Fondy Farmers Market hosts ‘6th Annual Greens Throwdown’

August 14, 2014

untitled01291157The most meaningful foods speak to who we are, where we come from, and the ingenuity of our ancestors. Sausages were the outcome of efficient butchery, where an unnamed genius used intestines to house salted animal scraps, organs, and blood, and created a preserved source of protein, centuries before refrigerators were invented. Soul Food staples like braised collard greens came from a time when African American slaves had to feed themselves with easy-to-grow vegetables and pig parts no one else wanted.
That same culinary ingenuity is alive and well in Milwaukee. Customers at our Fondy Farmers Market have come up with ingenious ways to preserve the short Wisconsin growing season by blanching and freezing their vegetables in bulk. Venice Williams of Alice’s Garden leads “batch cooking” workshops each summer to teach people how to prepare soul food dishes on tight budgets and busy family schedules.
Pushing healthy eating has been a big deal in Milwaukee for the past 11 years. And soul food has gotten a decidedly bum rap in our nation’s obsession over fat. A hundred years ago soul food was a combination of healthy and unhealthy ingredients that kept each other in check, until the food system came along and supersized the unhealthy things. Fried chicken was not everyday fare mainly because it took too much time to kill, pluck, and gut a chicken. And it took a while to save enough fat in which to fry a chicken. But now, thanks to the fast food industry it’s possible to feed fried chicken with biscuits, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes to a family of five for under $20.
If we are to make Milwaukee’s diets healthier, it will be through inspiring and empowering people to connect with their past through meaningful, familiar foods. The path to healthier diets will not be through cooking education efforts that give a neighborhood’s cultural heritage a black eye.
And so this Saturday we will have our 6th Annual Greens Throwdown – home cooks will be bringing their family recipes out and cooking at the market. We will award first and second prizes in two categories – traditional and vegetarian. Please come out and enjoy the festivities. If you think you have what it takes to win, please give us a call.