On our first visit to Washington D.C. we sat at a white, linen table and discussed how our food had bit of a kick to it. "They make things spicier in the South," my mom said. Just like the doctor explains to Tom Cruise at the end of Vanilla Sky that his life was directed by a handful of images which impacted his subconscious, this small experience began my love affair with the South.
When I got to college, (I chose the South, obvi.) I roomed with two girls who were from the "country chambers" of Virginia. Going to a large, state school, many students hailed from the staid suburbs outside D.C. My roommates, however, came from Roanoke, a small city in the southwest of the state. Coming from the region, they spoke with a more relaxed cadence and cooked using anything (natural) they found in the fridge. "Kitchen sink cooking" I called it after my roommate pulled out a chicken carcass from the fridge after a large dinner with our respective families. "We can make soup," she claimed. Growing up in New England and being perplexed by the jars of Campbell's Soup which read Cream of Broccoli ("how did they extract cream from broccoli?" I'd ask) I knew nothing about the fundamentals of making soup from scratch.
These days, things have changed, I now know the basics of broth making (although I rely pretty heavily on bullion) since I've begun educating myself on the fundamentals of cooking. As I've done so, I've found the basic tenants of my grandmother's cooking increasingly helpful compared to those of my mother's generation. Enter and article by Kim Severson entitled Starve a Landfill.
In Severson's article written for the New York Times, the author details the rise of a generation increasingly concerned with the preservation and use of whole foods and a league of top chefs who are following suit. As an example, Severson notes the practice of "red flagging" cans in Seattle with decaying organic material which could otherwise be put towards compost. This trend, Severson claims, arises from a recent paradigm shift in which the waste of food is "unfashionable". Call it budgeting, call it a concern for the environment or our own health (which can be traced back to budget if we consider health and the possible avoidance of pesky medical bills) but "kids today" are cooking more like their grandparents, Severson notes, than their parents.
In a few posts back, I reference Avec Eric, particularly the show which featured Marcus Samuelsson. Samuelsson, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, spoke about how his grandmother was the type to, "[do] roasted chicken [one day], the next day... do chicken soup and the third day... do chicken dumplings." Hearing this quote brought me back to those salad days of college when my roommates would make their "kitchen sink soup". As I have grown older, gained a budget and learned more about cooking, I have adapted my own version of sink... Or, let's say, "Southern Sink Soup." Know your roots, ya'll.
For more tips on how to reduce waste in your kitchen, you can click here.