I'm having a terrible time staying on task; the beautiful outdoors keeps calling my name.
I was up this morning in time to wake the birds, anticipating my drive through the country roads to church. It was downright inspiring, beautiful violin music pouring from the car radio, a time-out to watch a mother turkey lead her lively half-grown children, single file, across the road.
The vibrant green trees seemed to be standing guard along the roads and framing the clear blue lakes. Everything was so peaceful and picture perfect I needed to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. I hope I never get too busy or preoccupied to be moved by all of this, and to be thankful.
I mentioned last month that Molly and I were going downstate to celebrate Sarah's 40th birthday. She is the "baby" daughter of the family, loved and spoiled by all her older sisters as well as me. (She probably thought she had four mothers.)
What she didn't know about the celebration was that her sister, Vicki, was coming from Ohio and sister Cathy was coming from New York to surprise her! Well, you know the one about "the best laid plans." Sure enough, Cathy had an emergency in her family and had to stay home to help with her grandchildren. Her daughter's father-in-law passed away the morning she was to leave.
This was a huge disappointment. However, it was fun to watch Sarah when Vicki arrived. She happened to be standing by the kitchen window and looked out just as Vicki hopped out of the car with an armload of balloons and flowers. She let out a little squeal and the tears started to fall. Happy chaos for a minute, then we settled down and ate and talked non-stop for the next 42 hours.
Sarah's teenage son and daughter enjoyed seeing their mother surprised. Her daughter, Emma, had just been given a surprise by her friends that week, too. July is a special month; we have 19 family birthdays!
My grandson Luke, who is a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota, is in South Korea teaching English to children. He immediately fell in love with the children, the land, the people and the FOOD!
Luke is a poet and sees the beauty of the history, culture and ceremony, which has led me to do some food research. He loves Kimchee, which is served with every meal.
His e-mails are so sweet; he stands on the streets and talks with the townspeople, and has introduced disc golf to his community. The children love him and call him "Lucky Lukey."
My first research was a 3,800-word essay on making Kimchee! It has many variations, is as old as the country itself and is a very reverent ceremony when made by the "Grandmasters."
They believe it contributes to health and longevity, and the leftover juice (brine) cures all ills. Actually, when you look at the ingredients, you will agree.
The Grandmasters teach that you should handle the ingredients as much as possible with your hands instead of kitchen tools. By doing this, you are transferring your love and energy into the food, thus into those who eat it.
While you can use everything from apples to radishes in it, let's start with the very basic recipe. This sounds more to my liking and, I hope, yours.
Molly tells me there is a new business in Leelanau making all organic fermented foods. The owners are Pat and Nancy Curley.
To make this, you will need a large nonreactive bowl or crock to begin and a two-quart jar with lid later. You could use a larger jar by weighing down the cabbage or two one-quart jars. This is a great side dish, especially served with rice, and can be made into a sandwich.
&Recipe-headKorean; Cabbage Kimchee
2 lbs. Chinese (Napa) cabbage, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 T. Kosher salt
1 t. salt (reserve for later)
6 c. cold water
6 green onions cut into 2-inch lengths and slivered
1 1/2 T. minced fresh ginger
2 T. minced fresh garlic
2 T. ground hot pepper (optional, and be careful, this is a lot)
1 t. sugar
Dissolve the 3 T. salt in the six cups of water. Wash and drain cabbage. Stand it on cutting board, stem end down. Slice in half from top to bottom, slice each half into two pieces (top to bottom), giving a total of four long wedges. Slice each wedge into two-inch slices, removing stem and core. Put cabbage in the bowl and cover with brine (salt and water). Weigh the cabbage down with a plate. You may need to use a weight to hold it down. Let this stand for 12 hours.
Drain the cabbage, reserving the brine. Mix the cabbage with the remaining ingredients, including the teaspoon of salt. Mix well! Pack the mixture into the two-quart jar. Pour enough of the reserved brine over it to cover. Push a freezer bag into the mouth of the jar, and pour the remaining brine into the bag and seal.
If you used all of the brine, you can use water. Let the Kimchee ferment in a cool place, at a temperature no higher than 68 degrees, for 3 to 6 days, until it's as sour as you like it. Place a container under the Kimchee to catch any fermentation overflow.
Remove and discard the plastic bag, cap the jar tightly. Store the Kimchee in the refrigerator, where it will keep for months. Makes 1 1/2 quarts.
"Mat-itkae duseyo"...that's Korean for "Enjoy your food."
I'm having a terrible time staying on task; the beautiful outdoors keeps calling my name.
Grandma's Kitchen: Daughters' visits planned
My door has been revolving with out-of-town daughters this past month. Vicki, the eldest, came for 10 days, with lots of garden goodies packed in her car. As she exited, Sarah, the youngest, entered.Continued ...
Grandma's Kitchen: Dog days of summer
When I think of the dog days my mind goes back to a skinny 10-year-old who was terrified just by the words. Living in one of the hottest states in the union, I didn't connect the heat to the position of the Dog Star, Sirius, like the ancients did.Continued ...
Grandma's Kitchen: Friend or foe?
Lately, I've been giving lots of thought to my relationship with Mother Nature, or maybe that should be lack thereof. It's obvious that I have grievously offended her to the point she has been visiting one plague after another since early June.Continued ...
Grandma's Kitchen: Summer is delicious
One of my favorite birthday cards is still displayed on my table. It's an amazing photo of a "granny woman," her hands supporting a gigantic slice of watermelon. Her face is buried in it and even more surprising, the woman looks exactly like me!Continued ...
Grandma's Kitchen: Vittles and rituals
Spring is a great time to take a journey back home, if only in memory. I loved springtime in the Ozark foothills, with the fragrance of blooming magnolias.Continued ...
- Monday, April 19, 2010
Grandma's Kitchen: Discovering stevia
Because Molly and I are trying to support each other in sticking to our healthy eating plan, our newest caper involves stevia, an all-natural, non-caloric sweetener produced by a plant of the same name. It also has zero carbs and rates a zero on the glycemic index.Continued ...
- Monday, March 22, 2010
Grandma's Kitchen: Thanks to joy, strength
To all my dear reader-friends, I am sure this is tacky, but my column today is both a food column/thank-you note, so please indulge me. I can never thank you enough for all of your thoughtful cards, notes and e-mails. They have been my joy and my strength.Continued ...
- Monday, January 25, 2010
Edna Shaffer on the road to recovery
Because of illness, Edna Shaffer will not be writing her "Grandma's Kitchen" column for the next few months. She expects to be back this spring.Continued ...
- Monday, November 30, 2009
Grandma's Kitchen: Favorite time of year
Christmas always seems to come at just the right time to pull mankind back from the brink of insanity ... to invade our hearts and lives with a spirit of peace and hope. When our emphasis shifts from ourselves to others the Christmas spirit becomes contagious.Continued ...
- Monday, November 2, 2009
Grandma's Kitchen: Damp woods, cozy kitchen
November is met with differing degrees of enthusiasm by the man of the house than it is by his wife. From the minute the first trees start to show a splash of color, the Michigan men start counting days until deer season. As wives look ahead they see Thanksgiving, Christmas, shopping, cleaning, cooking and company looming with considerably less excitement. But really now, wouldn't you rather do what we do, than get up before daylight and go to the woods and sit on a frozen stump all day? So pass the sticky notes and let's get at it.Continued ...
- Monday, October 5, 2009
Grandma's Kitchen: Nature's glory
Once again we are caught up in Mother Nature's annual fall spectacular. My biggest maple is a fluorescent red that seems to burst into flames when touched by the sun. Mother Nature speaks to us loud and clear if we take the time to listen. (Plus, 8th Annual Grand Traverse Bioneers Conference, applesauce over mashed potatoes, a new bread, and National Honey Month.)Continued ...
- Monday, September 7, 2009
Grandma's Kitchen: Over-the-sink sandwich
It's mid-August as I write this and I'm still waiting for my big juicy homegrown tomato. I want to make my over-the-sink sandwich. That's just what it sounds like -- two slices of fresh whole wheat bread, a swipe of Hellmann's and a sliced tomato so ripe and full of juice the bread can't soak it up. With the first bite it runs down and drips off your elbows! That's summertime eating at it's best.Continued ...
- Monday, August 10, 2009
Grandma's Kitchen: Love around the table
I've really enjoyed some good times and great food around the family tables this week. At the center of it all was the joy of eating and talking with the people I love. Anyone who lives alone will quickly tell you that one of the hardest parts is eating solo. Last night there were four generations of us, from age 2 to 83 around the table. The beautiful words of Henry Harrison Murray flooded my mind and misted my eyesContinued ...
- Monday, June 15, 2009
Grandma's Kitchen: Counting blessings
I am slowly easing back into the land of the living. My routine is different, but at least I have one. For five months I've been in a strange land without boundaries, but with the love and prayers of my girls, my church and Record-Eagle family, I'm finding my new "normal," and it feels good!Continued ...
- Monday, May 18, 2009
Edna Shaffer: We can manage the unthinkable
(Editor's note: This column was written by Molly Franks, Edna Shaffer's third-born daughter. Edna expects to be back writing next month.) The future is uncertain for all of us. Complex matters are part of life. There is no escaping them. When we embark on a journey through hardship, fear paralyzes us. Eventually, we each make a road. We find our way somehow, through the most difficult terrain.Continued ...
- Monday, April 20, 2009
Grandma's Kitchen: Our mom is the best
(Editor's note: This column was written by Edna Shaffer's daughter Vicki Kritzell, who was taking her turn caring for Edna as she recovered from surgery.) I know every child thinks she/he has the best mom in the world, but you know what? My sisters and I actually DO have the best. As you have probably guessed, food has always been at the core of our memories.Continued ...
- Sunday, March 22, 2009
Grandma's Kitchen: Savor every moment
How do we measure the sum of our days? We spend hours not noticing the miles between, the spaces grown, the aging face. Society demands busy-ness of us all, and stress so often pulls us from our own priorities and realities. And then, a phone call, a conversation, a knock at the door, a doctor report can stop it all on a dime. And we are faced with the possibility of no more time.Continued ...
- Sunday, February 22, 2009
Grandma's Kitchen: Nutrition is a priority
I think about that a lot in relation to food and all the cycles and changes I've seen over the years. Food speaks volumes about the mind-set of a people and culture. Ever since the hunter/gatherers went out and conked some poor unsuspecting wild beast on the head with a club, the race has been on for a faster, tastier way to satisfy our hunger.Continued ...
- Sunday, January 25, 2009
Grandma's Kitchen: A daughter's admiration
Editor's note: Edna Shaffer's daughter, Sarah Earl, wrote this month's column. When mom first asked that I consider guest writing her column, the first topic that came to mind was "moms." Actually, my mom. I was happy for the chance to expound on how she perfectly embodies a nurturing spirit, a quiet intellect and quick wit. She has more compassion than anyone else I have ever met.Continued ...
- Sunday, December 28, 2008
Edna Shaffer: What next? Look ahead
How very different today is from the last day before the Christmas holiday. All of those chirpy "Merry Christmases" have turned into grunts and barely audible "yes, we had a fine time." As you slide into your La-Z-Boy, you hear those old familiar words sliding across your lips once again: "Next year is going to be so different."Continued ...
- Sunday, December 21, 2008
Grandma's Kitchen: Shared holiday recipes
Since this is the last column of our "Christmas Caper," I really want to say a big thank you to all who took the time to share their favorite recipes. It has been fun for me, and I hope for you. Time and space are limited, so I'll get right to the recipes you sent. Each one is a tradition in your homes and it's our privilege to share them.Continued ...
- Sunday, November 30, 2008
Grandma's Kitchen: Finding warmth and friends
Today was pretty gray and snowy. I missed church because I'd been under the weather all week and was feeling a little down. On a whim I drove into Honor to pick up the little weekly Insider. I noticed the open sign was lit at the Gathering Place and ran in to get the monthly newsletter. Talk about your serendipitous moment.Continued ...
- Sunday, November 9, 2008
Grandma's Kitchen: Thanksgiving recipes
Today our holiday caper is my priority. I have a file brimming with notes and recipes from you faithful friends, just waiting to be shared. Since this lands in your box before Thanksgiving, I'm using two recipes you might find helpful for turkey day. For those of you who missed the column requesting holiday recipes, I hope you can sit back and enjoy, and wouldn't it be nice if we could coast through the holidays without our hair standing on end!Continued ...
- Sunday, October 26, 2008
Grandma's Kitchen: Talking turkey with family
Can I "talk turkey"? You will probably think I've lost my mind. Three of us (one was vegetarian) sat down to a 12 pound turkey dinner on Saturday! It didn't really start out that way. Our local daughter's family had other fairly urgent obligations like helping with the new baby and laying up a chimney. So the New York crew is transporting frozen leftovers across four states to their freezer! I fear that by Thanksgiving we will be turkeyed- out , maybe lasagna will sound good!Continued ...
- Sunday, October 12, 2008
Grandma's Kitchen: Dishes we haven't seen
These cool, snappy mornings put a spring in your step and whet your appetite for some of those great tasting and wonderful smelling dishes we haven't had for awhile. I think of a bubbling pot of spicy chili, or a favorite soup, and what smells better than a pot roast cooking with onions? Now we can enjoy turning the oven on for this and some tall buttery lighter than air biscuits! Are you hungry yet? I am -- grab your aprons.Continued ...
- Grandma's Kitchen: Daughters' visits planned