Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good Home Cooking: Lunch at Abram Demaree Farm

Good home cooking. Just those words warm my heart. So do visits to the farm. Supporting small farms in our communities is a big part of my American dream. A photo of a farm, Abram Demaree in Closter, New Jersey, is in my blog header. The land has been continuously farmed since the 1750s. I lunch there regularly with my mother.

Abram Demaree serves up no-fuss comfort food. Most people take it to-go, but I like to stay and linger. I've blogged about this farm before, but it's worth going back. Here are some of my memorable meals.

My favorite sandwich: the tomato mozzarella basil pesto panini with a special that day: corn pudding baked in a summer tomato, a creation of June. She's the most charming lady in her eighties who works there who is like your grandmother who knows just the food to sooth your soul.

Vegetarian split pea soup and spinach Swiss quiche with apple cider. I also love their potato leek soup and tomato rice soup.

Baked macaroni and cheese.

Grilled cheese and tomato. How about a little history note from foodtimeline?

"Culinary evidence suggests our modern grilled cheese (consisting of processed cheese and sliced white bread) began in the 1920s. That's when affordable sliced bread and inexpensive American cheese hit the market. Government issue cookbooks tell us World War II Navy cooks broiled hundreds of "American cheese filling sandwiches" in ship's kitchens. This makes sense. The sandwich was economical, easy to make, met government nutrition standards AND (if done right?) quite tasty. In the 1940s and 50s these sandwiches were open-faced and usually made with prepackaged grated "American" cheddar cheese. It wasn't long before school cafeterias and other institutional kitchens followed suit. The usual accompaniment? Tomato soup. At that time, tomato soup would have been perceived as a healthy dose of Vitamin C. Excess sodium was not an issue.

By the 1960s, the top piece of bread became standard. The reason is not clear. Possibly? This was the least expensive way to make a popular sandwich more filling."

Coffee ice cream to cool off on a hot summer day. We bring our own silverware to avoid the plastic waste. Every little bit helps!

A baked apple.

June's heavenly warm peach crisp.

Her flan and pumpkin cheesecake on a gingersnap crust, both on the specials that day. We still reminisce about these.

I think of the term "farm to table" and how much I hear it, but the question is why did we stop eating farm to table and our daily food consumption was overtaken by chemists, not farmers? When did all of these unpronounceable ingredients take up such a large part of our diet? I myself take a lot of help from Trader Joe's but want to cook from scratch more. In the meantime, good home cooking at the farm (and from my mom) feeds my hungry body and grateful spirit.

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