After spending several days in the Lowcountry with my mother (who is 81 years young by the way) last week, many memories resurfaced from earlier days. My siblings and I all consider my Mom the “original recycler” and now that being green is in vogue (and I write about sustainability) the irony of this does not escape me. The basis for most of mother’s “recycling” efforts grew from growing up just after the Great Depression and subsequent World War II years. Now that I am an adult (and a middle age adult at that) I understand the reasons and even feel proud she is so adamant in her conserving ways. However, I still remember grabbing and quickly stashing all the used and drying Ziploc bags hanging over the kitchen sink whenever I had my teenage friends over after school. And being embarrassed about the 50-gallon trashcan filled with used soda cans outside the kitchen door. And although we never had a bona fide composter, all our produce scraps went outside into the backyard garden where they were plowed into the soiled in the spring and fall.
As I related this story to my husband on our drive back from Hilton Head Island, he said, “Your Mom was ahead of her time, who knew that that being frugal would become so trendy?” I chuckled and thought of a favorite quote, “Trendy is emulating your children while they emulate your parents” (Bill Greenwell). So I suppose my daughter will be a third generation “recycler,” she already helps me wash out bottles and cans before they go into the recycling bin. Time to get that compost bin started too.
Chef Christine Bohn, owner of Christine’s Café &Catering in Hilton Head Island, has just teamed with Bear Island Farm in composting her kitchen’s green scraps into organic amendment material for the farm. Christine says, “Composting is really a ‘silent hero’ in the food world. I am excited to be part of this process. Recycling the kitchen scraps is a win-win for restaurants. At worst it costs them nothing and at best it cuts their hauling fees.” With farmers from Bear Island Farm in Bluffton, we now have a local facility to accept organic restaurant waste, allow it to decompose and then put it to use growing delicious vegetables and herbs. ”
I asked Christine about menu creation and working with clients who want very specific dishes, particularly those planning events many months out. “We use a skeleton menu according to the season as our base and we partner with our clients, educating them on what ingredients will be in-season and encouraging them to let us use what is local and plentiful. This is both economical and just plain tastes best.”
She adds, “At the café and on the catering side we are looking forward to the upcoming summer season of local ingredients like fresh herbs, berries, vegetables and SC tomatoes, of course.” Additionally Christine’s business is the caterer for a local school Hilton Head Prep, where the students and faculty eagerly lunch on healthy and locally grown items prepared by Christine and her staff. Christine added, “Children need to know that food doesn’t just come in a wrapper. Good eating habits start when kids are tiny.”
I agree with Christine and add that appreciation for good food includes knowing where it comes from and not taking it for granted, something I long to instill in my child. A life long love affair with healthy and delicious food can be wonderful and in my case, the center of countless family memories, burgeoning friendships, amazing vacations and even a career. Now, where did I put those eggs shells and coffee grounds? I’ve got a compost bin to start!
Thanks to Christine for sharing her recipe for a refreshing and rich Carrot Ginger Soup!
Carrot Ginger Soup – Christine’s Café & Catering
Serve this soup chilled in the summer and warm in the winter.
- 1 tbl. Butter
- 1/2 cups Yellow Onions, diced
- 3 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
- 1 lb. Carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 tbl. Fresh Ginger, grated
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- Pinch of White Pepper
Melt butter; add onions and sauté until onions are limp. Add stock, carrots and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are soft. Puree. Add cream and heat until hot. Add white pepper. Serve chilled or warm. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serves 4 and may be prepared 2 days ahead.