The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook is essential for any wine and food lover, because it brings us back to basics; and that brings us back to better health. If you don’t care about your health, you don’t have to bother to read on today. You’ll just be wasting your time, because I’m going to be on a rip with this one…

Wine is liquid food, we all agree on that, right? Just the way a good soup is liquid food…

Let’s look at wine for a moment, because many of us want excellent wines… but then, when it comes to other foods, we just lose it.

If quality is the name of your wine game, then you want wines that are handcrafted. We know that they taste better for a list of reasons, including the integrity of all people along the process:

  • Grape growers
    • Best root stocks
      • Clones have different attributes; some produce for quantity, while others produce for quality
      • Cab clone
    • Natural, sustainable, organic, and/or biodynamic methods
    • Quantity is not the name of this game; quality is
  • Harvesters
    • Long and hard hours are worked to bring in the least damaged fruit
    • Sorting the berries that come in, removing MOG (Material Other than Grapes – spiders, yellow jackets, snakes, leaves, twigs, etc.)
  • Winemakers
    • Gravity flow delivers the grapes to the fermenters, where cold fermentation happens
    • Punchdowns
    • Using natural and/or native yeasts
  • Owners
    • Allowing his and/or her crew to use the best, least invasive methods to make wine
  • Marketing and sales people
    • If the winery is large enough to have these people on board, they are the ones writing the recipes for success… spreading the stories behind the process

If it’s going into my body, I’d like to know it’s the best fuel available… Wine, as well as food. So, off to solid food, and can we get enough nutritious quality into our bodies today, along with that glass of wine?

FOODSTEPS (not misspelled)

If there is anything that came from the Great Depression, it was the ability to get down and dirty with the foods that my grandparents put into their bodies. As a result, I can thank my grandmother for passing along a great many primary food lessons. The most important of which is that we are what we eat; and she was in control… of everything she grew and then ate. My grandparents had a wonderful garden; and in time, I was able to garden in the same spot that she and my grandfather had worked. Yes, it had become grass for a while; but, when I wanted a garden, I asked my mother if I could use that space in what had become her yard (the house being handed down to my mother).

I dug up the earth and cultivated it. I was on my way as a young woman. I also followed in her foodsteps for canning, including getting into her jams, jellies, and pickle making, until I read “Sugar Blues,” by William Dufty.

From It’s a prime ingredient in countless substances from cereal to soup, from cola to coffee. Consumed at the rate of one hundred pounds for every American every year, it’s as addictive as nicotine — and as poisonous. It’s sugar. And “Sugar Blues”, inspired by the crusade of Hollywood legend Gloria Swanson, is the classic, bestselling expose that unmasks our generation’s greatest medical killer and shows how a revitalizing, sugar-free diet can not only change lives, but quite possibly save them.

The book also reveals how the government has kept Americans ignorant about white sugar in the name of big business profits. Imagine a sick society that needs tons of pharmaceuticals, and you’re on your way to knowing what you don’t want to eat, and why… besides the primary reason of preserving your health with rich in nutrient foods.

So, I not only got a solid start from my grandmother, but I also became a very well informed consumer in the late 60s and early 70s. I made it my job as a homemaker. (I aced Home Ec in junior high, and wish that it still existed; so kids could learn about good nutrition, again. Instead, today’s children are speeding through their lives on a fast food diet… deprived of good nutrition. This also is a great set up for the pharmaceutical companies to take over their lives by the time they hit their 40s and into the rest of their lives.)

What’s a person to do?

Get real, that’s what. Get real with your food, along with the wine attitude you’ve been developing. Get real with understanding how important good food is for your body.

Along comes The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook. This one is so good, that I’m giving each of my three daughters a copy of this book this coming holiday season. Each of my girls has become a wonderful cook for their families. They also venture deeper into foods, because they have more adventurous palates.

The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook, published by Quarry Books is written by Erin Coopey. What Erin has done is deliver, in very easy recipes with primary foods, how to make your own condiments and essentials for a kitchen. This removes the intervention of added chemicals, colors, and ingredients you wouldn’t ever use, if you realized what they actually were, or could even pronounce half of them without a degree in chemistry.

Added ingredients blur the lines of what’s good for you and what isn’t. How long did we (my generation) eat  foods with red dye in them, for instance… Only to learn that red dye is associated with hyperactivity in children super sensitive to it? Those were the canaries in the coal mine, with that one…

The foods that Erin delivers are going to be healthier and tastier than your palate is used to, if you’re not in control of how your foods are made these days. She, like me, has now been making her own salad dressings for years, and can’t even handle one being purchased in a grocery store. The added chemicals are so obnoxious for me that I will only use oil and vinegar, with some salt and pepper, if that’s my only alternative. With this book, you’ll get back to basics and have the highest quality condiments and essentials available to you… always.

  • Condiments
  • Nut butters and spreads
  • Salad dressings
  • Stocks
  • Relishes and refrigerator pickles
  • Chips, dips, and dunks

Eric Coopey is a food expert. She’s a chef, writer, and food photographer in Seattle, WA. She received her culinary degree in Scottsdale, and then trained at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. (Yes, in wine country, we have a marvelous food preparation resource… it all goes hand-in-hand.) She’s a chef/food educator who has appeared on television and her recipes have been in numerous publications. She’s well rounded and her book is well written, besides being delicious.

You can bet that I’m now going to be ordering my three books… And… one more for my sister Merry. Merry Matukonis, of Optimal Wellness Center, is a certified nutritionist and registered nurse, who has also followed in our grandmother’s foodsteps… growing her own foods and preparing them for the winter months. My sister also graduated from the New York Restaurant School (now closed). She’s an excellent chef; at one time owning her own catering business called Savory Table. I helped her for a while, and loved working with her. She’ll love this book, too, keeping it as an essential in her collection of must have cookbooks.

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