Like many politicians, we as consumers "forget" our promises of good eating habits including the ones we pick up at summer farmers markets. When the markets close, we go back to mainstream groceries and to old habits of buying out of season. But Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen's Janine Washle says we all have choices just like choosing the right candidate for the job we can make choices that support local agriculture even through the winter months.
In colonial days, Election Day was a time of celebration with politicians stumping for votes, parades, and plenty of food to feed the voters. Well into the 20th century, men traveled a distance to a polling station. The women of the community provided food; many times though that food even whiskey bought a vote. This type of vote buying, exchange of food and drink for a vote, was not unique to the States.
In fact, this was common overseas where English even Scottish and Irish politicians enticed voters with whiskey and food such as gingerbread. Gingerbread recipes were closely guarded family secrets among immigrant populations. In fact gingerbread at polling stations in Western Kentucky was a sought out treat making it easy for politicians to gain votes. Knott County started a gingerbread festival to celebrate their political influence, gingerbread.
1/2 cup sugar
1 c. molasses
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. ginger
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar, butter and eggs together. Add molasses. Sift together flour, soda, salt and spices. Stir dry ingredients into moist ingredients, alternating with buttermilk.
Pour into greased 9-inch square pan and bake 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream. Makes 9 servings.
Food and politics go hand in hand in other parts of the country. Popular in many communities are pancake breakfasts and pie sales. Apple pie is woven into the fabric of the nation with its' own saying, "American as apple pie." In Connecticut, Hartford Election Cake, is still served and dates back over 100 years. It is not a cake as we know it today but a yeast-raised sweet bread filled with raisins and citrus rind. In South Carolina, Brunswick stew is served on Election Day and many a politician of old bought votes with the meaty concoction. Election Day isn't the only time politicians enjoy good food, the Senate and House of Representatives cafeterias in Washington serve state-inspired dishes such as Maryland crab cakes with menus changing frequently. But a constant in both cafeterias since the early 1900's is bean soup. Following is a bit of history of this rib sticking soup.
(from www.senate.gov )
Bean soup is on the menu in the Senate's restaurant every day. There are several stories about the origin of that mandate, but none has been corroborated.
According to one story, the Senate's bean soup tradition began early in the 20th-century at the request of Senator Fred Dubois of Idaho. Another story attributes the request to Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota, who expressed his fondness for the soup in 1903.
The recipe attributed to Dubois includes mashed potatoes and makes a 5-gallon batch. The recipe served in the Senate today does not include mashed potatoes, but does include a braised onion. Both Senate recipes are below.
The Famous Senate Restaurant Bean Soup Recipe
2 pounds dried navy beans
four quarts hot water
1 1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
Wash the navy beans and run hot water through them until they are slightly whitened. Place beans into pot with hot water. Add ham hocks and simmer approximately three hours in a covered pot, stirring occasionally. Remove ham hocks and set aside to cool. Dice meat and return to soup. Lightly brown the onion in butter. Add to soup. Before serving, bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Serves 8.
Bean Soup Recipe (for five gallons)
3 pounds dried navy beans
2 pounds of ham and a ham bone
1 quart mashed potatoes
5 onions, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
four cloves garlic, chopped
half a bunch of parsley, chopped
Clean the beans, then cook them dry. Add ham, bone and water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and mix thoroughly. Add chopped vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour before serving.
For "U.S. House of Representative Bean Soup" authenticity, crush a few of the beans in each bowl to thicken the broth and make it slightly opaque. (taken from: www.soupsong.com/rsenate.html)
FREE RECIPE BOOKLET!!!
Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen also has a special Election Day SoupRecipe Booklet available by email. To ask for a complimentary copy, just email Janine Washle at firstname.lastname@example.org
To find Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen on Facebook: click here.
CloverFields Farm & Kitchen
Hardin Springs Area
Big Clifty, KY 42712
Janine Washle and her family live at the Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen in Big Clifty, Kentucky in Hardin County. CloverFields Farm & Kitchen, part of a century old farmstead, is our home and business. The McGuffin house, the original farmhouse, is a registered state landmark. CloverFields Farm has a prosperous farming history. They are continuing this rural story in their own unique way by the addition of CloverFields Kitchen a place to explore the past through food and merge it with our modern lifestyles.
CloverFields Farm is dedicated to the preservation of southern, especially Kentucky, food traditions. The kitchen is commercially-outfitted compliant with Health Department standards. In this kitchen I develop new recipes based on original ideas, inspirations from my culinary research, and most often according to what is in season.
On the farm, they make many gifts and specialty items. She is currently working on her first cookbook, but she also has a long resume developing recipes for several companies. She has also won several contests and cook-offs with her original recipes.