Maple Moon, City Tree Tapping & Grits n' Gravy
It's nearing the end of winter, and if you're anything like my family, this sometimes warm, sometimes cold weather might be making you a little nutty and itchy for spring. So... I thought I'd spice up this show with three interviews, instead of one, and bring you some stories on maple sap which only flows from the trees when the weather starts jumping around, warm in the day and freezing at night... there is something sweet that comes out of this rollercoaster season! On this show:
Part 1: Maple Moon with Mohegan Food Expert Rachel Sayet
Part 2: City Maple Tree Tapping with 8 year old Sam Ridky
Part 3: Grits n' Gravy - 1st Spotlight series with food entrepreneur Marshall Cruz
Maple Justice: Starting in 1790, white Northern abolitionists promoted maple tapping as a way to divest from the cane sugar-based slave economy. Check out this article to learn more. Before that, the Abenaki taught their children that the maple tapping process was a gift from the Creator to remind us of our obligation to balance production and consumption. So, indulging in maple sweet love has revolutionary roots.
Mohegan tribal member and educator Rachel Akitusu ("she who reads") Sayet brings us stories of native food heritage, maple sap and syrup season called "the maple moon" along with recipes from her mentor, Cookbook Author and Abenaki Elder Dale Carson. Rachel will be teaching a workshop on Native Food Ways and Maple Syrup, including this delicious Narragansett Strawberry Cornbread (photo credit Boston Mag), Saturday March 11th from 1-3pm in New London CT. See the flyer above for details.
So many of the foods Americans think of as being Northeastern American recipes originated with whole food recipes from the Native American peoples who lived here long before the Europeans landed. Sweet "Boston Baked Beans" and brown breads were originally made with maple syrup using recipes taught by native cooks. Rachel Sayet comes from a strong matriarchal lineage of Mohegan women leaders... she has much knowledge to share about the decolonization of food, liberating herself and her people by revitalizing traditional foods and practices... what a great event to support for national women's month! Check out this article and recipes in Indian Country Media Network on past workshops with Rachel Sayet. If you are interested in visiting the Tantaquidgeon Museum founded by Rachel's great aunt and Medicine Woman of the Mohegan nation Gladys Tantaquidgeon, click the link above.
CITY MAPLE TREE TAPPING
The sap is flowing from the maple trees, and you don't have to live in the country to harvest it! Eight year old Sam Ridky tells us about collecting maple sap in his backyard in city of New Haven, CT and helping his dedicated mom Naomi Senzer organize a crew of community members, to collect sap from trees in the large public park near their house. This public tree tapping is done in coordination with Friends of Edgewood Park and the New Haven Parks Department. Maple sap collecting in the park is open to the public, just contact FOEP if you are interested in joining in!
Sam shares a trick his grandpa taught him, hug the tree, if your arms fit around it, then it's too young to tap. This boy knows his stuff, from collecting sap, checking the weather, and boiling 40 gallons down to 1, to get your maple syrup just right. His favorite part? The maple social in the giant park near his house, this year, it's March 19th.
Our new SPOTLIGHT series highlights the passion and wisdom of food entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and at all stages of development. (Yes you can read into this that we reject the mainstream idea of foodies)
SPOTLIGHT: Marshall Cruz shares his infectious passion for cooking which stemmed from watching the Food Network with his aunt after her gastric bi-pass surgery - he would cook and taste the foods she desired but couldn't eat...now he's inspired to start his own food business, a food truck called "Grits n' Gravy". Hear about his culinary path and rise from working in Taco Bell and McDonald's kitchens, and discovering a real love of cooking at home.
You can check Marshall out daily 6-9am on the Joe Ugly show, the WNHH community radio morning show.