I think this cover says it all! Have a close look, and you’ll see a sleek contemporary kitchen, a chic chef… or is she a chef, hugging chickens and petting rabbits as she does? Don’t mistake it. She knows where her food comes from!
The Urban Homesteading Cookbook: Forage, Farm, Ferment and Feast for a Better World by Michelle Catherine Nelson is an interesting blend of lifestyle book with recipes.
The preface, by Carol Pope, opens with this line:
Can you actually improve the world by what you eat?
A first sentence that is right up my alley, so I knew I was in good hands. But I daresay Nelson is far more adventuresome than I am. Of course, I’ve spent much of my adult life on a farm (or at least in a small town), not an urban environment. Who knew you could forage in the city? This is a concept I’ll be exploring more in Wishes on Wildflowers, Jasmine Santoro’s story, book 4 of the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, scheduled for a summer of 2017 release.
Nelson affirms that not only can you forage, but you can keep microlivestock: rabbits, quail, fish, and crickets… what? Crickets? While you can feed them to your fowl or fish, you can also dry and grind them into a protein-rich flour. She offers a recipe for chocolate cupcakes from cricket flour. If you try them, let me know!
She admits to having spent years wishing she could live on the farm as her grandmother did, but being stuck in the city of Vancouver, BC. She dreamed of that future day and planned for what she would do One Day. And one day she decided it was time. Right then. Right there, where she was… a 400-square-foot urban apartment with a balcony.
Homesteading doesn’t have to be defined by where we live, but rather by the choices we make. It’s about slowing down and taking the time to do it yourself. About empowering ourselves to do what we think is right, for ourselves, for the environment, and for the animals that provide our food — which often doesn’t fit with the status quo of industrialized agriculture. By making a few choices with regard to how we eat, we can be more self-sufficient, humane and sustainable all at the same time. And, perhaps best of all, with just a little effort, along with the satisfaction of doing it yourself, urban homesteading rewards you with sophisticated and impressive meals to enjoy.
What kind of of “sophisticated and impressive meals?” Brown Butter Fiddleheads with Caramelized Cattail Shoots. Rabbit Pate with Oyster Mushrooms. Dark & Stormy Chocolate Cupcakes with Cricket Flour. Wild Blackberry Sparkling Cider. And more for a total of 85 recipes.
How many of these have I tried, or will I try? I’m not sure. So far I’m at zero. 😉 As I get deeper into the world of the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, I think I’ll have to try a few of them… but I may not be up for the cricket flour.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever eaten?
Linda Rainey. says
Hi Valerie,I grew up in Mexico and since everything was cooked with Chile I am sure I ate something unknown.
I know I tried tripe,yuck
Valerie Comer says
There are all kinds of slightly weird things, and plenty of VERY weird things. I’m not sure the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten. Maybe the alligator we had in Florida, but I know that’s not weird to some people!
Katy C. says
That sounds really interesting. I’m excited to read more Urban Farm Fresh romances too. I feel like I can incorporate (really) small things from the original series but anything urban is definitely more practical at the moment.
The recipes all sound great…though I don’t think I could handle grinding crickets….I would however be willing to try the cupcakes if someone else did the cricket grinding. =)
I’ve had baked meal worms with cheddar flavoring…they tasted like the flavoring. And snails! I know escargot isn’t really that uncommon…but it was strange. I would not choose to eat snails again, but if they were ever served to me I could eat them again.
Valerie Comer says
Good for you trying the meal worms. I think you are definitely ahead of me in bravery! I’ve had escargot once and, like you, I have no huge need to do it again!
Iola Goulton says
Interesting concept, but she can keep the crickets.
I’m lucky enough to live in an area where a lot of our food is locally grown, including the honey. Although I do buy some imported foods – there is no local equivalent to genuine Canadian Maple Syrup!
Valerie Comer says
I agree on the Canadian maple syrup! Which isn’t particularly local for us either, as we live in the west, and the maple syrup industry is in the east. We eat other imported foods as well, but reading labels and tags has been eye-opening and sometimes sobering.