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September 23, 2014
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Cooking real food from scratch; Avoiding ‘edible food-like substances’

Encouraging people to cook real food from scratch was the author’s mission for many years at the Wayne County Farmers Market.
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Being an avid supporter of local farmers’ markets and eating real food cooked from scratch, I came to the conclusion over the years that people are not likely to patronize farmers’ markets or farm stands or start a garden if they don’t know how to prepare this kind of food. Sadly too many people have lost the basic skills our moms and grandmothers took for granted, relying instead on already prepared meals made by cooks at the local grocery store, on highly processed foods made by big manufacturing companies, or on fast foods eaten on the run (or in the car; did you know that 20% of food is eaten in the car?). What a shame that so many Americans have lost those basic cooking skills. No wonder so many are so hesitant to try some unfamiliar vegetable or some new recipe. (I’ve been told that the average home cook knows how to make about a dozen dishes that he or she makes and serves over and over again at family mealtime. This is why I like to encourage everyone to expand their cooking horizons. There is a whole exciting world of real food out there waiting to be discovered.)

To me, counting on fast food, manufactured/processed food, and other people cooking for me all the time would make me feel too vulnerable to food resources over which I have so little control. I want to know what’s in the food I eat; I don’t want to eat chemicals; I do want to eat food with more nutrition in it, i.e. food sold closer to the source that produced it; this includes not only local farmers, but also my own very small garden plot.

Recently I found a website I like a lot (www.sustainabletable.org), where my favorite section is called “real food, right now and how to cook it.” I encourage you to think about the idea of sustainable food, a sustainable kitchen, and to share your thoughts with us at The River Reporter.

Meantime, I’d like to share several recipes from nine years of cooking at the farmers’ market. It’s still there—located at the Wayne County Visitors Center, trackside at 32 Commercial St., Honesdale. Hours of operation are Saturdays starting at 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (or until the farmers sell out their produce for the day).

There’s also a mid-weed Wednesday farmers market from 4 to 7 p.m. at The Cooperage, 1030 Main St., Honesdale, and a market on Fridays in Hawley in Bingham Park from 2 to 5 p.m. For information about Sullivan County, NY’s many farmers’ markets, visit, www.sullivancountyfarmersmarkets.org/