Editor’s Letter: Winter 2009

Life is divided into quarters for me these days, not the kind you can spend, but the seasonal ones determined by our current axis tilt in the solar system. In August, I’m already getting hungry for Thanksgiving dinner and mid-January has me thinking about fresh greens and vine-ripe tomatoes. Living ahead of the seasons can be confusing, but if you keep your tilt straight, you can manage to stay in orbit.

As this winter season rolls around (in reality rather than on paper) I begin to think about gatherings around the table to share meals and conversations. Kids returning home from different seasonal places (California and Washington) joining those of us who remain, along with friends and friends of friends, far from home, in search of a table for their chair.

With tradition in mind, in this issue Edible writer Terri Taylor brings us stories of three families in North Texas where tamale making is not only a family tradition, but also a family business.In my own family, my Grandpa Mac made tamales every Christmas to share. As Terri’s story evolved, so did my questions about how, in Kansas, did my grandfather of Scottish descent, learn to make tamales. The answer came from my Uncle Laddie in New Ulm, Texas. Grandpa Mac learned from his mother, who along with her neighbor in Burlington, Kansas made them every Christmas and sold them in town. One can only assume the heritage of my great-grandmother Rose’s neighbor, who gave our family the tamale making tradition.

You’ll enjoy Terry Thompson-Anderson’s piece on The Future of Texas Wine and most likely it will help you select a Texas wine to grace your holiday table this year. It inspired me to pick up a bottle of Dallas’ own Inwood Estates, Tempranillo.

This issue offers a new feature called Back of the House. In this section we explore local restaurants that make it their duty and pleasure to serve local fare. Anna Caplan visited with the owners of Ellerbe Fine Foods in Forth Worth and found the source of their restaurant idea rooted in tradition. Funny how that word keeps coming up, but when you visit the restaurant, be sure to notice the photos on the wall of Chef McCook’s adventures in her grandparents’ garden in their home on Ellerbe Street.

Soup definitely speaks of winter months and the bounty of the seasons coming together. Soup, Soup, Beautiful Soup by Cynthia Lathrop is a collection of memories, traditions and soup recipes that will warm everyone’s traditional heart. Along with Martha’s Cornbread, better winter fare is not to be consumed.

Finally, not being able to get my mind out of the three-month-ahead-mode, be sure to help yourself to Nancy Reed Krabill’s article educating us on CSAs and Co-ops. Prepare yourself to search out next season’s bounty by learning your choices and how to evaluate the one best suited to your lifestyle.

So full tilt ahead into winter, spinning forward to spring and wishing all of you a season filled with joy and good local food.

Karen McCullough

Editor’s Note: In the fall issue, From Metzgermeisters to Sausage, there was an error made in editing. Page 10, paragraph 4, lists incorrect proportions. The 50-50 mix with the deer, applies only to the last item listed, the pork. The sentence should have read: Here, the metzgermeisters and their assistants, wearing floor-length yellow plastic aprons, prepare the ingredients that go into the sausage, from onions and chiles to meat, including pork, which is mixed 50-50 with the deer.

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Edible Dallas & Fort Worth is a quarterly local foods magazine that promotes the abundance of local foods in Dallas, Fort Worth and 34 North Texas counties. We celebrate the family farmers, wine makers, food artisans, chefs and other food-related businesses for their dedication to using the highest quality, fresh, seasonal foods and ingredients.