Food Rituals: There’s a farm down the road…

September 3, 2009 at 12:44 pm

We all grow up holding on to certain childhood food memories and rituals. Many of these we replicate as we grow our family and hand down to our children. Barbara Kingsolver, in Animal,Vegetable, Miracle savors the experience of picking apples during harvest season and the autumn weather that still “brings that crisp greenish taste to the roof of (her) mouth.” She ponders if her children will take away their ritual of homemade pizza on Fridays or other fond food memories (By the way, I really like this idea and may steal it for my kids someday. My husband and I all ready incorporate homemade grilled pizza into our meal repertoire every couple weeks!).

One of my favorite food rituals involves a local farm that thank goodness is still around today. Growing up, Didier Farms was home to our weekly trips to pick up the juiciest yellow and bi-color corn in the summer and yearly trips to pick the perfect pumpkin to carve. We would dive into those pumpkins in search for slimy seeds that would soon be salted and roasted and happily consumed. My parents’ still pick-up fresh produce from Didier and my husband has entered the tradition of picking the perfect pumpkin from their patch. I can only hope that we can continue a ritual of trips to a local farm to have our children taste the difference of local grown produce.

While I do cherish my food memories, in typical fashion, I like to do some things my own way. While I don’t have kids of my own yet, I have already started developing some food memories I’d like to create for them (I know, I know I can’t have total control of their life but let me just dream I can regulate their food…for now). Some of my ideas include homemade mac and cheese, pizza on the grill every Friday and weekly trips to the farmers market.

What are some ways you celebrate your childhood food rituals and how have you, or will you, create your own?



  1. Allyson says:

    I’m trying to break my childhood food rituals! I grew up in a very meat and potatoes family, with big desserts after every meal, and my whole family was very unhealthy and overweight. But now I’m a vegetarian and helping my family eat better, more farm fresh fruit and veggies and home cooked meals, and thankfully they are very willing cooking guinea pigs! We are all eating a lot better now, with everyone’s health improving all around, and we have new food rituals, like I cook a big healthy meal every time I visit. Hopefully these better habits carry on!

  2. Paulette Gardner says:

    I too bought much produce while the kds where growing up from Didier. My daughter rode horses across the street at John Garvey. Today I buy from Didier at the Deerfield Farmers Market on Saturdays from Didiers daughter. Recently we got to talking about the green tomatoes she has and I mentioned I have been looking for a recipe for pickled green tomatoes like they have in barrels at delis.I make pickles but the tomatoes I remembered from childhood had an extra ingredient and didn’t know what it was. She mentioned she would ask her mother and the following week brought me a recipe. The ingredient that was additional was horseradish. Well I tried it and that was what was missing. So each week I stop at the stand in Deerfield kibitiz with her and continue to buy. Also Sunset Foods carries quite abit of Didier produce and advertises it.

    • Carrie says:

      Hi Paulette, I will need to let my parents know about the Deerfield Farmers Market. They have been checking out a few in the suburbs and will be happy to hear there is one very close to home. would love to know more about the pickled tomatoes recipe, if you are willing to share? I just bought a case of pickling jars and plan to hop into pickling this weekend.

  3. Erin Hopmann says:


    Love the post! When I begin to reminisce about favorite meal memories as a child, a lot of breakfasts come to mind. Maybe it’s the thought of coming downstairs, still sleepy-eyed – a mother beating you to the punch to prepare a hot breakfast truly makes you feel cared for. A bowl of cream of wheat, one of my favorites, with a dollop of brown sugar on top – would be placed in the windowsill, window open, on cold winter mornings. Maybe a bit TOO quaint, but necessary to cool off in order to eat and be whisked off to school in time. Another favorite: soft-boiled eggs. I can still remember the sound of the spoon against the egg shell as my mom carefully split it apart and scooped out the yummy innards. And finally… what we called “cinnamon toast.” Really, it was just $0.69 loaf bread that my mom smeared with butter and sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top. Popped in the oven for less than 4 minutes yielded not quite “toast,” but rather a yummy treat that melted in your mouth. I have not enjoyed any of these in years. Maybe the next cold day that comes along…

    • Carrie says:

      “Cinnamon Toast” sounds delicious. Warm sweet bread is a perfect treat. My husband makes cinnamon toast for breakfast every so often but he actually toasts the bread. I prefer more of the warm soft middle than the crunch of the toast.

  4. Paulette Gardner says:

    Pickled Tomatoes
    2 Gallons Water
    1 Cup Kosher Salt
    A handful of pickling spices
    A bunch of dill
    A couple of inches of horseradish cut into chunks

    Boil salt and water and let cool to room temperature.

    Put tomatoes into jar. I use a large one gallon jar to start. Pour in cooled salted water, pickling spices and horseradish. Top with dill and leave on the counter for about 3days or up to a week when all tomatoes have turned. You can tell by the color. Put into smaller jars and cover with the liquid. Discard the dill and place in frig.

    To make dill pickles use the same recipe without the horseradish.
    For pickles place in frig when they get to be where you want them new, half done or real done.

    Last year I ate the pickles almost to this summer. They will last.


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