Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I Learned at Culinary School: One Month In

One month into her year-long program at the L'Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, past Sustainable Food for Thought member Janene Flanagan shares her freshly acquired kitchen wisdom:

NEVER use non-stick cookware.
Burns happen. Arms, Hands, Fingers. Get over it.
Be nice to your dishwashers. They are your friends.
Don't be scared, it's only cooking not brain surgery.
When in doubt, strain it.
Julia Child was brilliant.
Hollandaise can be too hot, too cold, too thick or too thin, know how to make it perfectly.
Things you think that are going to be hard aren't.
Things you think that are going to be easy are impossible.
Hydrate. Drink more water than you think you can bare.

Whisk faster.
You don't need measuring cups or spoons ever ever (when you're cooking).
You need measuring cups or spoons always always (when you're baking).
Don't forget to remove your nose ring. Ooops.
Most personalities on television have no idea how to cook "properly." Who knew?!
Use cream, not milk. Use stock, not water.
Make your own stock. It's 100 times better than store bought. So is salad dressing, and mayonnaise, and everything else for that matter. Make it.
Smile and pretend you know what your talking about when presenting menus.
Memorize your mother sauces. In fact memorize everything.
Salt and pepper are the most important seasonings. Invest in a pepper grinder and a salt pig.
Don't touch your face. Sneeze in your arm. Wear your hat. Keep your towel in your sights at all times or you might never see it again.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Keep telling yourself it can only get easier, even though you know its a total lie.

Salted butter is an absolute no no.
Your never too old to learn something new.
Taste everything.
Your Chef's Knife should be the most expensive tool in your kitchen. Pony up.
Keep your knives sharp. Have plenty of bandages on hand.
Learn French.
Etuvee, Mise en Place, Liaison, Panade, Nappe, Fraisage, Peler A Vif, Chiffonade.... know it yesterday because tomorrow there will be two dozen more in their place to know.


Janene Flanagan pulled up her Portland roots in 2010 to venture into the wild eastern lands of Washington D.C. Prior to her move, she participated in Sustainable Food for Thought's Food Group and shared candidly her hesitations in the kitchen. Since then, she's settled with her husband Patrick into their East Coast season and has turned a fantastic new culinary leaf! We wish her all the best over the next eleven months of school...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer PDX Food Swap: July 30, 2011

Announcing our Summer 2011 Portland Hand Crafted Food Swap!
Hosted by Sustainable Food for Thought at Abby's Table in SE Portland

To RSVP for our July 30th Swap, read below and send us an email. There are only 35 swapping spaces being released at this time, so RSVP early to claim your spot...

Invite Friends & Spread the Word:

After putting up, whipping up, drying, canning, soaking, mixing, stacking, sorting, and setting aside, come celebrate by bringing your favorite creations to swap with fellow Portland foodies.

A Food Swap is part silent auction/part village marketplace/part fun-loving open house where your homemade creations (breads, preserves, special concoctions, canned goods, etc.) become your own personal currency for use in swapping with other participants. What better way to diversify your pantry and rub shoulders with friend and neighbors?

When: Saturday, July 30th, 2011, 7pm-9pm

Where: Abby's Table, 609 SE Ankeny Street, Portland, OR 97214

Bring an assortment of your homemade edible specialties to exchange for other handcrafted delights. Sustainable Food For Thought will provide swapping cards, name tags, and organization for the event. You will be given the opportunity to offer trades in a silent-auction type format, and you will be free to choose which trades to accept for your products. Bring as much or as little as you like; there are no caps or minimums.

Pacific Northwesterners {aka the Willamette Valley, the Portland Metro Area, and our Neighbors to the North}. Please note, we are unable to provide childcare for this event.

Swap participants will be given free entry; a donation jar will be available to help cover the cost of supplies. (Or, better yet, donate one of your hand crafted goods!)


a) RSVP to

Please provide your name, contact info, and a description of items you plan to trade.
Due to limited space, we are capping the number of swappers at 35 and will keep a waiting list after that, so register early.

b) On Saturday the 30th, please bring your hand crafted goods + a contribution to the appetizer potluck.

c) Simple as that! We’re so excited to meet one another and celebrate the bounty of the seasons and the fruits of our labor~

{A Very Kind Thank-You}
To the following inspirations and collaborators:

Kate Payne at The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking
Check out the directory of fabulous swaps popping up around the world, grown from the original inspiration of #BKSwappers in Brooklyn, NY!

{Looking Forward to Seeing You There!}
If you have additional questions, please be in touch with Bethany

Mini PDX Food Swap Documentary }

Want to receive updates on future swaps?
Like the PDX Swappers Facebook Page

Thursday, July 7, 2011

So Many Farewells: Limbo is No More

One of my absolute favorite shopping spots in Portland closed its doors this past weekend.

Thanks to irresistible pricing + ingenuity in the kitchen, their $1.00 bags amounted to loaves of banana bread, mango popovers, easy salads, and more than a few random, nameless, nutritious and frugal veggie dishes in the Rydmark house.

Their lovely wall of spices paved the way for our adventures in home blended SE Asian spice mixes.

Just last month, I snatched a sweet bag of Lemon Twist tea for a Farewell-to-Spring-Hello-to-Summer party.

Little did I know I'd be treasuring the last few ounces.

Eleven year Limbo employee, Joshua Stephens, plans to open Stone Cottage Herbs to sell spices online.

Their grand opening is coming soon, and I just registered with the new site.

So many things change quickly in life.

Savor the familiar while it is here.

Look forward to the future...


Sunday, July 3, 2011

July's Food Group & Bon Voyage to Emily Pastor

Hi friends,

Food Group this July will be a little different than in the past.

Sustainable Food for Thought co-founder, Emily Pastor, will be moving to Chicago at the beginning of August with her husband, Paul and daughter, Elaia (and their baby-on-the-way due in late November), as Paul takes a one year editorial internship with a magazine publication.

This quick transition for their family and for Sustainable Food for Thought means that future plans for SFT may take a different form over the coming months (though we're still planning the Summer PDX Food Swap).

We've so enjoyed spending time with each of you who have participated over the past years, and we're grateful for the ways we've learned and grown through each others' shared knowledge and experiences.

If you are able, please join us for our planned-on summertime reunion/conversation Food Group this Wednesday, July 6th, and we will also use the evening for a {last minute!} send-off for Emily.

Depending on how future plans unfold, this may be the last Food Group for a would be wonderful to see you there!

(Please be in touch with "maybe" and "yes" RSVPs...)

Bethany Rydmark


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