Tasty Salad Greens, Vinegar, Olive Oil, Ancient Romans… What’s Not to Love?

Today we think we ‘re hot stuff with our ‘spring salad mixes’ and unusual flavors of vinegar, not to mention the latest gourmet salt craze. But… I suspect the ancient Roman salad would surpass ours when it comes to taste. Imagine… ancient olive oil. Long ago, these Mediterranean people were tossing their salad greens with olive oil and vinegar and by the 1300’s, salads had become so trendy, English cooks had over fifty varieties of greens to choose from, including crispy, sweet, bitter and butter lettuces. English housewives were very creative with their salads, sprinkling them with herbs and spices and tossing violets into them. Mouth-wateringly good… what’s for dinner?

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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Russian Draft Dodgers Made History…

Spaniards brought wheat to the New World in 1520 and during the 1600’s, English Colonists grew it, or tried to, but it didn’t work out. Thanks to the Mennonites who settled in Pennsylvania, we have a history of wheat being successfully grown in America. Not that other pockets of Colonists didn’t succeed with their wheat fields but unstable weather, storms and pestilence ravaged crops everywhere, including Pennsylvania. But in the 1870’s when Russian immigrants came in great numbers to the Midwest and Oklahoma and Texas, bringing wheat strains from Turkey and the Crimea, we experienced the birth of American wheat. These wheat strains worked well in these states because the climate was similar to that in Turkey and the Crimea. What’s that got to do with draft dodgers? Besides seeking religious freedom, many of these Russians immigrated to avoid joining the military. Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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1950’s Advice For Women

When I was a teenager, growing up in the 1960’s, my mother gave me this advice: “When you get married make sure you comb your hair right away when you wake up in the morning, so you’ll look nice for your husband.” Good advice for anyone, male or female. But here’s a good one I ran across while reading an old essay about homemaking. “Look pretty, even when you are sweeping the floor. You will feel less tired at the end of the day than if you wear drab garments.” Oh… don’t we wish!

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

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The Canary in the Coal Mine? No. The Passenger Pigeon

If you’ve never seen a picture of a passenger pigeon, look it up. They were very beautiful. They key word here is were. They’re all gone now, every single one, because they were not appreciated. I guess they made good eating and were sometimes a nuisance, and when shooting guns became all the rage, there were insensitive people who shot the poor birds just for sport. We take it for granted, these beautiful earthly gifts, when they’re in abundance. When Europeans, Africans and Middle Easterners came to the New World, they were dazzled by the diversity of our feathered friends. Passenger pigeons, now extinct, were so numerous along the Mississippi, they were known to block the sunlight for hours.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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Leaching Acorns… Ratio Of Water To Acorns

When leaching acorns, the ratio of water to acorns is important. Acorns are rather starchy and when they’re dry, they soak up a lot of water. I probably use more water than is necessary but I usually say 3 parts water to one part acorns. For example, if you have one cup of acorns, I recommend using at least three cups of water when you put them into the blender to leach them. That’s probably enough. It’s fine if you use more water than that. If you have several cups of acorns, only grind one cup at a time. And don’t forget to take the shells off first!  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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Preparing Acorns… How Long Do They Need To Leach?

How long you leach acorns depends on the type of oak tree the acorns came from and where they came from. Tanoak acorns from along the California coast may only take a week to leach the tannic acid enough to be edible. Valley oaks in the Sierra Nevada may take two weeks or more while Valley Oak acorns closer to California’s coast may only take a week to remove the tannic acid. It’s a good idea to become familiar with the acorns you have access to. There’s so much tannic acid in acorns, it takes awhile for them to go bad, especially when you change the water regularly, so there’s no fear of leaving them leaching in the refrigerator for two weeks so that enough tannic acid is leached and they won’t give you digestive upset. Once you remove most of the tannic acid, they are great to cook with. You haven’t lived until you try acorn chocolate cake.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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Leaching and Grinding Acorns… Do You Remove the Shells?

I gather acorns. After I gather them, I usually like to put them in a pretty basket and put them on the kitchen table for all to see. They are so beautiful! They aren’t nuts but the shells are hard to crack. It seems really obvious to me that like nuts, you remove the shells before you prepare to eat them. But a lot of people are not tuned into acorns (yet) and without thinking they will ask me if you have to remove the shells. They are wondering if they can just throw the whole acorn into the blender (I shell, then grind in a blender.) I always get a little smile on my face. Throwing unshelled acorns into a blender is like throwing unshelled walnuts in there. Clunk. Broken blender. So yes, you need to first remove the shells from acorns before you put them in the blender, with water, to begin the leaching process.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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Are Acorns an Aphrodisiac?

You know what? I’ve read that acorns are “sexually strengthening.” I read that in an old herbal. The book mentioned acorns and oats as being sexually strengthening. I guess that’s what they mean when they say, “he’s feeling his oats.” Actually, oats must be really good for you. I have a horse and he gets frisky when he eats oats. But as far as acorns are concerned, I also read that the naturalist, John Muir, said that he found the bread that Northern California Indian women made for him “strengthening.” So that’s twice I saw that, but mind you, both of those were in the “olden days.” But… next time you see an oak tree with acorns lying on the ground, you might want to pick them up… it wouldn’t hurt to try.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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Arabic Agriculturalists Tried but Were Not Successful… the Proof is in the Coffee

You cannot blame Arabic agriculturalists for trying to maintain their hold on the coffee trade. During the medieval era there was a tremendous amount of botanical espionage and thievery. Delicious Arabian coffee from Mocha, with its stimulating effect, must have brought a good price, and lust from European countries who wanted in on the lucrative crop. But Arab coffee growers did their best to prevent competition. They dipped coffee seeds into boiling water to prevent them from germinating. But one day, the Dutch got their hands on some untampered seeds and began their own coffee plantations. The rest is history.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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Don’t Be Fooled by Coconut Oil… It’s a Saturated Fat… Like Cream

Coconut oil is everywhere these days, including natural foods stores. It’s popular with food manufacturers because it offers a non-dairy alternative for vegans and it has a better resistance to spoilage, NOT because it’s low fat. Coconut oil is an extremely saturated fat, like cream. If you wish to avoid saturated fats, watch out for Macadamia nuts because they are roasted in coconut oil, which is probably why people always say, “They’re so fattening!” Coconut oil is fabulous in shampoo and for dry skin but be careful, just because you find it in a “health food store,” doesn’t mean it’s the correct food for you to ingest.  Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

Poor Jonny's Cover