The Chronicles of a Steward of Slow Foods

by Jan Cochenour, Vendor-Contributor, The Gumtree Co.

Good Day to All!

I agreed to write this article because I have a thousand and one ideas rolling through my mind, all about food.  So as I start to write the introduction, I am trying to cram all of my thoughts into this first article because I am so passionate about this subject.  But the voice of an old English professor is ringing in my ears: “Clarity,” he says, “and 1 topic with 3 bullet points, and an inspiring, thought provoking closing.”

So here goes….

root beer gum tree

Slow foods.  What are slow foods and why am I a steward of them?  I believe that by reconnecting with the origins of our food and by slowing down the process of cooking food, we can regain so much of what has been lost: knowledge, culture, health and family.   The progression of food is literally the progression of man.  And when viewed from that perspective, 21st century society should be more than just a little concerned about how we are progressing.

Through the years, the great thinkers and philosophers have tried to define our progression from savage beast to civilized man. They have said in their deep sonorous voices booming with conviction, “Language is what separates man from the beasts.”  “Self consciousness is the difference,” another proclaims.  Another shout, “No, the ability to reason is the line of demarcation between man and beast!”  For generations, we humans have tried to finish this statement:  Homo sapiens is the only animal that…..

Let’s finish the statement with a simple word.  Homo sapiens is the only animal that….cooks.  We cook.  Somewhere in our progression through the ages, we began to take fruit, vegetables, meat and cook it.  And by cooking our food we began to differentiate ourselves rapidly from the beasts.  No longer were we spending huge amounts of time gathering, chewing, chewing, gathering, hunting, chewing, chewing, gathering chewing etc… Cooking takes the work out of digesting food by using an outside energy source to break down complex carbohydrates and protein.  Cooking gave us time.  It gave us the time to gain knowledge, develop culture, to consider our health, to create bonds with other humans, to philosophize.

We, the stewards of slow foods, cook. We think something is being lost in our society by NOT cooking. The 21st century society has lost not only the knowledge of how to cook; but we have sacrificed our individual cultures, and compromised our health and our family life.

In the coming months of this article, I will reintroduce you to the slow foods movement.  If you like to read, I will introduce great books to inspire, educate and motivate you to philosophize!  There will be great recipes from long ago that you can make easily in your own kitchen with modern conveniences. By just reading about them, you will have reclaimed some of the lost knowledge of food. You will learn why bread rises and what makes sauerkraut, ferment? We will create a culture in your home by making the foods of different places and by enticing your family to set down their iphones to come see what you are roasting on the barbie or to find out what that delectable smell is coming from the oven and you will have the time to ask them what was the funniest thing was that happened in their day. I will educate you on all of the different food movements with, just the facts, ma’am, so that you can make your own decision about your health.

On our grills and in our kitchens, we can change the progression of man.

I cook; therefore, I am.


Jan Cochenour

Steward of Slow Food

The Gumtree Co.

Who we are and what we do:

The Gumtree Company – Stewards of Slow Food

Jan Cochenour, Ron Tetrault, Larry and Amber Bales a family run business…

We are advocates of making food the old fashioned way. We are strong proponents of restoring the lost knowledge of food: food preparation and food storage. Many folks today are so lost when it comes to what to eat and how to prepare it.  People are interested in ‘real food’ and ‘slow food’ and are looking for a source of information and education on how to do it. That is why we started The Gumtree Co. We provide the kits and ingredients they need to make real food the way our great grandparents enjoyed it.


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