Savoring Kentucky

It's good all over.

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Enjoy weekly Hot Water Cornbread podcasts and recipes.

Savoring Kentucky showcases the wonders of Kentucky's food, farms, farmers, restaurants, chefs, distillers, brewers, orchards and markets. We applaud local food, its producers and champions. We delight in news of improvements in food and food systems. We take pleasure in fine food. We thank our wondrous sponsors for supporting our work and local goodness all around.

Bravetart—Stella Parks, Pastry Chef and Writer: HWC-2017-06-20

Listen to this episode here.

Here comes a fantastic new cookbook by Kentuckian Stella Parks! Release date August 15, 2017 (also the birthday of Chef Ouita Michel and Saint Julia Child)

Here comes a fantastic new cookbook by Kentuckian Stella Parks! Release date August 15, 2017 (also the birthday of Chef Ouita Michel and Saint Julia Child)

Stella Parks gratified as many of the wishes of the Hot Water Cornbread crew as she possibly could in one short hour (minus our worthy PSAs and sponsor spots). Chef Ouita and Stella have a long history, extending back to Stella's high school days—when, Ouita points out, Stella was already famous in Woodford County, Kentucky, for her cookies. 

We talked about what it has been like, making a big, fine cookbook for six years. Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts launches on August 15. Preorder now

Stella shared some of her deep knowledge of vanilla, a crucial pastry ingredient. Listen to her take on when you might appropriately use synthetic vanilla (vanillin from sources other than a vanilla bean), and how to work with vanilla extracts originating in different parts of the world. Hear her take on why vanilla beans, selling at about $300/pound at the moment, are underpriced as well as under-valued. 

We paid respects, 176 years after the fact, to Edmond Albius, a 12-year old slave on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, who discovered how humans can bring about pollination in vanilla beans, a system still in use to produce virtually every precious vanilla bean today.

Enjoy Stella!

Alma Kajtazovic of Sorella Gelateria: HWC-2017-06-13

Listen here to this episode with Alma Kajtazovic of Sorella Gelateria.

From left, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Alma Kajtazovic

From left, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Alma Kajtazovic

We've admired Alma Kajtazovic for years, for her work to build community as well as her financial and management smarts, used on behalf of arts and good causes. Since December 2015, we have had new reasons for awe and amazement: hazelnut, strawberry, whipped cream, espresso, simply bourbon, caramel latte, mango, raspberry, peach, salted caramel . . . and more flavors of exquisite gelato, served up at Sorella Gelateria, 219. North Limestone in Lexington. Alma and her sister Selma Sulejmanagic own and manage Sorella (which means "sisters" in Italian).

Today we welcomed Alma into the WLXU studio at Lexington Community Radio to talk about her background, how she and Selma divide and share the work of preparing and distributing perfect gelato to both retail and wholesale customers, and what it's like to be chillin' in a new-old space on the fired up culinary corridor of Lexington's Limestone Street.

Enjoy the sweetness!

Chef Jonathan Sanning and the James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project

Enjoy listening to this episode here.

After the show, outside the WLXU studio at Lexington Community Radio, from left, Chef Jonathan Sanning, Rona Roberts, Chris Michel, Chef Ouita Michel

After the show, outside the WLXU studio at Lexington Community Radio, from left, Chef Jonathan Sanning, Rona Roberts, Chris Michel, Chef Ouita Michel

Chef Jonathan Sanning of Smithtown Seafood led Kentucky into the James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project three years ago, creating memorable burger-mushroom concoctions like the Beef WELLington Burger that remain popular on the menu at the restaurant. Ouita calls Jon "Lexington's most creative chef." The Huit-a-Burger he has created for the 2017 Blended Burger national competition demonstrates his imaginative ways of using local ingredients to present delicious flavors drawn from cultures and cuisines around the world.

The Blended Burger Project is a competition, so go eat the fabulous burger (...chorizo seasoning, avocado crema, lime slaw, corn mushroom queso, and so much more) and then vote for the Huit-a-Burger to win the national contest. Munch the burger—or the other wonderful food at Smithtown Seafood—as you listen to Chef Jon tell about becoming a chef and what he values most in his work.

In Our Kitchens: Strawberries and Peanuts--HWC-2017-05-23

Listen to this episode here.

Tasting traditional Strawberry Preserves and Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam in the studios at WLXU-LP FM, 93.9, Lexington Community Radio.

Tasting traditional Strawberry Preserves and Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam in the studios at WLXU-LP FM, 93.9, Lexington Community Radio.

Ideas pile up and longings accumulate in our kitchens, and we want to TALK about them, go more deeply into them, explore them together. This episode indulges that longing and goes deeply into strawberries, including their health benefits, simple preparations, preservation options (both classic and tartly surprising, tasted live in the studio).

Then Chef Ouita brought out the results of her research into the history of the peanut and its culinary travels into our homes, a tale that is so bizarre she couldn't possibly have made it up. We learn, too, about the nature of many of the 105 ways the brilliant Dr. George Washington Carver suggested preparing the peanut for health and happiness.

Enjoy!

Dr. Ashton Potter Wright of Bluegrass Farm to Table: HWC-2017-05-16

Listen to this episode here.

How terrific to hear of the success of Bluegrass Farm to Table from local food coordinator Ashton Potter Wright. Saying it has taken three years for some initiatives to take root and flower, in this episode Ashton describes progress in increasing access to fresh, locally grown food and tells about new marketing initiatives that are making a real difference in regional farm income.

Enjoy Ashton!

Lexington Farmers Market Leaders Pam Miller (Founder) and Josh England (Manager): HWC-2017-04-25

Listen to this episode here.

From left: Hot Water Cornbread host Rona Roberts, Former Mayor and Lexington Farmers Market founder Pam Miller, Lexington Farmers Market manager Josh England

From left: Hot Water Cornbread host Rona Roberts, Former Mayor and Lexington Farmers Market founder Pam Miller, Lexington Farmers Market manager Josh England

Pam Miller, who has changed Lexington as much as any one person possibly could and to whom we owe the existence of our fine Lexington Farmers Market, is moving to be near children in another Lexington (MA). In this episode, Pam talks about the history of the Market, and current Market Manager Josh England and she talk about its importance and its potential. They talk, too, about family, France (and other parts of the world), and why food matters so much that we should grow and eat it with great care.

Enjoy this episode. Enjoy, too, this fine article about Pam Miller by Beth Musgrave of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Arwen Donahue and David Wagoner of Three Springs Farm: HWC-2017-04-11

Listen to this wonderful show here.

From left: Ouita Michel, Chris Michel, David Wagoner, Arwen Donahue, and Phoebe.

From left: Ouita Michel, Chris Michel, David Wagoner, Arwen Donahue, and Phoebe.

We were honored when Arwen Donahue and David Wagner agreed to lay down their trowels, cover the paints, shelve the musical instruments, park the tiller and drive from Nicholas County to the wonderful studios at Lexington Community Radio. Their Three Springs Farm, established in 1997 in Carlisle, became one of the first to offer CSA subscriptions, and one of the earliest to use organic methods to grow vegetables for sale. 

Listen as they tell us about foods they grow and love to eat, what drew them from intriguing jobs in Washington, D.C. to settle on land that had been in David's family. Learn about the positive new chapter just beginning on their farm.

Corn, Cornmeal and Philip Weisenberger of Historic Weisenberger Mill: HWC-2017-04-04

Listen to Corn, Cornmeal, and Weisenberger Mill's Philip Weisenberger: HWC-2017-04-04. (Click the white arrow in the red circle to play a recording of the show.) 

One of many millstones near Weisenberger Mill, Scott County, Kentucky

One of many millstones near Weisenberger Mill, Scott County, Kentucky

From the excellent Anson Mills (SC) website:

Arguably, corn possesses the most culinary diversity of any grain. From corn flour to very coarse grits, whole hominy to hominy grits, nixtamal to masa to chicas, parch meal to ancient roasting corns—the range of exciting foods within the vast cuisine of corn is astounding. 

Corn had flourished in the Americas for millennia before European settlers came, and came to depend on it. Cornmeal forms the crucial foundation of hundreds of thousands of meals in Kentucky daily. We talked with Philip Weisenberger, a sixth generation miller at historic Weisenberger Mill in Scott County. We learned about the ways the Mill has been sustainably rebuilt and kept operational. We traveled with an imaginary corn kernel (from Kentucky, and non-GMO) as it makes its way from a farm in Hardin or Logan Counties to the top floor at Weisenberger, and down and back multiple times before it's ready for hungry customers. We get Philip's favorite cornbread recipe!

Enjoy the show.

Cathy and Harkey Edwards Keep Harkness Edwards Vineyards Sound Through Fire and Ice: HWC-2017-03-28

From left: Cathy Edwards, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Harkey Edwards

From left: Cathy Edwards, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Harkey Edwards

Cathy Edwards, who grows the grapes at Harkness Edwards Vineyards, started out growing exactly the wrong grapes for Kentucky. All that effort to plant, prune and weed, and they had to be taken out. Many other experiments with wine grape varieties and much additional painful ripping out and replanting followed. After 14 years, the grapes Cathy has learned both grow well in Clark County soil and make good wine are influencing other wineries that are part of Kentucky's wine-making renaissance. 

Harkey Edwards makes the wines. Initially he and Cathy both farmed and both made wine. It works better, they say, for each to have a decision-making domain. Their three daughters each play a role in the family business as well.

Harkey Edwards, left, and daughter Beth offering Harkness Edwards wines at the 2013 Food and Fiber Festival.

Harkey Edwards, left, and daughter Beth offering Harkness Edwards wines at the 2013 Food and Fiber Festival.

The Harkness Edwards Vineyards experience includes trials by fire as well as ice. In 2013 the winery and large tasting room burned to the ground, destroying everything it housed. The vines remained, but the following winter brought Polar Vortex weather: Arctic cold destroyed two acres of Viognier vines. 

Now, in 2017, Harkey Edwards has been making wine again for almost a year. Sam's Club has begun offering Harkness Edwards Vineyards' "Big Red," a blend of Concord and Vidal Blanc grapes that Harkey calls "a fun wine." Local Liquor Barns and Kroger Wine & Spirits offer wines from the Vineyards. People interested in wine and helping Kentuckians launch vineyards and wineries seek Cathy and Harkey out for guidance on how to move forward without having to learn so much by expensive, frustrating experience.

Enjoy this fun, interesting, inspiring show.

21c Lexington Turns 1, and Cooper and Kings Launches Ideal Bartender School

Photo credit: Cooper and Kings

Photo credit: Cooper and Kings

21c Museum Hotel Lexington opened one year ago: time for a birthday bash. Chef Jonathan Searle of Lockbox, the hotel's acclaimed restaurant, paid a second visit to Hot Water Cornbread to describe plans for the party (on March 17 during Lexington's Gallery Hop, 5 - 8 PM) and reflect on his first year at Lockbox. Then we dialed up Jenn Desjardins, of Cooper and Kings American Brandy in Louisville, to learn about the upcoming Ideal Bartender School, inspired by Louisville native Tom Bullock's legendary hospitality and his influential book of cocktail recipes, published 100 years ago.   

From Copper and King's press release about the Ideal Bartender School:

[T]he initiative will offer select individuals with disadvantaged economic means a free 14-week bartending course developed and curated by Copper & Kings. The rigorous course, limited to 20 people in need of economic mobility, will teach the disciplines of the hospitality profession.

The deadline for applications is March 31. View the course schedule and syllabus, and apply or share this news with others. The course begins May 10, just after Derby. Naturally!

Kristy and Steve Matherly of Lexington's Sunrise Bakery: HWC-2007-03-07

We invited Kristy and Steve Matherly, owners of Sunrise Bakery at 111 Main Street in Lexington, Kentucky, to Hot Water Cornbread: Kentucky Food Radio. We asked them to tell us their story. It's a wonderful show. Listen here

Steve and Kristy Matherly of Lexington's cherished Sunrise Bakery

Steve and Kristy Matherly of Lexington's cherished Sunrise Bakery

Learn how they met and which one had to persist, persist, persist to win the other's favor. Hear about their long-time family connections to cooking, gardening, baking and superb food, extending back at least to their grandparents and continuing on with their own young sons. Hula hoops, dancing, biking, yoga make appearances. These two beautiful people prove it is possible to make splendiferous breads, sandwiches, cookies, pastries, cannoli, bagels, cinnamon rolls, cheesecakes and more while staying healthy.

It's not easy to pin down magic, so we won't promise you will learn how to make your own space as welcoming as Sunrise Bakery is, but one hint comes when Kristy says, "They aren't 'customers.' They are family."

Savoring Kentucky has featured Sunrise Bakery in other posts. See also:

Sunrise Bakery: Brilliance on Main Street

Sunrise Bakery Saturdays, Reed Valley Orchard Autumns

 

André Barbour and Teheran Jewell of Barbour's Farm: A Fourth Generation Black-owned Farm in Kentucky Expands-HWC-2017-02-28

André Barbour and Teheran Jewell of Barbour's Farm want to bring their farm-raised Hart County goodness straight to your door—even if you live in Lexington or Louisville. After some years of ramping up production of vegetables, chickens, dairy cows, beef cattle and hogs on the Barbour family's 150 acres—and after three previous generations of farmers in André's family have tried other markets—it's time to connect directly with eaters, and bring the goodness to new customers. "In four states," says Teheran. And then, "We don't sleep much."

André and Teheran came to Lexington, and brought their friend Shanika Chappell of Bowling Green with them, to be our guests on this week's Hot Water Cornbread radio show. Listen here.

From left: Teheran Jewell, André Barbour, Shanika Chappell

From left: Teheran Jewell, André Barbour, Shanika Chappell

André and Teheran want their new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture subscription) to feed you during this growing season, even if you think you might not be able to afford a CSA. To introduce their farm and food to Lexington, they will bring samples and meet with faith groups, neighborhood associations and others. (They can cook.) Text or call André at (270) 777-5881 and Teheran at (270) 392-1399.

This year Barbour's Farm also launches an aggregate station just off I-65 in Hart County where restaurants and the public can buy a wide array of farm-raised foods. André says this fixed cost, accessible, one stop shop will make buying good ingredients much easier for cooks and chefs.

In 2014 the Courier-Journal's Jere Downs wrote this excellent article about André Barbour's farming and his importance in provisioning early Fresh Stop CSAs as part of Lousville's New Roots, Inc. Downs reported that African-Americans own 437 of Kentucky's 77,000 farms, according to the 2012 census. That's about one-half of one percent, in a state with a black population of about eight percent.

Quite a crew outside the toasty WLXU studio at Lexington Community Radio: from left, Matthew, a videographer/intern from the University of Kentucky, Teheran Jewell, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Shanika Chappell of International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green, and André Barbour.

Quite a crew outside the toasty WLXU studio at Lexington Community Radio: from left, Matthew, a videographer/intern from the University of Kentucky, Teheran Jewell, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Shanika Chappell of International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green, and André Barbour.

Encore: Here's what will be useful to these farmers, their farm, and you: Organize a group of 10 people or more and invite them to introduce their farm and food and explain the benefits of their CSA, with all its options to make good food affordable. They will come with food, experience, good humor, and crucial access directly to a season of excellent food. Text or call André at (270) 777-5881 and Teheran at (270) 392-1399.

Do you want a little more? See André Barbour on Facebook and check out A Taste of Jewell Farm.

 

Aphrodisiac Foods, from Antiquity to Now: HWC-2017-02-14

Chef Ouita Michel researches food history and brings it to the radio studio. (And, of course, to menus at Holly Hill Inn, every February for the past 15 years.) Asparagus, oysters and all seafood, cumin, star anise and many other spices, eggs, avocado, pine nuts, tomatoes, onions—so many foods have, since antiquity, been considered aphrodisiacal. Each year since it opened the Holly Hill Inn has featured these special foods around Valentines Day. On Valentines Day 2017, Ouita brought her research to the Lexington Community Radio studios, and told all about the background and uses of these amazing foods worldwide. Listen here

Chef Ouita Michel brings her research on aphrodisiac foods to Hot Water Cornbread, which has a happy home at WLXU 93.9 LP-FM, one part of Lexington Community Radio.

Chef Ouita Michel brings her research on aphrodisiac foods to Hot Water Cornbread, which has a happy home at WLXU 93.9 LP-FM, one part of Lexington Community Radio.

Winter Wizarding Waltz, Lexpecto Patronum, Sarabeth Brownrobie and Ashley Minton: HWC-2017-02-07

In preparation for the 2017 Winter Wizarding Waltz, a grand, fun and fund-y event on February 25 at the Lex Lyric Theater, our guests Sarabeth Brownrobie (founder) and Ashley Minton (innovative chef for this year's event) came to the Lexington Community Radio studios bearing notions of sparkly twinkle lights, dress-up and butter beer, plus the promise of magical food. Listen here.

Ashley Minton, left, and Sarabeth Brownrobie

Ashley Minton, left, and Sarabeth Brownrobie

Blue Moon Farm Garlic and Food System Innovation: The Podcast HWC-2017-01-31

Some people in the world of Kentucky food pop up in Savoring Kentucky so consistently they are like those trusted perennials that structure good gardens. Leo and Jean Pitches Keene and their Blue Moon Farm are in that group. I searched this site and stopped counting at 50 posts over the last 11 years. Now we've added Leo's voice to our Hot Water Cornbread podcast collection. Be not afraid! Listen here to the January 31 show. (Click the orange circle/white arrow. Technology does the rest for you, unless you happen to have muted your device.)

Leo and Jean Pitches Keene photographed themselves and their garlic braids before shipping the braids to New York City for an appearance on the "Today" show with guest chef Jamie Oliver in 2006. 

Leo and Jean Pitches Keene photographed themselves and their garlic braids before shipping the braids to New York City for an appearance on the "Today" show with guest chef Jamie Oliver in 2006. 

During our radio show, Leo tells about becoming a garlic producer with a constant additional job of educating new garlic customers, including chefs. He talks chef talk with Chefs Ouita and Chris Michel. He sketches the story of his and Jean's involvement with garlic and where that led. For one thing, garlic led to more Blue Moon crops, and then marketing Blue Moon crops led to helping other growers get their good food into local restaurants. As we learned from Leo about his work as aggregator, distributor, dispatcher and overall nudger of food from farm to restaurants and home kitchens, we sent big radio-wave appreciation to Chef John Foster, unwavering champion of local farms and their products. 

Jean and Leo moved to Kentucky as antique dealers in the 80s, and changed paths a bit after they began growing their own garlic—who knew it was possible then? Who ate garlic in Kentucky? Thanks to Blue Moon, it's a Kentucky flavor now. Blue Moon alone grows 40,000—50,000 garlic plants each year, with separate harvests of tens of thousands of mild-tasting, easy-to-use garlic scapes.* 

If you are a home cook, look for Leo and Jean at the Lexington Farmers Market starting April 1. If you are a chef or bulk buyer of fine local foods, contact Leo at garlic<at>bluemoongarlic<dot>com to become part of his distribution and delivery system.

Bonus for reading this far: here are links to and excerpts from three of many Savoring Kentucky posts about Blue Moon:

Gratitude for Garlic , 2006:

This year when I count my Thanksgiving blessings, I will include the 50,000 garlic cloves Leo and Jean plant by hand in early winter, jump-starting next year's growing season before most of us have finished celebrating this year's plenty. Even more, I will be grateful for Jean and Leo themselves, knowing they may be outside planting garlic as I am buttering my homemade roll. Jean says, "There are many years when we've worked on Thanksgiving Day, trying to get planted before bad weather."

Roots-N-All: Garlic From Nose To Tail (Just About), 2009

Blue Moon Farm's Jean Keene told me this, so I tried it -- tried it out on other people, too. Yes, the cleaned roots of green garlic are edible. Tasty, in fact. Delicious.

Garlic Scape Pesto, 2011

In the summer of 2011, when my excellent husband's garlic crop first yielded a pesto-worthy quantity of scapes—the flexible, musical-looking pencil-thin green flower stems of hard-neck garlic—I cheekily asked Leo Keene, aka Mr. Blue Moon, how to make pesto with my own scapes. After all, as I told him, it is his fault that my household now plants 16 square feet of Blue Moon cloves near Halloween each year, harvests tender green garlic in March and April, rejoices in an additional tender crop of the scapes in June, and finally pulls an aromatic harvest of fat garlic bulbs out of the ground the following July 4.

*A scape is a stalk hard-neck garlic produces when it forms the intention to flower and produce seed, but smart growers snip that stalk off when it is still tender, with two beneficial results. First, the garlic plant can relax and put all its energy into those cloves that will be ready for harvest in another few weeks. And second, cooks make fine garlic scape dishes like these.

**Go to The Sage Rabbit for ongoing Chef John Foster goodness. Dishes from last week: 

"Roasted chicken risotto in a rosemary parsnip cream with shiitakes and spinach"
"Oven roasted Elmwood Stock Farm chicken breast with roasted garlic smashed potatoes, roasted greens and a caramelized rum onion pan sauce."

Note that garlic. Thank you, Leo, Jean, and Blue Moon.

SOUTHERN SAWG: THE 2017 PODCAST (WITH A CHINESE LUNAR NEW YEAR DESSERT)

On the eve of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group 2017 annual gathering and trade show, Executive Director Steve Muntz and long-time grower-participant Jane O'Tiernan joined Ouita and Chris Michel and me today on Hot Water Cornbread, our weekly radio show on food and foodways. Southern SSAWG is in Lexington, Kentucky this week. Walk-up registration information here (scroll down).

We talked with Steve and Jane about what makes SSAWG special, what new farmers need to do and know, how SSAWG defines sustainability, and what to expect at this year's event. Listen here. (Click that big red circle with its white arrow.) We finish the show with a short, lively lesson from Culinary Evangelist Dan Wu on how Chinese new year traditions like sticky rice and fish grow out of homonyms in the Chinese language. 

Hand tools at the 2016 Southern SAWG trade show

Hand tools at the 2016 Southern SAWG trade show

EPIPHANY WONDERS, INCLUDING FEASTS, IN KENTUCKY AND BEYOND

I knew, from earliest childhood, that old folks somewhere in Kentucky loved Old Christmas, January 6. I knew they loved thinking of animals kneeling at midnight, and speaking. I knew the sweet carol, "The Friendly Beasts." And not much else. On Hot Water Cornbread: Kentucky Food Radio this week (listen here), chef Ouita Michel brought all manner of history of this celebration through time and around the world. Plus recipes! Amazing recipes for an entire feast, offered tonight in Midway (sold out for this year) as a fund-raiser for Midway Christian Church. 

By Post of Moldova - http://www.posta.md/en/filatelia.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5530451

By Post of Moldova - http://www.posta.md/en/filatelia.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5530451

I did not know about the ways Epiphany celebrations worldwide include both feasting and riotousness (a bit like the mountain traditions of moonshine-drinking and firearms-shooting), nor the connection to the beautiful gift-giving story of The Three Wise Men. By Ivan Ivanov - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5752127

By Ivan Ivanov - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5752127

By Ivan Ivanov - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5752127

Around the world, celebrations are underway today, as they have been on this day for centuries.

By Unknown - Старо Скопје, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24023330

By Unknown - Старо Скопје, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24023330

Gratitude to Wikipedia for the splendid photos. 

By Balkanregion - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5551337

By Balkanregion - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5551337

LAUREN GAWTHROP OF GOOD FOODS COOP ON LOCAL GIFTS, COOPERATIVE ROOTS, AND SANTA LUCIA ROLLS

At age 44—which is probably like age 150 in natural grocery years—our priceless Coop now enjoys more contemporary media smarts thanks to new Marketing Manager Lauren Gawthrop. Lauren got up at 3 AM every weekday for five years to make news, literally: she organized and anchored new shows at Lexington's ABC36 from early morning through noon. Four hours of news a day, people! So imagine applying all those skills and all that good energy to continuing the long process of bringing all the goodness of Good Foods to our whole region. 

Lauren Gawthrop, Marketing Manager at Good Foods Coop

Lauren Gawthrop, Marketing Manager at Good Foods Coop

Ouita and Chris Michel and I enjoyed getting to know more about Lauren when she joined us on our weekly radio show, Hot Water Cornbread, this week. Ouita and Lauren described the wonders of giving luxury foods as gifts: a seemingly expensive, elegant bottle of olive oil, for example, costs much less than most people feel compelled to spend for a credible present, and delights its recipient.

And there's the other wonder of giving useful gifts, food instead of future yard sale items. Sorghum! Coffee! Craft beers! Exotic sauces! These and another 1200 items make fine gifts while supporting our neighbors who grow and produce excellent foods for us.

Or be like Lauren and make your own beautiful gifts. She brought homemade Santa Lucia rolls with her to the show: exemplary guest!

Click the red arrow on the player below and enjoy listening. [Email subscribers, we're still learning how to make the embedded players work for you. If you do not see a place to click and listen below, two options: go to https://soundcloud.com/user-623797398/lauren-gawthrop, or click at the top of your email and access this post online.]

Long-time faithful readers of Savoring Kentucky know that each year I re-post a piece about the joy of not giving. This year I took a look and decided it needed a rest. Just before Thanksgiving, I re-read a favorite, challenging Wendell Berry essay on the necessity of limitations: Faustian Economics: Hell Hath No Limits. It doesn't sound like light holiday reading, and it is not. Wendell Berry speaks to our deeper interests, to the choices we can each make to live richly and with contentment within natural limits:

. . . our human and earthly limits, properly understood, are not confinements but rather inducements to formal elaboration and elegance, to fullness of relationship and meaning. Perhaps our most serious cultural loss in recent centuries is the knowledge that some things, though limited, are inexhaustible. For example, an ecosystem, even that of a working forest or farm, so long as it remains ecologically intact, is inexhaustible. A small place, as I know from my own experience, can provide opportunities of work and learning, and a fund of beauty, solace, and pleasure — in addition to its difficulties — that cannot be exhausted in a lifetime or in generations.

Gifts, both giving and receiving, are trickier than they seem at first. All the gift-giving holidays give us the gift of opportunity to think and act in ways that contribute to "a fund of beauty, solace and pleasure." May all these be yours during these sweet days.

Sponsors included in this post: Good Foods Coop.

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