Blog: Chef Jemichel ~ The Chef-Doctor
by chef jem

My Nourishing Traditions

An exploration into the dietary heritage of my ancestors

Date:   3/1/2015 11:49:14 AM   ( 6 y ) ... viewed 3328 times

My paternal grandparents were both born and raised in Germany. For most of the first seven years of my life I lived on the second floor of a two-flat that my grandparents owned and where that had lived on the first floor. I vividly remember their food and how much I enjoyed what my grandmother made more than most of the food my mother made (not that my mother didn't cook well).

One example that stands out is the way the two prepared scrambled eggs. My mother added some milk to the eggs and cooked the eggs in margarine although on the dry side. My grandmother didn't add any milk, cooked them in butter and let them be moist. The difference was "dramatic" for my tastes!

Then there were about a dozen foods my grandmother made that my mother didn't make like German knodel dumplings served with a freshly prepared home-made gravy. I remember watching both my grandmother and grandfather prepare these - usually at the holiday dinners that they hosted. I haven't had them since my grandmother crossed-the-threshold in the early 70s.

Recently I was inspired to consider possibly making my version of these knodel dumplings. My inspiration came as a new recipe calling for bread made with sprouted flour. I think the greater challenge might possibly be in making the gravy in the household where I currently live as one of the housemates doesn't tolerate the smell of meat. I'd very much want to make a pork gravy to go with those knodel dumplings!

The thought of doing this is deeply impressed in my mind now after having visualized making them. I have joined my visualization with my great memories of enjoying my grandmother's most delicious food! Nothing soaks up gravy quite like a knodel dumpling!

I just might have to start a "German Knodel Dumpling Meetup Group" or the like to manifest a dinner that features these. One way or another I'm determined to bring some version of the great home-made German food back into my life!

Here's one online recipe that I might work with given that I didn't have one from my grandmother:

On the maternal side my grandpa Price came from a farm family or at least his father did. They had a farm in Illinois (and I knew my grandfather exclusively in Chicago). When I learned about the farm I wondered if it still existed and so I asked my mother about that. The farm is definitely history however the fact that is was a family farm not too many generations ago is at least a pleasant thought in my mind.

Throughout my childhood my mother had said grandpa was Irish. However years later my uncle researched it more deeply and said he was actually more Welsh than Irish. In any case I enjoyed corned beef and cabbage throughout my upbringing!

Both my grandfathers enjoyed their beer! I inherited a liking of it as well however it took me most of my life to realize some things about drinking beer. I'd like to pass on the wisdom I gained onto others who drink.

One of the best things I've learned is that the right diet can mitigate the potential detrimental effects of alcohol. Essentially that requires adopting some kind of a "Nourishing Traditions" (NT) diet that includes kombucha and other fermented drinks. Drinking moderately with or immediately after the meal is also recommended. After adopting this approach my cravings for alcohol eventually minimized to the point where I can actually live very well without drinking! I also think my NT diet with very low sugar content has nourished and (in a sense) rewired my brain in ways that have created new channels of "reward" plus enabled the brain to create sufficient neurotransmitters so that I'm no longer stuck with just an alcohol "program" influencing my behavior (as appeared was the case for over 33 years of my life up to about fifteen years ago). It's a significant relief for me not be compelled by alcohol!

Thank you Sally Fallon Morell for Nourishing Traditions!
Thank you Robert in Nevada City for my first opportunity to experience kombucha.
Thank you Shan Kendall for being my co-leader for the Gold Country local chapter!
Thank you Dale Jacobson for hosting our monthly meetings over the lifetime of the chapter!
Each of you have built community along with the healing capacity of the community that is inherent with the sharing of all the real traditional foods that we make ourselves! I am all grateful!

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