anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘cooking

Andrea Bemis

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“…food is the center of our lives and connects us to our community, our landscape, and our homes.”

-Andrea Bemis

Farmer and author Andrea Bemis is dedicated to not just growing food, but helping people have a better connection to what they eat.

Bemis and I met in person last spring when we worked on a project together, but I had been a follower of her blog Dishing Up the Dirt for a long time. In 2008, Bemis and her boyfriend (now husband) Taylor were living in Bend, Oregon, when they decided to move to Massachussets to work on his family’s organic farm. After a few seasons, the West Coast was calling, and in 2012 they landed on a 6-acre plot of land near Parkdale, Oregon, which they lovingly named Tumbleweed Farm.

With her hands literally in the dirt, Bemis has taken her love of growing food and turned it into a platform for not just getting people excited about what they eat, but having a deeper connection to it. She wrote a cookbook with the same name as her blog, sharing her recipes and wisdom for what to do with local and seasonal ingredients. She started an initiative called Local Thirty, where for a month she committed to sourcing her food from a 200-mile radius: “local food from local dirt.” That spawned a documentary film following Bemis and her husband on their journey, meeting local producers along the way.

I think that Bemis is wise in her understanding of the soil and what it produces, and her understanding of community. She knows that food is not just something that we eat, it’s something that sustains us, physically and emotionally. It connects us to people and places, and the more that we honor that, the more enjoyment we get.

What does wisdom mean to you?

Wisdom to me means having empathy for other people.

Is there an influential woman in your life who passed along a piece of wisdom to you? Who and what?

My older sister is very wise. She’s strong, thoughtful and has always encouraged me to not judge others and always put myself in their shoes.

What does investing in local food bring to your life, both as a farmer and as an eater?
I believe food is the center of our lives and connects us to our community, our landscape, and our homes. Knowing how, where and who grows my food is something I am extremely passionate about. When you know your farmers you are rooted deeper into the place you call home and I think that is very powerful.

How do you see the local food movement growing over the next few decades?

I think people are so damn hungry for connection. I have to believe that the local food movement will grow. It’s a great way get to know one another and discover a bounty that is all our own. When we start looking around and talking to each other I think we’ll discover that we all have so much. It’s time to ditch convenience and start connecting with our neighbors, our landscapes and our homes.

What lessons have you learned from being a farmer?

Being a farmer has taught me about patience, discomfort, and perseverance. When you’re a farmer you give, and then you give some more, and just when you think you’ve got nothing left in your fuel tank the farm gives back, and rewards you with bountiful harvests that will not only feed your household or your community, but it finds its way to feed your soul.

What wisdom would you share with your younger self?

The wisdom I would share with my younger self is to always be kind, and more often than not, be kinder than necessary. With myself, my friends, strangers and acquaintances.

This papercut and profile are a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 28, 2019 at 09:36

Making French Socca

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The street food of Nice, the first time I actually ate socca was when my mother made it. Yeah, I don’t have your average culinary family. Since then I’ve had a strange obsession with it, having tracked it down from the one guy who makes it in all of Paris, to trying to master my own recipe.

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Written by Anna Brones

May 17, 2013 at 01:23

Bringing Travel into the Kitchen

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My latest over on Foodie Underground:

A freakish commitment to perfecting a recipe picked up while abroad might seem off, but don’t we all have food obsessions when we return from voyages? We come back from our travels, whether near or far with stories of “have you ever heard of [insert odd local dish here]?” and “they had the most amazing [insert normal dish] but with [insert oddball ingredient that is representative of the place traveled to here]. I wish we had that here!”

Ask someone which bus line they rode most often during a trip and you’ll get a blank stare, but ask about the best local meal and you’ll be sure to be listening to an animated story for a minimum of seventeen minutes. Food is often one of the biggest takeaways when we travel, be it just a half hour from home or on the other side of the world. That roadside diner with the house special sauce can be just as exotic as sambusas on a street corner in Kabul. Through food we experience a culture a people and a place. We are forced to stop and take things in, listen to our senses. It’s no surprise that the result is memorable.

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Written by Anna Brones

November 14, 2012 at 06:00

For the Love of Cookbooks and Roots

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When I was home earlier this summer, I asked my mother for a recipe. She pulled out her worn 3-ring binder. This binder is blue, has yellowed pages falling out of it and has sat in the same place on the bookshelf for as long as I can remember. In it are recipes scratched in her handwriting of her earlier years, additions by her sisters, and almost four decades’ worth of recipe inspiration ripped from magazines.

My natural instinct when I need a recipe is to go to that online thing that starts with G. For my mother, it’s to go to her recipe shelf. If it’s not in the blue book then there has to be a recipe that can be improvised on elsewhere among the culinary titles. In fact, it was only recently that she called to tell me that she was wondering about a specific recipe and went to her computer herself to search around the internet for it (normally she calls me and has me cull the pages and select a few links, her personal search engine so to say).

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Written by Anna Brones

September 26, 2012 at 08:45

Dirtbag Gourmet: Cooking for Your Date in the Great Outdoors

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It’s good when editors let you pitch the kind of articles that make you laugh. Which is why I am excited about my most recent post on the very respectable outdoor online magazine Adventure Journal, where I took a stab at the topic of food and love in the backcountry. It started as a conversation between friends on how to impress a date on a hike (“make your own trail mix!”) and resulted in this article:

If you can’t cook a decent meal in the backcountry, you’re destined for romantic failure. A way to anyone’s heart is often through his or her stomach, especially if you’re on the tail end of a grueling day outside. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Yeah, that will refuel the person you’re crushing on, but a homemade olive hummus wrap with sea salt? That might be the extra touch you need to turn adventure partner into your partner.

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Friday Photo: A Working Sink

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Sometimes funny things happen in the kitchen.

Written by Anna Brones

September 7, 2012 at 08:07

Are You Part of a Food Trend or Part of a Movement?

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This is the latest installment of my Foodie Underground column.

“I just had a Portland moment and only you will appreciate,” my friend said, calling from Tuscon in the middle of a Sunday.

“Ok, what?”

“Well, so we walked into this cute coffee shop and the first thing I thought to myself ‘I wonder where they roast their beans?'” she paused. “Who am I?”

At first thought I saw nothing wrong with this situation. Good coffee shops tend to sell good coffee, and if they’re really good, they’re probably running a coffee roasting operation in the back. Nothing weird there.

But at second thought, I realized what she meant. Most people, even those in coffee-centric cities, are probably more concerned with what coffee drink they’re going to buy than where the beans were roasted. We’re in the minority.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 12, 2012 at 06:49