Country Cuisine

Country Cuisine

Being from the Midwest, I got snippets of these dishes at Thanksgiving and Christmas, the two food holidays we still celebrate in Indiana. The majority of the time my parents got takeout or threw together who knows what to feed my sister and I, but Thanksgiving and Christmas, these were the days of mashed potatoes, turkey, ham, pies, green beans, breads, jams, and gravies. These were the days that the food of the Midwest, what I like to think of as country cuisine, were truly enjoyed by my family.

Where did it go?

Food is an indicator of culture. In the past sixty years or so, we have watched America slip into industrialization. While it has been a magnificent boost for our economy in much of that time, we find ourselves becoming disconnected with the way things were done in the past. As industrialization has progressed, so has our reliance on its products. Many of my non-culinary friends regularly feast on Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine brands of take home meals. These meals are so devoid of anything resembling nutrients and flavor that I began to wonder what people in the Midwest used to eat, and if there was anything we could do for a return to that.

Bringing it Back

Doing some more research, I found a book entitled “The Country Kitchen” by Jocasta Innes. This tome contains much of the knowledge and practices lost by the Midwestern cook over the past century. Ranging from cheesemaking to charcuterie, brewing and breadmaking, along with preserving and dairy practices, make this a little more than a cookbook for me. It is an instruction guide for a return to the way the people of my culture used to prepare food. My goal with this book is to use many of its resources, recommendations, and recipes to prepare a meal for my friends on this upcoming Thanksgiving. With a menu of fresh breads, biscuits, preserves, smoked meats, roasted birds, and mashed potatoes to name just a few of the dishes, I think we will be going in the right direction.

As an American, I feel conflicted regarding our cuisine. In New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Chicago, we are culinary leaders of the world. Restaurants like Le Bernadin, Momofuku, Blue Hills Stone Farms, Bouchon, and others throughout the country help to lead the way in the world of food. But it’s the other 90% of the country that causes the world to laugh at us. Eating frozen cardboard microwaved in plastic every night, or running to McDonald’s for food that contains just as many hormones as it does vitamins. If we could just have a few hard-working people in the Midwest working to re-educate people on their food heritage, maybe then we would see a decrease in people’s dependence on processed foods.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            4 Program(s) Found
            Auguste Escoffier Schools of Culinary Arts , Online (campus option available)
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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            Good for Working Adults
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            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.