Posts Tagged With: food

Food and the Olympics

With the Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies coming tomorrow night, it’s time we start talking about the food of the Olympics.

Interested in learning about what foods this year’s athletes enjoy munching on?  The Huffington Post compiled this list pairing athletes with their pleasure foods.  My favorite?  I like the fact that Snowboarder Kelly Clark drinks chocolate milk.  After all, chocolate milk is a great re-fuel food.


Kelly Clark and Chocolate Milk | Photo Source

Fitness Magazine interviewed some Olympic nutritionists and asked them about their top tips.  I was happy to hear that skipping breakfast is a bad idea.

Russia, the host country of this year’s Olympics, boasts a rich food culture.  During my visits to Russia during my high school years, I enjoyed some delicious food.  You can find a list of classic Russian foods here.  I plan on kicking off the opening ceremonies with a bowl of borscht!

Categories: From the Field to Your Fork | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The People of Agriculture (Thanksgiving Series Pt. III)

The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote: “We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.”  To commemorate Thanksgiving, “The (agri)Cultured Foodie” will use the next week and a half to look at the “ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts” that put food on your table.

Farmers. Repairmen.  Crop scientists.  Veterinarians.  Communications specialists.  Engineers.  These are the people that make agriculture possible.  These are the people that help get food from the field to the kitchen.  These are the people we should be thankful tomorrow as we sit down and enjoy a meal with our families.

But who are these men and women that produce our food?

They’re the Beck Family from Indiana who raise crops and own the largest family-owned seed company in the United States.

They’re the Gyrgleski Family from Wisconsin who grow cranberries for Ocean Spray.

They’re the Nilsen Family from California whose turkey operation uses “natural resources to create sustainable energy and eliminate waste.”

I’m thankful for the men and women who have devoted their lives to cultivating and stewarding the earth, and providing food for my family and yours.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Categories: Farming in the 21st Century, The Faces of Modern Agriculture | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Facts & Figures of Indiana Ag

October is National Farm To School Month.  Check back every Monday of the month for a post about how to incorporate agricultural themes into the classroom.

Agriculture is an important aspect of Indiana’s cultural and economic identity.  As we talk to students about farming and agribusiness, we need to make sure we’re not merely talking about the science of the industry, but the social contribution of agriculture to our communities and state.

Below is a fact sheet about the agriculture in Indiana.  As you read through the handout, remember that each fact and number represents families, farms and agribusiness throughout Indiana.

Indiana Agriculture

Fact Sheet by Indiana State Department of Agriculture

Categories: Agriculture in Indiana, Farming in the 21st Century | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Cooking with pumpkin | Guest Recipe

Jennifer Pinkston serves as grants coordinator for ISDA’s environmental stewardship team.  In addition to her work with ISDA, Jennifer blogs at “From Mess Hall to Bistro.”  A fun fact about Jennifer’s family is that they raise chickens.

I’ve enjoyed perusing Jennifer’s blog, and reading about her family’s chicken adventures and eying her recipes.  I asked if I could post her recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to conclude my pumpkin series, and she graciously agreed.  You can find more of her pumpkin recipes here.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies by Jennifer Pinkston

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1 ½ cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 cup sugar

½ cup applesauce (if using cinnamon flavored applesauce, cut cinnamon below in half)

2 cups flour

1 egg

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon milk

2 cups chocolate chips (can substitute white chocolate chips, or use a mixture of both)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 365*F. Mix all ingredients together. Batter will be slightly stiff. Drop cookies onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. These cookies don’t spread much when baking, so I suggest lifting the cookie sheet about 4 inches from the counter and dropping it. That will slightly flatten the cookies, but will still leave that smooth, gooey center. Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes. They’re done when you can touch the top of the cookie and your finger doesn’t sink in. Let cool about 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cookies. Store them in the refrigerator. They’re great served chilled!

P.S. Jennifer also had some helpful tips on selecting pumpkins to decorate.  If painting a pumpkin, Jennifer recommends looking for ones with odd shapes (curves or bulges) to use to enhance the face.  If carving a pumpkin, pick one with a flat side so it can be laid down for easier carving.  When it comes to pumpkin size, Jennifer shares this story: “When we buy pumpkins at our house, we have the general rule that the kids can pick any size pumpkin they want, as long as they can carry it.  The rule worked great until last year. Our 15 year old had the strength to carry a 70 lb pumpkin. We may have to rethink that rule for this year!”

Categories: From the Field to Your Fork, Informational | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Who is this (agri)Cultured Foodie?

It’s a story my friends know well.  On a humid, sunny Tuesday morning in August, I walked into my first agricultural class as a student of agriculture.  I began my freshman year at Purdue in speech pathology, but eventually switched to agricultural communication because of my interest in all things food and words. 

That is how I found myself sitting in an animal science class my sophomore year of college.  The professor introduced himself, then projected an image of sheep onto the screen and asked the class which breed they were.  While I sat dumb-founded at my desk, my boot-clad classmates shouted out the answer.  I then realized there was more to agriculture than I initially thought, and I decided I would immerse myself in exploring the field.

Living on the outskirts of Indianapolis, my childhood was an odd combination of knowing the distinct smell cow manure and frequenting the theaters and museums of downtown. I grew up knowing the difference between corn and soybeans, but not understanding what happened to the crops once they were harvested.

Indiana Soy | Bryan Ballinger

Indiana Soy | Bryan Ballinger

During my undergraduate years at Purdue, the world of agriculture went from being an impersonal industry, to my desired vocation.  My interest in food morphed into a zeal for the people, places and practices that are responsible for feeding us. 

Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to meet the people, explore the places and learn about the practices involved with getting food from the farm to the table.  I have talked with farmers who work from sunrise to sunset in the spring to make sure their crops are planted in time.  I have traveled to a multi-generational dairy farm and talked to the cows’ caretakers to understand how the animals are monitored and kept healthy.  I have visited a soybean processing plant to learn how a bean is separated into oil for our salad dressings and meal for livestock feed.

As the assistant director of communication at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, I connect the people of agriculture with the consumers they serve.  My goal is to help people who don’t work in agriculture see how their food is tied to farmers, ag economists, food scientists, etc.

“The (agri)Cultured Foodie” is my blog for the ISDA where I discuss and highlight the various facets of agriculture that impact the food we serve on our table.  I’m looking forward to interacting with consumers and farmers, both in person and on this blog.

Is there an aspect of agriculture and/or food that you’d like me to write about?  Comment below and I’ll add it to my list of ideas.  Thanks for stopping by!

Categories: Informational | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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