Plowman's Dinner

Plowman’s Dinner

This was dinner a couple weeks ago. Kind of an eclectic menu. Which is why I bring it up.

  1. Raw carrots.
  2. Raw radishes.
  3. Yogurt cheese.
  4. Bottle of wine.
  5. Pickled garlic.
  6. One whole chicken sourced humanely from a nearby farm, brined overnight and baked: tender, juicy; and the salt and herbs of the brine penetrate all the way into the muscle. (That night I made a bone broth of the carcass and canned it for later.)
  7. Stuffed green olives.

This is one of the aspects I like best about doing the real food thing. When your kitchen consists mostly of fundamental ingredients — some from the store, some from the garden, a lot of it stuff you fermented or otherwise put up ahead of time — the menu unpredictably runs the gamut.

The above is what I happened to drum up while rummaging around fridge and cupboards looking for stuff to eat that sounded good on that particular night. I like that the result is simple and oddball, and how taken together, it works.

I like how some meals end up extravagantly beautiful. Like this spontaneous red and green salad with romano cheese, dried cranberries, sliced almonds and homemade vinaigrette, plus sun tea.

Red and Green Salad

I like that on off nights, the fallback is homemade macaroni and cheese (pasta with cheesy béchamel), probably with some sliced tomatoes and more pickled garlic thrown in, because why the hell not.

Or, like last night’s dinner, pancakes, this time made with whey instead of milk, washed down with beer.*


* Living in Portland has had no effect on me.


What I’ve learned is this. As long as you love food, do cook, and use real (not highly-processed) ingredients, you’ll end up being a foodie without trying. It’s not that hard. It’s just homemade.

I like how meals such as these owe their creation to what a person knows and does, rather than to what they buy. I like that often the process is spontaneous, random and lazy. I like the whole gamut. Regardless of what we’re eating, I like that it stems from the moment and comes from our hands, from the things I create one day to enjoy some days later. I love being surrounded by an abundance that I’ve gathered and built, layer by layer, over time.

  • Sounds really wonderful. Slow food or home made food doesn’t have to take so much time and effort that it’s impossible to do day-to-day. With that said, it does take some foresight and planning. It’s not about perfection – which your eclectic dinner certainly shows. It’s about enjoying good food.

    • Right. And yeah, foresight and planning make a difference. You can always come up with *something* to eat, even in a nothing-instant kitchen, but when you don’t have anything prepped you do end up on the quirky and slapdash end of the gamut.