Monday, March 14, 2011

THE MORE WE KNOW...

...the more there is to learn about.  This past month or so has been a learning experience for me here in Akron.  As most people do, I tend to go around seeing the things I normally see and doing the things I normally do without much thought to all the other people swirling around me doing their own things.

So, occasionally, getting nudged out of my comfort zone can be a good thing.  I was nudged out last summer when I decided to become involved with the ADMC as a Citizen Journalist.  Although it hasn't turned out exactly as I imagined, it has been a tremendous experience and one that has opened my eyes to some new people and ideas.

Making healthy food choices
available to everyone
Last month I was introduced to a vast network of people in Akron who are working to provide healthy foods to those that might not have easy access to it.  Discussions abounded about urban gardening, food deserts, grocery accessibility and the ability to make healthy food choices.  Forming a somewhat cohesive umbrella organization is the Summit Food Policy Coalition which in turn is managed by members of other local organizations such as Countryside Conservancy Association (CCA), Crown Point Ecology Center, Ohio State University Extension Office, and many others who have a general interest in local food policy. 

Food Policy Councils are made up of a broad based group of dedicated individuals from both the public and the governmental sectors, each of which bring different talents and knowledge to the table. In the United States there are many cities beginning such Councils, as the topics of healthy food access, school lunches, urban agriculture, and farmland preservation continue to pop up in news across the nation. The broad goal of many Food Policy Councils is to examine the function and operation of a regional or local food system, and to provide recommendation and guidance for improvement of those policies that relate to food production and consumption.

Through this organization I am expanding my education on food and how it arrives on my plate, and as an aside am meeting new people and being exposed to other ways to approach food.  This is one of those groups that forces me stop and think about things and ask questions that most of us don't ask.  It's becoming an "if I were in their shoes how would I react" experience. 

Akron Art Museum after dark
FROM FOOD TO MOVIES
Last evening, my friend Nancy (ever a terrific resource for my meeting new people) and I attended a Film Club put on by Akron Film.  These young people strive to present interesting films to the community for free (or nearly free) and to promote the film industry here in Akron (Yes, we DO have a film community here, who knew?)  The Film Club is like a book club for movies. We watch the movie once straight though, and then let it play again while we discuss it.

This week was a screening of 1945's Detour at the Akron Art Museum. This classic 68 minute film puts the noir in film noir. It was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer and stars Tom Neal and Ann Savage. Roger Ebert said, "No one who has seen it has easily forgotten it."

Although I'm an old film lover, I generally watch movies much in the same manner as I read a book...purely for entertainment value.  The attendees at this Film Club were obviously more film gourmands as they talked about lighting, use of symbolism and film techniques, all of which was way over my head.  However, even though I was out of my element, listening to this discussion made me think in new ways about looking at movies. 

And, I suppose that's what it's all about - being asked to look at the same old things in new ways. 

A NEW WAY TO LOOK AT....PANCAKES!
In the spirit of new twists on old things, did you know that this week was National Pancake Week?  Don't feel out of sorts, neither did I.  I nearly let this slip past me without comment for the pure reason that I really do not like pancakes.  Never have.  Waffles, I love!  Pancakes, not so much.  Must be one of my weird texture issues.   Give me a crispy, airy waffle over a floppy pancake anyday.

But - I decided to visit my favorite King Arthur Flour website to see if they had any recipes that might tempt me to change my mind.  And....not surprisingly, they did.

I picked out a couple of recipes that I will eventually be trying out but the one I am giving here is a definate winner in my book.  Pancakes are back on my list of good food, how about THAT!  Old biddies really can learn new tricks!

Malted Oatmeal-Cinnamon Pancakes 
This is the original recipe as published by KAF and makes 16 cups of mix because it was meant to be a gift in a jar idea.  Check out my Simple Meals For One blog for my scaled down ingredients list.  Use this original to give something nice to your Mom for Mother's Day or to a friend as a gift.  Divide the ingredients by half if you don't have that many friends to share with :)

5 1/2 cups rolled oats, ground in a food processor or blender
8 cups (2 pounds) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup non-diastatic malt powder, for best malt flavor; OR sugar
5 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups malted milk powder
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cinnamon chips (optional)

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients except the cinnamon chips. Drizzle in the vegetable oil and mix until evenly distributed; the mixture will remain dry and crumbly. This is most easily done in a stand mixer. If you don't have a stand mixer, you may want to work with half the mix at a time. Stir in the cinnamon chips. Spoon into jars or airtight containers, and attach instructions (below).

Instructions for pancakes: To each cup of mix, whisk in 1 egg and 1/2 cup milk. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes to thicken. Cook pancakes as you usually do. Yield: about a dozen 4-inch pancakes.

Instructions for waffles: Prepare batter as for pancakes or, for crispy waffles, add 2 tablespoons oil when mixing the batter. One cup of dry mix will make three or four 6-inch waffles.

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