author"]=> string(17) "Christine Junkins" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(19) "cmjunkins@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(14) "50.105.252.188" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-03-21 23:36:23" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-03-21 23:36:23" ["comment_content"]=> string(153) "I ate at Stone Soup last summer while visiting Burlington. I loved the atmosphere and the amazing food choices! I had a delicious and nutritious lunch." ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(116) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_11_3) AppleWebKit/601.4.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.0.3 Safari/601.4.4" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [3]=> &object(stdClass)#44 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208503" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4079" ["comment_author"]=> string(16) "Matthew Cronkite" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(26) "matthew.cronkite@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(13) "54.148.31.126" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-03-23 13:40:00" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-03-23 13:40:00" ["comment_content"]=> string(179) "I love your description of the food, atmosphere and overall excellence of Stone Soup! I have yet to eat there, but it is now at the top of my list for my next visit to Burlington!" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(120) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_11_2) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/49.0.2623.87 Safari/537.36" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } } ["comments_by_type"]=> array(4) { ["comment"]=> array(4) { [0]=> &object(stdClass)#43 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208500" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4079" ["comment_author"]=> string(11) "Margo Davis" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(21) "margoadavis@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(30) "http://www.margodavisphoto.com" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(12) "66.65.176.73" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-03-20 15:24:47" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-03-20 15:24:47" ["comment_content"]=> string(231) "Just want to say that during my last visit to Bronwyn, we had an over-the-top delicious meal at Stone Soup!!! I have traveled all over the world....Avery and Tim have created a special sanctum sanctorum of wonderful food. Margo" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(116) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_11_3) AppleWebKit/601.4.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.0.3 Safari/601.4.4" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [1]=> &object(stdClass)#94 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208501" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4079" ["comment_author"]=> string(11) "Janet Biehl" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(20) "janetbiehl@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(13) "204.13.45.202" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-03-20 17:05:34" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-03-20 17:05:34" ["comment_content"]=> string(131) "My favorite restaurant in Burlington--a true home away from home, where my friends and I have passed many a delightful dinner hour." ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(120) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_5) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/50.0.2661.26 Safari/537.36" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [2]=> &object(stdClass)#95 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208502" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4079" ["comment_author"]=> string(17) "Christine Junkins" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(19) "cmjunkins@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(14) "50.105.252.188" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-03-21 23:36:23" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-03-21 23:36:23" ["comment_content"]=> string(153) "I ate at Stone Soup last summer while visiting Burlington. I loved the atmosphere and the amazing food choices! I had a delicious and nutritious lunch." ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(116) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_11_3) AppleWebKit/601.4.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/9.0.3 Safari/601.4.4" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } [3]=> &object(stdClass)#44 (15) { ["comment_ID"]=> string(6) "208503" ["comment_post_ID"]=> string(4) "4079" ["comment_author"]=> string(16) "Matthew Cronkite" ["comment_author_email"]=> string(26) "matthew.cronkite@gmail.com" ["comment_author_url"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_author_IP"]=> string(13) "54.148.31.126" ["comment_date"]=> string(19) "2016-03-23 13:40:00" ["comment_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-03-23 13:40:00" ["comment_content"]=> string(179) "I love your description of the food, atmosphere and overall excellence of Stone Soup! I have yet to eat there, but it is now at the top of my list for my next visit to Burlington!" ["comment_karma"]=> string(1) "0" ["comment_approved"]=> string(1) "1" ["comment_agent"]=> string(120) "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_11_2) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/49.0.2623.87 Safari/537.36" ["comment_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_parent"]=> string(1) "0" ["user_id"]=> string(1) "0" } } ["trackback"]=> array(0) { } ["pingback"]=> array(0) { } ["pings"]=> array(0) { } } }
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