a good meal unites people
~ Maria Rodale, from her new cookbook, Scratch
Green Diva Meg recently had a chance to speak with Maria Rodale, author of many books and Chairman & CEO of Rodale Inc. She was born into organic farming royalty and has carried on the tradition of spreading the gospel of healthy food from sustainable farms. In her latest book, Scratch: Home Cooking for Everyone Made Simple, Fun, and Totally Delicious, Rodale reaches back into her personal and rather unique history and shares how healthy, basic food lovingly and thoughtfully prepared can be a powerful force for good and perhaps could even change the world.
Listen to GD Meg’s wonderful conversation with Maria Rodale, then read an excerpt from her book and get her delicious Savory Spiced Pumpkin Soup recipe…
The following is an excerpt from the opening of Scratch…
Being in a family business that published books and magazines about healthy food, organic gardening and farming, and fitness (at a time when we were pretty much the only ones doing it) brought all sorts of people from all over the world to our farm—often with extreme ideas of what was right or wrong to eat. In the late 1960s, the hippies started to come. In the 1970s, Olympic cyclists from all over the world came to eat at our house on a regular basis. Almost every dinner was some sort of adventure.
My mother fed them all. Not quite happily, mind you, but on time and in abundance. She was a living embodiment of a woman trapped in a traditional wife and mother role, yet who found true satisfaction in her job, which she was not paid for. The feminist movement was unfolding around her, but with five kids and a family business, equality would have to wait. We all helped, but usually not as much as she wanted us to.
And in our kitchen, like most kitchens around the world, some kind of drama would play out—the drama between my mother and father. The drama between kids. The drama between visitors with different food philosophies. The drama between people at work with different business philosophies. At some point I realized that I much preferred to eat food than to participate in drama. But I watched and paid attention and started to notice things.
I noticed that once people were well fed they were a lot less angry. I noticed that a good meal unites people. I noticed that drinking was fine and fun until someone drank too much and then it wasn’t fun at all. I noticed that skinny people weren’t always happy or nice. And just because your body might be shaped like an athlete’s, it wasn’t always healthy. And I noticed that while people were arguing about what was the right way to eat and the wrong way to eat, it seemed to me that the most important thing was that the food should come from nature and be real, not fake. For example, I was always suspicious of margarine. It didn’t taste right and it was artificial. I refused to eat it.
savory spiced pumpkin soup recipe
[intro to recipe by Maria Rodale]: A long time ago on the Caribbean island of St. John, in a little shack of a restaurant surrounded by goats and lapping waves, we had pumpkin soup that tasted like heaven. I’ve had many pumpkin soup since, but none as good as that one. It was slightly spicy and creamy, with a hint of curry. Much better than most pumpkin soups that are too sweet and taste like pie. This is my re-creation of that soup. Serves 4
what you need
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 pounds pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, store bought or homemade
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk, plus extra for serving
salt and freshly ground black pepper
what to do
- In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic, turmeric, ginger, curry powder, and parsley and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add the pumpkin and stock, bring to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin has softened completely.
- In batches, transfer the soup to a blender and process until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and add the lime juice, cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and cook until warmed through. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with a little cream to serve.
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Pumpkin soup image & image of Maria Rodale from Scratch