I wrote this article for the upcoming Highlands Voice. Hope all is well. Love, B
Cosmopolitan (adj.) [From the Greek, poetic, world-creating]
1. Belonging to the world; not restricted to any locality, field of activity, or sphere of thought. 2. At home in any country; without local or national attachments or prejudices. 3. Composed of elements gathered from all parts of the world.
When each of our three children were left for college in distant states, they asked for only one cookbook: White Grass Cafe Cross Country Cooking. It was no wonder, since they had grown up enjoying the little cafe, located at the Whitegrass Ski area in Tucker County , where we live. They had each tromped on our farm in skis by age two, and had traded cross country skis in as they grew, advancing lengthsat the Whitegrass Ski Shop on the children's ski program, as steadily as they had advanced grades.
It was not just fond memories that prompted the request however. It was the fine food and recipes that had been carefully gathered by Laurie Little and Mary Beth Gwyer, the Cafe chefs, from friends, relatives, guest chefs, distant travels, and imaginative creative experimentationin the tiny kitchen at the base of Cabin Mountain in Canaan Valley. These recipes became family favorites in our home, and inspired the birth of other recipes created here, reinforcing our love of cooking.
One of the beauties of the White Grass Cookbook was the personal acknowledgement of where the recipes came from, how they were influenced , and how they could be adapted. It is generous, thoughtful, easy to use, accurate, small, and easily transported, While the handsketches are all clearly drawn from local life, the recipes transported us to all corners of the globe, with purpose and pleasure.
How grateful we all were this winter, when a second book by the same authors, "White Grass Flavors" appeared hot off the presses. It has the same cosmopolitan flavors and roots, the same easy to read format, and the same joy for cookingthat we grew to love in the first book. From Wild Mushroom soup, to West Virginia Sushi Rolls, to simple Cinnamon Rolls, Trout in Champagne Sauce, to Indonesian Grilled Shrimp, this book brings flavors and ingredients from around the world that are available locally as well, into the home kitchen. And it is all tasty enough for children and teenagers to be curious and adventuresome about. We haven't had a recipe that they didn't like yet!
White Grass Flavors embodies what I have always dreamed of and worked toward: Cosmopolitan Country living. WhenI moved to Tucker County 30 years ago, at 20 years old, after having grown up 10 miles from New York City, where my grandparents still lived, and I had used as my personal playground and growth ground,I wondered how life in rural, mountainous West Virginia wouldevolve. To my delight, I have found open minded folks, whose ancestors settled here generations ago from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The political and environmental struggles, labor struggles and economic struggles were as vivid as they were in New York, painted on a different canvas.
We thought we had moved to a distant, remote and provincial region, and in some ways we had. Yet the movement of the times, the quick growth of technology, and world events have woven us all closer together. They have created lifelines and love lines to every corner of the world, not just when tsunami and floods and earthquakes strike, or when sludge dams burst, or forest fires rage, but when victories of justice, discoveries of woodpeckers,advances in human rights, environmental protection, and global consciousness seep into the everyday.