Pat Welsh Talk Recap

March 10th, 2014 by Nina Macdonald

Pat Welsh with plant starting chartA group of avid Slow Food gardeners heard Southern California gardening expert Pat Welsh give a  fascinating and informative talk on “Growing Great Veggies, the Organic Way” this last Saturday, March 8th, In Laguna Beach.  Masterfully mixing information with personal anecdotes, Ms. Welsh quickly covered the basics of gardening before discussing, in-depth the importance of the proper timing for the growing of warm and cool season vegetables in our Mediterranean climate – important because it differs from that of much of the rest of the country.

Ms. Welsh also emphasized topics Consistent with the “good” and “clean” parts of the Slow Food philosophy. She provided a wealth of useful suggestions about favorite varieties. For example, Della Cascine is an Italian variety of fava beans that, when picked young are delicious pod and all, because the pod is tender and free from strings – unfortunately, because they are a cool season plant, those of us eager to try these will have to wait to plant them until next fall.  The entire presentation also emphasized how to achieve garden fertility using organic soil amendments and how to deal with pests without pesticides using natural controls. Ms. Welsh also shared many useful gardening hints – for example, after planting carrot, celery, parsnip, and parsley seeds you can speed germination by pouring boiling water on the rows of seed.

Fortunately, for those of you that missed hearing Pat Welsh, you can find much of what she had to say in her encyclopedic volume, Pat Welsh’s Southern California Organic Gardening.

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From the Chair- March 2014

March 10th, 2014 by Nina Macdonald

Dear Slow Food Members,

Every 2 years, Slow Food International collaborates with its worldwide network to hold Terra Madre in Turin, Italy.  This is a one-of-a kind cultural exchange with people from around the world who are passionate about food.  Farmers, fishers, chefs, Slow Food members, leaders and supporters come together for a 5-day event.  Terra Madre, a political gathering of Slow Food delegates and supporters for conferences and workshops, is held simultaneously with Salone del Gusto (“Hall of Taste”) which  is composed of three exhibit halls of food producers/vendors.  The theme for this year’s Terra Madre event is “The Ark of Taste.”  Salone del Gusto will contain a large exhibit of the International Ark of Taste. Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto is a unified event from October 23-27 with tickets available in May 2014. Each day visitors can enjoy food booths, vendors, tasting workshops, educational workshops, conferences, tours and dinners.

I was selected as delegate for this event in 2012.  It was a fabulous life experience and gave me an appreciation of the very significant role played by Slow Food throughout the world.  I was able to attend lectures, cooking classes, tastings and a variety of dinners. Slow Food is truly an organization that creates positive change in the world, both politically and at a personal level.  I am writing about Terra Madre at this time as the dates have just been announced and the process of selecting delegates has just begun.

Diversity and a global consciousness are at the heart of Terra Madre. Delegates come from all around the world, representing the various communities, cultures, histories, and struggles, united under the banner of good, clean, and fair.  Being a U.S. delegate – sponsored by Slow Food USA – comes with the honor and responsibility of showing up as a global citizen. Benefits to being a delegate include free admission, housing, food, and ground transportation during the event. Individuals who are not delegates can attend by purchasing a ticket and arranging their own travel, housing, and food.  If you think you might be interested in attending Terra Madre or have questions, please feel free to contact me.  It is a fabulous experience. It will make your involvement in Slow Food come alive!

Linda Elbert
Chair, Slow Food Orange County

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Cocktails at Taste the Ark of Taste

March 6th, 2014 by Linda Elbert

Do You Remember Ben Web?

Award Winning Mixologist?

The Man Who Made the Mifflin?

If you attended his fabulous Craft Cocktail Class last summer at Five Crowns or  sampled his award winning cocktail The Mifflin at the Bungalow,   I  am sure you do!

Ben will be working his cocktail wizardry with American Rye Whiskey at “Taste the Ark of Taste,”  a garden chef event co- sponsored by Slow Food Orange County and SEEDS Art & Education, Inc.on April 12.  Ben will craft a cocktail using a American Rye Whiskey from a small batch producer using traditional distilling methods and free of genetically modified grains.  Ben will craft a unique cocktail for the evenings event!

Why American Rye Whiskey?summer cocktail

American Rye Whiskey is on the Slow Food Ark of Taste for the USA.  Once an American staple, rye whiskey started a transition becoming an American relic with the loss of rye fields during prohibition and continued with the rise of imported liquors.   The federal government imposed a tax on distilled liquors during the 1790s. American citizens erupted in outrage over their beloved American Rye Whiskey, going so far as to initiate the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. President George Washington himself amassed militia members to put down the rebellion in what is considered our nation’s first test in law enforcement. Interestingly, George Washington maintained a still at his Mount Vernon estate that he used to produce rye whiskey. At the time, rye was the most popular grain in the Eastern United States for producing whiskey. When Prohibition took effect in 1919, distillers in the southern states learned to make bourbon in the cornfields and Canadian versions of whiskey incorporated mixed grains. American rye fields declined in number and, soon, American rye whiskey became an American relic.

Rye whiskey is truly American invention only made with American grown, native rye grains as its primary mash.  By law, rye whiskey must contain at least 51% rye but there are no regulations concerning the origin of the rye or the variety of rye. A small but growing number of American producers adhere to the traditional method of aging rye in un-charred oak barrels and using only American-grown, native rye varieties. The resulting product is lighter with spicier caramel notes and hints of orange peel, cardamom, mint, and butterscotch.

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