Saturday, February 21, 2009

Here's What Greater Cincinnati Needs

Here's a great idea: the Lost Arts Kitchen in Portland OR offers classes in traditional food arts. The woman who runs the kitchen says that with planning and training, families can eat locally, organically and ethically without breaking the budget or overwhelming the family schedule.  A similar effort in Virginia, dubbed Home Skills University by its organizer, runs free classes in everything from breadmaking to meadbrewing. 

There are many cooking schools here in town, with classes teaching everything from complete dinner-party menus to specific culinary techniques.  But who's teaching us to pickle, can, ferment, make cheese -- all the processes our great-grandparents used to store foods safely?  Parents stopped teaching these things to their children decades ago when "Better Living Through Chemistry" wasn't intended as sarcastic commentary.   We've gone from using convenience foods as a supplemental resource to being completely dependent upon them.  Canning is the most basic, easy, fast, and inexpensive way to preserve the harvest, and yet many under-30s have never canned anything or even seen anything canned.  Heck, many under-50s haven't.  And lactofermentation?  Most people, even many foodies, don't have any idea what it even means much less how to accomplish it.   

We need our own Lost Arts Kitchen.  I can teach canning, both water bath and pressure.  What can you teach?  (If someone can teach me to make a loaf of bread that will rise in the oven, I'll be eternally grateful.)


lgblog said...


I can help you out with bread!


Bianca said...

There's a really simple bread recipe from Cook's Illustrated that is pretty fast.

I'd love to learn to can food and make yogurt. I've never attempted it, though I did make my own sausage recently.

It was great meeting you at the supper club! They are always such fun. I hope to see you again.


lgblog said...


Are you talking about the Ciabatta from this months issue? It looks amazing- I'm making it w/ the Ziti tomorrow for dinner.


Stephens Family said...

I remember my mom canning when I was little, but it's always intimidated me. My daughter (15) loves all things related to cooking and the kitchen. I don't know what I could teach, but maybe there's some other way I could help? I think this is a GREAT idea, and one that a LOT of people would be interested in.

valereee said...

Liam, you're on! Although I am attending a breadmaking class today, so maybe with luck I'll at last learn what I've been doing wrong for lo these many years!

Bianca, it was great meeting you, too! My husband (who was a little unsure about the idea of a dinner party with so many complete strangers) even said he'd definitely like to do it again! So the next time we have the opportunity, we'll definitely be there. I'd even be willing to host one!

elliebelle said...

I would love to go to a cooking school like that!! I know how to cook a lot of great food, but basics like bread, making cheese, and canning I am not good at. Great idea!

V said...

what an amazing idea! i always sort of thought this was the kind of thing extension offices would be doing (but i know they don't).

i can make jam. . .other canning is scary and overwhelming to me! I think this would be a great project. . .this is the kind of thing that _should_ fall under "homeland security"--stronger more sustainable communities benefit all of us!

LauraT said...

The Hyde Park Farmers Market completely agrees! This coming season we plan to host monthly events to promote -- Preserving the Harvest -- canning, freezing and drying bulk produce.

We are partnering with Park + Vine who will provide canning supplies for purchase.

We are looking for experts to help teach at these events and would love your help. Let me know if you are interested.

Laura Trachtman
Market Manager

LauraT said...

The Hyde Park Farmers Market completely agrees with your comment! This coming season we plan to host monthly events "Preserving the Harvest" to promote canning, freezing and drying of bulk produce.

We are partnering with Park + Vine who will provide the canning supplies for purchase.

We are currently looking for experts to help teach at these events. We would love your help if you are interested. Just let me know.

Laura Trachtman
Market Manager

valereee said...

Laura, I'm not sure I'd characterize myself as an 'expert!' :) I do can, both water bath and pressure canning, but the pressure canning is brand new. I'm happy to help, but I imagine there are any number of more experienced canners who attend the market!

Victor said...

Have you tried 'No-Knead' bread. There's a great article on about it. Super easy. Super tasty. Super fool-proof.

valereee said...

Victor, I've tried the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and managed to kill that yeast, too. But I like this no-knead idea -- I'll give it a try, thanks for calling it to my attention!

For those who would like to try it also, it's at Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread.