MAY 15, 1998
Again, we thank our readers for their comments, especially Tiffany’s, who gave us the inspiration for this letter. Her Email and our reply follow:
|—–Original Message—–To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for the great newsletter! I was wondering if there is a book that you suggest for beginning macro cooking that shows how to set up a balanced meal…yet also describes the ideas and ways of eating macrobiotic. I have some great macro cookbooks, but a bit complicated. Also, do you have any suggestions for how to make it more affordable? (most health stores in NYCity are way expensive!)
Thanks for your kind words about our fledgling letter. Thanks too, for suggesting a topic for our next letter. Rosanna is hands-on every day and we devote a good deal of time and energy into buying what we and our guests consume.
Look for your letter and our response as an introduction to the next letter. We are planning to carry some books that address macrobiotic topics in our online bookstore which is being developed as a continuation of one that James has operated for some years. The old one can be accessed at our website by clicking on the bookstore tab. We should have the new, macro inclusive version going in a month or two. We are just now deciding which titles to include at first and will keep you posted.
James McCaig & Rosanna Martella
Yes, it can be quite expensive to eat macro and we have learned to keep an eye on the cost, without compromising on quality. The two main avenues to pursue savings are in the purchase of food and in its storage. Many health food stores do not have the volume of business to support reasonable prices for their customers. We buy products such as beans and grains (and anything that has a long shelf life) in bulk quantities. For example, we buy rice in 25 or 50 pound bags. We do business with commercial vendors who often are the suppliers to local health food stores.
One of the long range benefits that we are considering for our subscribers is that we, together, could have considerable pooled purchasing power and might negotiate much better food prices for our readers. We know from experience that most of what we see in the health food stores is marked up heavily. Condiments and other specialty items carry even higher profit margins. We understand they are specialty items and don’t command the shelf space in the supermarkets that Coca Cola and other such popular products enjoy.
Here in the Mid Atlantic area of the Eastern US we are just coming to the time of abundance. There are many local gardeners who are now offering fresh organic produce and some will deliver it, or have it on stands, corners of markets, etc.. Also, if the garden is not organic, talk with the local producer. Maybe they only use certain things that wouldn’t be all that harmful, especially when you weigh the advantage of freshness for something that is produced locally.
We also talk with health store operators and request discounts for large orders. Very substantial savings can be realized in this way. Many in the US are forming food co-ops with family and neighbors to increase their negotiating power.
If you live in a large Metropolitan area, you may have a Chinese section. If so, many of the seaweed products, toasted sesame oil especially, and other necessities will be available in Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese stores. It takes a while to search them out and figure out the packaging, but this can be very worthwhile. We have even found the exact same products as in health food stores at substantial discounts in these shops. We establish a relationship with the owners, where we can, and use their expertise to help us buy what we need. These stores are also excellent sources for vegetables and greens that are so expensive in US super markets, for example, Daikon Radish, Bok Choy and Sprouts.
Most cities have an area where wholesale business is transacted with the operators of local stores and restaurants. Here fish and vegetables are brought fresh each day. Here too, you may find us a couple of times a week. We are near Philadelphia, where merchants from around the globe send their fresh wares every day, so our choice is wide.
We have a garden and this is really worth the trouble. It’s also good exercise, although we have machines and good tools to reduce the work. Nothing tastes better than produce, picked minutes before being cooked and served. We feed our garden with compost and we’ll see how it goes. This is the first year for this plot, so we don’t have any great expectations, but we are hopeful and will nourish the soil based on how things grow.
Care must be exercised in the handling of your food. A second refrigerator, if possible, can be a wise investment. Organic grains and beans attract moths and other little creatures who also appreciate the benefits of fresh, untreated food. The easiest way to win this battle is to put the food in a second refrigerator or if not cold, use especially well sealed containers to keep your investment safe and fresh. It’s a question of swimming upstream and coming a little closer to the source. The food is fresher and less expensive. Get friends involved, it can be good fun!
Pursuant to the discussion on economizing while eating macro, a sobering view is presented in the article below that makes us wonder if the world will begin to change quite rapidly and people will be forced to take another look at the way our nutritional resources are used and distributed. Then on to the MAIN MEAL for this issue.
|U.S. FOOD PRODUCTION THREATENED
BY RAPID POPULATION GROWTH
David and Marcia Pimentel
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1 carrot, sliced matchstick style
1 Medium Onion, diced
1 Cup, or a little less, Daikon, sliced thinly
½ Cup Parsnip shavings
1 Cup Broccoli flowers (Rosanna says break the broccoli so it looks like little trees)
¼ cup soaked, diced Wakame Seaweed
10 Cups spring water
3 Tablespoons Barley Miso, or to taste if you prefer a little more
Put water and first four ingredients above in pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Add Broccoli and Wakame and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat as low as possible and add diluted (with a little of the broth) Miso. Cook for 3 minutes and serve.
2 ears fresh corn, cut from the cob
1 Cup Pearled Barley
2 Cups Medium Grain Brown Rice
Pinch of salt
3 Cups Spring Water
Gomasio (a condiment made of Sesame Seed and Salt) one day we will write about Gomasio and its preparation and use.
Wash grains and mix with corn. Add water and bring to a boil, add salt, cover, reduce heat (it’s best to use a flame deflector) and cook 45 – 50 minutes. Serve, topped with Gomasio.
1 ½ cups beans, washed and soaked overnight
1 Medium Onion, diced
3 inch piece Kombu sea vegetable
1 Carrot, cut into medium size chunks
1 or 2 cups Calabata Squash, diced (you may substitute with another orange squash)
½ cup Parsnip chunks
3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
Put Kombu in bottom of clay cooking pot and add Onion layer. Next, add a layer of Carrots, then Parsnips and Squash on top. Then add drained Beans and enough water to cover the beans, bring to a boil then lower heat to simmer. Rosanna prefers to use the “shock method” for cooking these beans. She adds ¼ cup or more of water at a time as the level of the water goes below the beans. This has the effect of stopping the boiling and when boiling resumes (still using low heat) and water is lost, add cold water again to shock the beans. Cook this way for about ¾ hour, then add Soy Sauce and stir the top 1/3 of the beans, without disturbing the vegetables. Cook another 15 minutes, or until the beans are soft. Then stir and serve.
Carrots, Onions and Peas
1 Onion, chopped in big squares
3 Cups fresh Peas
2 Carrots, thinly sliced into half moons (split lengthwise and sliced)
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
Heat oil in frying pan. Over high heat, add Onions, sauté for few minutes, add Peas keeping heat high until Peas are hot. Put on lid and lower heat to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add Carrots and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add a few drops of Soy Sauce.
2 Carrots, sliced matchstick
1 cup Daikon matchsticks
Romaine Lettuce, one small head
2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
½ cup Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 Tablespoons Umeboshi Vinegar
Wash and chop roots. Tear or chop lettuce into small pieces. Add salt and toss. Put into pot so lid just fits and will slide down as salad is pressed. Put weight on lid and press for 1 hour. Wash to remove salt and drain in colander. Put into bowl and add two tablespoons Umeboshi Vinegar. Mix well and serve with roasted Pumpkin Seeds on top.
1 Bunch Kale, washed and broken into small pieces
1 Cup Water
Put water in pot with lid on and bring to a boil. When good steam is generated, add Kale and cook for 1 minute.
As often as 2 or 3 times per week, Rosanna serves dessert. Today’s special treat was
Strawberry Custard with Tofu Cream
2 Tablespoons Tahini (Sesame seed butter)
3 Cups of sliced Strawberries
1 ½ heaped Tablespoons Kuzu (for desserts especially, don’t substitute Arrowroot)
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
½ cup hot spring water
Place the juice in the pot and add Agar-Agar, broken into small pieces. Cook on medium low flame until Agar-Agar is dissolved. While this is cooking, clean and slice the strawberries and spread them in a shallow serving dish. Work Tahini into the hot water a little at a time and work it so it is smooth and creamy. Pour it into the juice mixture when Agar-Agar is melted. Mix Kuzu with 2-3 tablespoons cold water and add with the Vanilla and stir over medium flame until the mixture begins to boil. Pour over the strawberries and let the mixture cool and set up.
4 Tablespoons Walnut Oil
½ cup Apple Juice
3 Tablespoons Agar-Agar flakes
½ Tablespoon grated Lemon Rind
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
Blanch the block of Tofu for a few minutes and let it cool down. Put Tofu, sweetener, oil and salt into the blender and set aside. Bring Juice and Agar-Agar flakes to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until Agar-Agar dissolves, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and pour into the Tofu mixture with the lemon rind and the vanilla. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy, then set aside until it thickens. When it has almost set, blend it again. Chill before serving and blend again before using. Serve in parfait glasses with Custard first and Cream on top. Top it with a beautiful strawberry and watch your guest’s eyes light up.
Rosanna and James
“What you are is what you have been. What you will be is what you do now.”
“Believe nothing, o monks, merely because you have been told it …or because it is traditional, or because you yourselves have imagined it.
Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher.
But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings – that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.”
– Gautama Buddha