A few years ago I started writing a monthly (actually, moonthly) eletter about my culinary adventures titled “Stirring the Cauldron.” I send it out right around the new moon each month, and use the old Farmers Almanac moon names as inspiration to write about the foods I love. Many of the traditional moon names relate to food — this is because the people were agricultural and EVERYTHING related to food! There was “The Egg Moon,” “The Sap Moon,” “The Hunger Moon,” etc.
Over the years the list has grown, my writing has developed, and last summer I got a contract with Chelsea Green Publishing Company to do a food book based on these moon names, and I am hard at work on it right now. The manuscript is due May 1, and the deadline is looming! The working title is “Thirteen Moons: Food and the Hunger for Connection.”
Also last summer, farmers Andy Griffin and Julia Wiley of Mariquita Farm in Watsonville invited me down to a fundraising event they were doing. Andy had a huge iron cauldron that was a family heirloom and he wanted me to take it out for a spin and, of course, stir it. So we made a big cauldron-ful of beans that were delicious, and Andy took the photo that is now on my profile page — of me stirring the cauldron.
A couple of months ago, Julia invited me to come down and teach a cooking class on the farm with that huge cauldron. The class is tomorrow! I’m getting ready for the drive down to Santa Cruz in the morning, and for the challenges of teaching very basic soupmaking techniques while trying to man (or woman) a cauldron over open burning fire that could easily hold 5 gallons or so of soup! Should be fun.
If you don’t know about Mariquita Farm, I highly recommend checking out their produce at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays, and also checking them out on the web at www.mariquita.com. Andy is a wonderful writer who is working on a book of his own, and you can sign up for their eletter, the ladybug letter, on their website. You can also check out my class by going to the 2005 Farm Events link. I think there are a few spots left, if you happen to be inspired to come check out the farm and watch me sweat over the fire as I valiantly try to reconnect with my ancestral foremothers.