I've long been a seasonal cook: no tomatoes in February, no parsnips in August, no asparagus in November. But the book's lyrical story-telling describes a whole 'nother way of eating, of considering, of trusting food.
The book follows the thirteen lunar cycles. As luck would have it, Chapter 1 starts in February -- NOW -- with the hunger moon, the time when fall's harvest is falling thin, when only dusty root vegetables remain.
"In the deep of winter, when the Earth in the North has been covered with snow and ice for many moons already, comes the Hunger Moon. This late-winter lunar cycle was called the Hunger Moon by many peoples in various languages, but always for the same reason -- the frozen land yielded little to eat, and game was scarce." -- Jessica PrenticeI am especially taken by the side-bar lists, each with thirteen items, just as there are thirteen moons. There's Buried Treasure, vegetables from the old-fashioned root cellar, and Sweet Somethings, traditional and unrefined sources of sweetness. Be a Locavore, plants that can be grown anywhere in the continental U.S. so can be eaten locally and in season with no importation, has me giving serious consideration to planting lettuce for the first time ever.
And that's just the first chapter.
Still to come are the Sap Moon, the Egg Moon, the Milk Moon, and more. But I shall wait to read them in their own time, in moon time, that is.
NEXT TIME This is a simple soup, just simple goodness, unadorned and without complexity. It is simply, utterly, delicious. Jessica's version adds milk or cream so is a cream of parsnip soup.
HUNGER MOON PARSNIP SOUP
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 4 cups
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, heated to a boil in the microwave
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (reduced from 2 tablespoons)
3 medium leeks, light-green and white parts only, cut in half rings
1 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf (or as the inspiring recipe suggests, a bouquet garni of bay leaf, thyme, oregano)
1 cup whole milk or half 'n' half (the inspiring recipe suggests this, I didn't use it)
Salt and pepper to taste (I found none was needed)
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter on MEDIUM. Add the leeks and cook until just beginning to turn golden. Add the parsnips and stir to coat with fat. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaf and hot stock. Bring to a boil and let simmer until parsnips are fully cooked. Transfer to a blender (in batches if needed, fill the blender no more than half full and even so, hold on tight to the lid while processing, so the pressure of the heat doesn't blow the hot liquid all over) and process til smooth. Return to the pot. If using, stir in the milk. Season to taste and serve.
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