In the Depths of Winter, Life is Laying the Roots of Our Food Supply For the Coming Year

Pea shoots are the first sign that spring is coming at our local farmer’s market

Over the holiday, I have been working diligently on website upgrades and “background” content that explains some of the fundamentals on which Wholefood Cuisine is based.

I’m still in the process of doing that work and still need a couple more weeks. It’s an appropriate activity for winter, while all life is underground, doing the predatory work for bursting into view as spring begins to emerge at the beginning of February.

There is little food at the farmer’s market this time of year, but on Saturday my favorite farmer had the first pea shoots, which I love. I just toss them in my salad with whatever winter lettuces I can get.

A Tale of Two Christmas Dinners: Industrial v Homemade

Larry and I live in rather unusual circumstances.

We live with his mom, who is now almost 90 years old and two of his siblings who take care of her. Before we came to live with them three years ago, these three had a ongoing household that also included Larry’s father. When he died in 2017, many things changed, but their household continued on as before in the way the lived and the food they ate. Remarkably Larry’s mom at age 89 is quite healthy—while she has memory problems she has none of the modern industrial diseases of the body. She walks up and back a long driveway every morning to get the paper and every afternoon to get the mail.

They have their ways of doing things and Larry and I have our ways and they aren’t the same. But we all allow each other to “whatever works” as Mom says.

This year what happened for Christmas dinner was that two other siblings who don’t live here decided to send those of us who do live here a preprepared Christmas Dinner from Whole Foods. Because of covid restrictions, we didn’t have a family Christmas as we have had in years past. I was told this dinner was arriving on Wednesday. But generally, I make a Christmas dinner and I still wanted to make it.

Larry and I decided what we wanted for Christmas Dinner and purchased the ingredients.

Winter Solstice—Celebrating the Return of the Sun, the Source of Our Food Supply

Today is Winter Solstice. It is the shortest day of the year and the longest night. Tomorrow morning when the sun rises it will be the first day that the days become longer. Tomorrow is only a few seconds longer here where I live, but as the days become longer and longer, eventually, six months from now on the Summer Solstice, the days will be hours longer.

The importance of this is that all food on the planet required the sun to exist.

We don’t think of this much in our today’s world where we have a constant supply of food from the supermarket, but in times past when there were no supermarkets and no farming, humans obtained their food from their local ecosystems. So they were eating seasonal plants and animals.

Winter Relish With Red Pomegranates & Green Olives

In this post, I’m giving you more details about my process of making the dish and you’ll see more of the creativity at work instead of following a recipe.

Last week I was in a beautiful store and found a cookbook. I opened to a page at random and it was a recipe for a vegetable—I think it was eggplant—that had an amazing “salsa” over the top. Immediately I was intrigued because it contained pomegranates and green olives and walnuts and garlic—four of my favorite foods that also happen to be winter foods. And I had all four of these foods in my kitchen.

What I do when I see a recipe like this is I don’t try to remember the whole recipe or write it down or take a picture of the page, what I do is remember the key ingredients and the impression I have when I see it, and then I come home and create something of my own.

Pomelo & Pomegranate in the Snow

This is segments of pomelo with pomegranate arils and unsweetened shredded coconut.

A pomelo is the largest citrus fruit from the family Rutaceae and the principal ancestor of the grapefruit. It is a naturally occurring citrus fruit from Southeast Asia, not an industrial hybrid. I usually find them at my local farmer’s markets here in California.

To me, a pomelo tastes like a cross between an orange and a grapefruit. It’s a grapefruit that is sweet without adding sugar. So you can use grapefruit for this if you can’t find a pomelo.

Wholefood Winter Sweets

I know that the holidays are a time when we have many food temptations that are not so whole. While they taste good and may be associated with traditions and feelings of love, they are probably not so good for our bodies.

Some years ago I began to examine holiday foods in my own life and find healthier versions.

Here I’d like to offer you my strategies for having satisfying sweets to eat for the holidays that are also whole and good for you.