Monday, March 4, 2013

Hunting and Gatherering

As a food blogger, I keep one finger pressed to the pulse. What's new, what's in, what's hot, what's not? These are absorbing questions.

For example, coloured pants -- in.

Such observations require careful attention, not to mention foresight. You will note as you observe the Reems Eats blog that Haley and I are attune to these nuances. We maintain a cutting edge profile. For example, we considered embedding video, only to realize that was on the cusp of old, so we didn't. We thought about Twitter but then realized the conceptualization of Twitter was really a lot hipper than Twitter itself in its digital form, so we left it at that. Online is still in, so we've stayed onboard. We also figured we'd keep the blog format for now but we have noticed that older, back-to-the-orgin type trends are making a comeback, such as canning or growing potatoes or using a typewrite; so heck we might just jump that trend and swap the blog for a log and do the whole thing in calligraphy. We're not sure. We're just going to see where the whole thing goes.

In the meantime, another notable flashback trend is that of the hunter gatherer. Once a figure relegated to the Socials Studies textbook, the hunter gatherer has re-emerged as a present-day lifestyle option. Consider the word, 'forage.' It appears on menus: “wild foraged mushrooms.” Or is referred to as a past time, “foraging.”

But the hunter was never one to be outdone by the gatherer. Note who's name comes first (gather always follows hunter). Hunter has also returned to a place of prominence. Think bow and arrows. Think Hunger Games. Or tall green boots sold with accessorized socks. Friends tell me they'd like to hunt—fell a deer or two and stock their freezers. These are urban people, shades away from hipster. Maybe the hipsters aren't too far off. They're already in camo—dark muted tones. They blend into buildings or slouch against the rain-gray West-Coast sky. They tread with the practiced obscurity of the hunter.

Even he-who-shall-not-be-named-on-the-blog (my hubbie) is doing it. Bow, check. Arrows, check. Deer, check. He's kicking off slippers, dashing out the door, sprinting across the property in hot pursuit. Fear not, his arrows are capped.

In fact, I'm considering joining him and he's encouraging this line of thinking. He said I'd be useful in flushing out the prey. I imagine I could go springer spaniel style and dash into the under brush, yapping at deer hooves to angle the herd into the clearing. It's likely a good workout. If you've followed Reems Eats for any length of time, you've concluded that I'm always up for a good workout. Anyways, I think hunting could be a perfect opportunity. Although trapping—also a form of hunting—appears less cardiovascular. Perhaps if the trapline stretched over a number of miles I might receive something of a physical benefit. But perhaps I'll leave that for people in the Ozarks or those with snow and dogsleds. I read a pretty excellent Janet Oke novel in which the main character runs the trapline. She also always wears a braid in her hair. This is before she meets HIM and lets that braid loose and gives up the trapeline for more womanly pursuits. If you've read this novel and can recall the title, feel free to comment as I'd love to get my hands on it again.

On a what's-hot-what's-not note, Haley tells me that braids are in. She says a good place to stay abreast of hairstyles is Pintrest.

In the meantime, I've been gathering. To be honest, I prefer the status of the hunter position, as well as the thrill of the chase and the triumph of the kill but more and more in life I have come to realize that we don't choose our callings as much as we are chosen by them. It has fallen to me to gather. I gather for a few reasons. One is that once I've arrived home, I don't like to leave. This often puts me in the unfortunate position of having to scrape a meal from what's left in the fridge and the pantry. Also, I've recently learned I'm an under-buyer (read the Happiness Project to find out where you lie in the under-buyer over-buyer spectrum). As an under-buyer, I refuse to stock up. I refuse to buy all the essentials. I make do. I scrape, I salvage, I improvise. Which is exactly what I was preparing to do the other day when my eyes chanced across Julia Child's quiche formula in Food and Wine (thanks again, Haley, for the birthday subscription). Julia's great for supplying the bones of a recipe. She instructs you as to the technique and the essentials and allows you to fill in the gaps. I followed Julia to a bacon quiche. You might choose squash. Or better yet, bacon squash. Whatever. See what's in the fridge. Or if you have a herb pot, poke in there.

This quiche is part of the weeknight dinner series. Haley and I are sharing stuff we make in the week that's easy and tasty and fun. The quiche is easy if you keep pie dough in the freezer. You can make your own pastry or buy it from the grocery store. Either will be delicious. I always forget how good quiche is and whenever I've made it I think I should do it more often. It also makes for excellent lunch leftovers.

Julia's Quiche

Adapted from the March Edition of Food and Wine

For the pastry:
Roll out a 1 layer pie dough. Once you've settled it into a pie pan, cover it with a piece of buttered foil or a piece of parchment paper. Fill the pie with dried beans. Yes, beans. You're not going to eat them; they are simply to weigh down the pastry and make sure it doesn't puff up with baking. Bake at 450 for ten minutes. Remove the foil and the weights and bake for another 7 to 8 minutes until it is very lightly browned.

For the custard:
Crack 3 large eggs into a large glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to reach the 1 and ½ cup mark. Add some salt and pepper and whisk.

Place half a cup cheese and your filling (in my case two strips fried and then chopped bacon. Chard is also nice or squash. Whatever you chose be sure to cook it first) in the bottom of the cooked pie pastry. Pour the custard in. The custard should reach ¼ inch below the top of the pie shell. If it doesn't crack another egg into the measuring cup and add enough milk as to equal ½ a cup. Beat that together and add it to the quiche. Top with quiche with a little more cheese if you'd like (I don't usually but I'm trying to make your quiche extra good).

Bake the quiche at 375 for about 30 minutes or until set and browned.


  1. ah, the Reems girls, I guess it's not shocking how trendy you turned out considering the trails I blazed. Permed bangs? Check. Frosted pink lippy? Check. Floral short-alls? Check check.

    At least in the food department I hit it right. Kismetly I was going to make quiche tonight but alas, my egg lady was not home today, as I stood woefully waiting at her door with my change scraped from the bottom of my purse and mini van (Jose if you're reading this I need 2 dozen)

  2. That was a late night comment and I have more things to say. First of all I think one of us owned that Janet Oke, it might be in the depths of my crawl space, but I feel like it was probably yours, as I had my personal Oke collection memorized at a young age: Love Comes Softly, Books 1 -6 Marty and Clark, maybe A Woman Named Damaris? Nope, no hunters there, only desperate single female pioneers. They should have got a bow. Sonja Myhre?

    I also love that your braided hunter example harkened back to both Janet and Katniss, demonstrating the wide range of your reading on the topic (though I feel like you're property has both a Hunger Games and an Oke-ish feel, depending on the day). Also, I love the image of you and C hunting, albeit with capped arrows. I'd love to hear how that plays out with the garden this spring.

    1. Hey Haley -- Yes, one of us did own that Janet Oke. I want to say it was me but that could be an example of how I tend to put myself at the center of our shared memories.

      Look forward to hearing what you're up to in the kitchen!