“The more we pour the big machines, the fuel, the pesticides, the herbicides, the fertilizer, and the chemicals into farming, the more we knock out the mechanism that made it all work in the first place.”-David R. Brower
Corn, beans and squash. The three sisters, as they are called by the Native Americans. These three plants were always planted together in the fields. The corn grew high, the squash grew low to the ground and prevented weeds from taking over and the beans used the cornstalks as ladders. Brilliant.
As a gardener, I continually find it amazing when you learn of the techniques used by ancient peoples who were, obviously, devoid of the technology that we have at our disposal today. Yet, they conquered and grow just as we do. Their instruments were 100% organic. They watched the skies, the sun, took notice of the wind and used the earth and it’s beings to their advantage. All the while, giving back and honoring it.
I recently attended a lecture regarding our food sources and reserves…do we actually have enough food to feed our growing population and, taking it one step further, can we feed them nutritious, healthy food?
The answer, overwhelmingly, was yes.We just have to use our noodles and keep tapping into our creativity and yes, all can be fed and fed well. Or we use what’s already here and make better use of it, whether it be neglected land for crops, excess food (from restaurants and stores) for use in soup kitchens. Even empty warehouse space can be used for indoor gardening. There IS space and opportunity out there. Again, brilliant. We just have to look back in order to move forward. View the basics (and technology that we already have, too) but see how it can be used in a new way.
We tend to think about the Native Americans at Thanksgiving, certainly if you have kids in elementary school. The countless art projects and Thanksgiving projects come flooding home. They certainly had a handle on the earth that they were inhabiting. Hey, they taught the Pilgrims how to fish, where to look for the good berries and fruits, what to use as medicine and how to utilize all parts of an animal for food. No dopes there.
So, to celebrate one of the three sisters and the creative souls who came before us…let this dish be a reminder of the ingenuity, pluck and skill of the early farmers. May we continue in their footsteps.
Creamy Corn Pudding with Cheddar Cheese and Chive (say that 5x fast), courtesy of The Oprah Magazine Cookbook
4 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 Tb. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
6 ears corn, kernels removed (approx.6 cups corn)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup milk
5 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tb. salt
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cups chopped chives
Preheat oven to 325. In a food processor, pulse bread until large crumbs form. In baking dish, combine bread crumbs, olive oil, and garlic, then back 7-12 minutes, until golden and slightly crisp. Remove and let cool.
Butter a 3-quart baking dish, set aside. In a large saucepan, combine corn, onion, and milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add eggs, cream and salt, 1.5 cups cheese, and chives. Stir well and pour into dish, bake 30 minutes. Add bread crumbs and remaining 1/2 cup cheese; continue baking 20-25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Serve hot.