Can you imagine a restaurant which would advertise “Healthy Food for the Elderly! No Sugar, No Salt!” It might be that none of us would go there since we tend to break the rules of our diet when we experience a new and different cuisine, telling ourselves, “It is only for tonight.” Yet if you feel the consequences of being uncomfortable after eating due to heart racing or blood pressure rocketing upwards, you may decide to eat at a “Healthy Food for the Elderly” establishment. Besides, there are salt shakers on the tables.
I have a cookbook given to me in 1987 named The Moosewood Cookbook. The cookbook is vegetarian and I have used it often with great results. Brazilian Black Bean Soup is the best! But wait, I have written “absolutely wonderful!” beside Carrot Soup. Or, it could be Gado-Gado, an Indonesian dish garnished with a spicy peanut sauce! Yum, global recipes!
Many of us have enjoyed and participated in, what could be called, supper clubs over the years. That particular activity does not usually result in a thriving business. However, there was a group of vegetarians who found pleasure in one another’s company. They often got together to cook and eat. The amazing result of this camaraderie became the Moosewood Restaurant which opened in 1972 in Ithaca, New York. Believe it or not, the restaurant is still in business—45 years later with nineteen co-owners!
It is a simple premise for the cooks at Moosewood. There are always two soups on their menu as well as freshly baked whole grain breads. Of course, there are other items, such as Sweet Potato-Black Bean Enchiladas, Stuffed Cabbage, and perhaps, Kale-Tomato Soup. The menu changes daily or rather twice daily for lunch and dinner. Desserts are sweetened (I am sorry and envious to say) mostly with honey or maple syrup. All their culinary endeavors are aesthetically presented as well as being nutritionally balanced. The preparation is with organic foods and grains, many of which are grown in their own gardens.
I also have a Moosewood book about gardening. The author, David Hirsch, gives pointers on everything from companion planting to edible flowers to grow. You can discover which herbs are best dried and others that retain their flavor better by freezing. About a third of the book is devoted to recipes. It was published in 1992. To this date, twelve Moosewood cookbooks have been published. To find their webpage on the internet, type into your search engine: Moosewood Restaurant, Ithaca, NY.
Bon Appetit magazine listed Moosewood as one of thirteen of the most influential restaurants in the century. Wouldn’t it be great to have a Moosewood type dining establishment locally? Although exact emulation is not possible or desired, many of Moosewood’s methods and ideas might be implemented.
In January of 2015, Laura Nickleson prepared a Regional Cities grant proposal for a Farm to Table hoop greenhouse endeavor through WMI. This proposal used the New Harmony School acreage and building. Now wouldn’t that have been a boon to a town having no market selling fresh vegetables year round? A Moosewood-type restaurant may have been born. Never say never!
Boomers and beyond are the largest dining demographic group in the United States. It is expected that there will be a 20% increase in the age 65+ population by 2030. That is only 11 years away. With a Moosewood type restaurant in which to dine, we might even be able to eliminate our perpetual request of “No salt, no sugar, please.” I think I will ruminate on the joy of that!
1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether therefore ye eat or drink or whatever ye do, do everything for the glory of God.” (KJV)
©Ann Rains, January, 2019
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