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Of the Earth: A cookbook with political flair

  • “Stirring the Pot: A Cookbook with an Edge”


For the Recorder
Published: 12/11/2018 3:37:11 PM

’Tis the season to give things like commercial cookbooks with lurid and extravagant photos, celebrity leftovers, suspect licensing and unreasonably great expectations for meals to come. Bah humbug.

Then, however, there are other cookbooks — those that are lovingly assembled by local church and community groups; the ones that invite dog-ears, personal notations and a mosaic of grease spots; and that may even be lovingly bequeathed to the next generation.

One that caught my eye this week came out of left field with its light touch and wry sense of humor. It’s called “Stirring the Pot: A Cookbook with an Edge,” and it comes from Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, the progressive heir to the coalition that brought us Bernie Sanders.

Many of the contributors will be familiar to local politicos and cooks, including organizations like the Stone Soup Café, the Franklin Community Co-op and Seeds of Solidarity Farm, as well as folks like Greenfield City Councilor Sheila Gilmore and former candidate for state representative Francia Wisnewski. Union stalwart Ferd Wulkan of Montague launched the project.

With a pleasing mix of carnivore-ish, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free offerings, the message is clearly baked right into the medium for most of these recipes, which sport titles like #MeToo Mom Wouldn’t Date a Nut Bread, Picket Line Hot Chocolate, and Liberation Lamb and Apricot Stew. My clear favorite is Ann Ferguson’s Squash Capitalism Soup with Leeks and Kale.

“Stirring the Pot” arises from the idea that “food is political — in what is produced, who produces it under what conditions, how it is distributed and who profits.”

Regardless of where you stand on politics, it’s not hard to buy into the motivational recipe behind this cookbook, namely that “food is essential to our survival, and it is a vehicle through which we can experience a variety of cultures and express collective joy and kindness.” I’ll take seconds of that.

“Stirring the Pot: A Cookbook with an Edge” is available online at In the meantime, I would very much like to feature other cookbooks from other local church and community groups throughout the political, religious and culinary spectrum.

For now, here is a “Stirring the Pot” recipe from Susan Miller-King, who writes that “this recipe dates back to my early days before I was married. I started a collection of recipes in a notebook. Very few recipes from that and later notebooks have stood the test of time, but this soup remains a favorite.”

People’s Persian Onion Soup


4 medium onions

5 T olive oil

3 T flour

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. turmeric

cup sugar

½ cup lemon or lime juice

2 eggs

1 T dried mint (or 1 tea bag mint)

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. pepper

Sautee the onions in a large pot for five to 10 minutes. Mix the flour with one cup of water and add it to the onions. Add five more cups of water, black pepper and turmeric. Simmer over low heat for 35 to 40 minutes.

Rub the mint to make it powdery, add cinnamon and the extra pepper to the mint; then add to the soup.

Beat the eggs and add a ladle of soup to the eggs. Beat again and add to the soup.

The Cutting Board

Remember our visit a few weeks back to the Faroe Islands, which have become the latest haute destination for a certain kind of daringly haute cuisine involving seabirds, pastry crust, wind-dried cod and fermented lamb intestines? My friend Bruce Rogers of Greenfield wrote to say that the Brattleboro Food Co-op now carries salmon from the Faroe Islands, “where salmon thrive in pristine clear waters and cool steady sea temperatures.” In addition, it seems that the Deerfield Inn is carrying Faroe Islands salmon. Now, if we could only get the inn to serve Razorbill Wellington ...

Coming Up... What’s up with romaine? A food safety expert looks to mystery surrounding the recurring romaine contamination.

Wesley Blixt lives in Greenfield. He is a longtime reporter and is the author of “SKATERS: A Novel.” Send him recipes, stories and suggestions at

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