It really started with this book and then I found this a couple years ago. I couldn't stop looking at what all these people eat, especially the families with only a few ingredients and usually a large group of people. I saw who was eating what and how much it cost to feed how many people. I decided that I wanted to cook and eat closer to the peasant extreme than what the folks of the more developed countries were eating. It looked healthier, simpler and more delicious-er! Well...those were pretty big assumptions.
I started with beans and rice. I moved on to meats and their broths, and then potatoes and corn. I found some of these assumptions to be accurate: healthful, delicious food--with proper technique and practice, for certain. But is it simple--only by ingredient count. Cooking this way takes a lot of time. A lot. I can't just whip out some dried beans and a chuck roast and have it ready in 30mn. or even an hour. Although, once the components are made, very simple meals can be put together thereafter.
There is an expert on American peasant food, too. It is Clara. She has a YouTube series on depression cooking. I, of course, have watched them all many times...obsessively. She talks the whole time, too. There are two things that has said that I think of often: 1) We didn't have the conveniences you have now. (She was talking about a cutting board. Wow.) and 2) my mother was always in the kitchen. One episode is posted below, but there are many.
My other favorite "peasant" food cookbooks are:
- Safari Kitchen by Harva Hachten
- More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre
- Home Baking by Naomi Duguid
The last one, I recently borrowed from Erica. It made me realize something. I not only like the lifestyle and food of this kind of cooking, but the aesthetic. I love the aprons, the head scarfs, the mismatched floral print skirts and shirts. I LOVE it. I want to do it. Oh, and the village fire burning stoves they use. I found this and am hoping I can talk R into it this summer!!!