book "review" :: The River Cottage Family Cookbook
i first saw The River Cottage Family Cookbook. on Soulemama's blog. it immediately appealed. just the cover alone had me. anything with the words "family" "cottage" and "cooking" and i'm there.
this book inspires me, but i admit not in the ways i expected. i didn't find the book to be incredibly inclusive of children in the way i thought. there is no talk of how to make the recipes with kids or why they would like this or that. there are lots of pictures of kids doing stuff, but very little said about it. and there's a LOT of words in there. i don't personally know any kids who would read this book. so, i am left to gather that the "family" aspect was meant in terms of the food--yes for the most part it is stuff kids might eat, but more so, it's a real basic text on the building blocks of what we eat. it's part history lesson, part "what is an egg anyway?" it gives a wonderful and enriching look at our food. and it whole heartedly advocates eating whole, simple foods. for me, it was a delight because i enjoyed the food 101 nature of it--how it explained things without talking down. to the contrary it inspired me.
before i even finished the book i was already baking my own bread (2 loaves a week for 3 weeks now!) and putting heavy cream in jars for us to shake into butter to go with it. and it was wonderful. not only did it taste like heaven, but there was something really really satisfying and GOOD feeling about knowing our food was simple and fresh! we baked it. we know what was in it.
and now, i am looking at taking it all a step further. i am readying the garden to grow just a few edibles of our own, i'm gearing up for our first pick-up at our CSA farm in a couple of weeks, i'm researching where to get local butter, milk and meat.
don't get me started on meat. the author makes a pretty awesome and compelling arguement for eating organic, grass-fed meat. and though it seems obvious, the thing he pointed out that hit me the hardest was that the farmers respond to our demands. if we demand meat raised humanely and without drugs, then that is what they will do. imagine. . . if stores that carried organic meats couldn't keep them on the shelves, they would tell the farmers, and the farmers in turn would produce more of it. it's up to us.
and so tomorrow, i'm off to check out a local farm that raises chickens and cows to get my first-ever raw milk. (this book convinced me to give it a try--a rant on that one--my current bedside read is forthcoming) and hopefully some organic, locally raised meat. yes, it's more expensive, but my goal right now is for our family to eat higher quality food. so if that means eating a little less dairy and meat, then so be it. the stuff we DO eat will nourish us so much better.
i highly recommend you check this book out of your public library as we did. love being inspired. don't you?