Ignominious behavior

I’ve recently noticed that some farmers in the region have been announcing that they proudly use GMO’S. If they want to drink the Kool Aid, so be it. Honesty I’m glad that they are letting me as well as other customers know. I don’t see how this is beneficial to the farm. If they want to contaminate the soil as well as the next generation, have at it. Thanks for the heads up.

GMO’S are getting involved in the right to left political spectrum. It’s just down right embarrassing. Being someone that doesn’t subscribe to either party, I see a lot of people on the right defining this topic as a farce. The topic has been explained in numerous documentaries. It’s something that everyone would want to know more about. One would think.

Towards the end of the election people started standing up for these corporations. Honestly! It had more to do with pissing off the left from what I saw. Around that time Monsanto was bought by Bayer. Perhaps that have a better marketing strategy. For me it was a version of idiocracy playing itself out on social media. Not fun. I preferred the movie.

 

Here are some questions that are worth thinking about. Not to say I have any faith in changing someone’s mind who has been drinking the Kool Aid.

How could monopolizing a food source for a large corporation be beneficial for elite globalists?

Why is this a politically charged belief when we eat the same food?

Should I look at multiple sources of information?

What do scientists have to gain or lose for exposing this information?

What’s wrong with the way our grandparents grew our food?

 

 

 

 

White-tailed

Sometime during the mid 1980’s my brother got interested in hunting. The interest that he showed was something that excited my grandfather. Almost immediately, my grandfather had a fresh slate to download his knowledge and excitement on.

While this was all going on my grandmother needed someone to talk to. She wasn’t impressed. Being young I still managed to realize that she needed someone to listen to her. Grampa had an incident back in the 70’s. He got shot by a guy at hunting camp. It wasn’t an accident. The guy was throwing trash on his land. Gramp approached him and it turned ugly. Gramp died a few times on the emergency table. Gram was stuck with being traumatized with the incident and the feeling of being lucky to not have not lost Gramp. She had to take care of my mom and uncle while managing and operating the family business. Gram didn’t get dramatic with her displeasure with the details. She basically mumbled and cussed about how she hated guns. Hunting was one of my gramps guilty pleasures. She never told him he couldn’t ever do it again but had to vent about it from time to time. I now respect how she didn’t demand him to give up his passion. I also respect how she spoke her mind about it. I never saw or heard about them argue about it. They made sure to give each other space and I got the feeling that they were grateful to have each other.

Personally I never got into hunting. It was part of my culture growing up. I remember seeing teammates showing up with blood stained cloths during hockey/hunting season. It was pretty common. If you didn’t hunt you were a minority or a yuppie. It’s fun to look back on memories like that. Being eight years old and thinking nothing of a teammate who just shot a deer and who comes into a locker room decked out in flannel accompanied by blood stains, gloating over killing a deer in great detail while barely being strong enough to tighten my skate laces is an interesting thought process. Most of the information that is pushed in todays world is politically correct. This culture still exists in the NEK.

To see an outsider move to the area and witness something like that first hand is a great social anomaly.”They come here with a fancy Cadillac and leave with in Pontiac”. This quote was given to me while a flatlander was judging my friends father dressed in flannel at a gas station. I have to say, the guy filled the description.

Hunting stories. Redundant is an understatement. Open-minded! Not so much.  Being a young kid when all this was going on wasn’t easy. You want to be one of the guys. When you love to cook. You end up cooking at hunting camp. Having your sexuality could very well get questioned by some tough guy. “Someday you’ll make someone a good wife” . This was common. Culinary Arts isn’t respected by a lot of people. Slapping tough guys around became a regular thing.

When I reflect back, my uncle David was always interesting when he was in the mix. He was with gramp when he was shot. He was big into hunting prior to that happening to him. That incident ruined it for him. He once told me that bow season isn’t right. He claimed that the deer running around for extended periods of time with the bow inside of them is cruel. It was his way of me not feeling bad about not doing what my brother was doing. That was about the most liberal thing that I ever heard come out of his mouth.

My brother recently told me a story about David taking him into the woods, when he was eight years old. He was showing him how to track deer. David said Andy! See this? Andy said yes. David said, this is deer shit. This is how you tell if the deer is close. It looks pretty fresh. That’s when David turned his back and reached down. He reached into his pocket carefully and pulled out some raisins. That’s when David reached towards the deer shit and acted like he grabbed some shit. He then turned to Andy and said. “How you really tell if it’s fresh is if you eat it”. That’s when he threw a few raisins in his mouth. While eating the raisins he said Andy! Are you going to eat one? That’s the only way you will find out if it’s fresh.. Andy said he had a blank look on his face. He went to go reach for the deer shit and that’s when David hit has hand and said. No! What are you doing? While cackling. Eat some of these raisins. They are much better. At this time I like to think I was watching a red sox game with Gramp.

When my brother was eighteen he shot his first and only deer. He did it for Gramp. I was happy for both of them. Mostly for Gramp. It meant a lot to him. A few years later Gramp passed away. It was good to see one of his final wishes come true. A few days later my Gram passed away as well. It was tough to see how sad she was in those last few days. A few years after that my uncle passed away as well. It all happen so fast.

Currently my brother has a wife from Minnesota. She’s shot more deer than him. He’s proud of that. As an extra bonus she’s chainsaw certified. He has three girls. He has his girls involved with the outdoors. They can be found in the garden or pressing apple cider. He is always having them do something that pays homage to the legacy that he was fortunate to have been apart of. The five of them live in Gram and Gramps old house.

My sister has also married someone who is a lot like my Gramp. He has extensive knowledge in hunting. They built a house on the same land associated with my grandfathers garden. They have two boy’s. They raise pigs as well as maintain a garden on the side. Kim is the youngest child. She doesn’t have as many fond memories as the rest of us. She does cherish those memories that she does have.

Everyone has fond memories in my family. A few other people in my family have not been mentioned. That is not to say they weren’t white-tailed at some point in time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born into it.

Growing up with roots in the farming community is something that I’m proud of. My great Grandfather owned the biggest dairy farm in Vermont at one time. My Grandfather grew up on that farm he also continued to grow produce after his father passed. Him and my grandmother owned and operated a small grocery store. My great grandmother on my grandmothers side was a Chef. She used to operate a small restaurant at the same location as the grocery store. It was called the Wee Hoo’s. This was also the name of the store to carry on the legacy. She was like me. Prior to owning the business she was a traveling Chef in her youth. It also just so happened that her name was Mattie. My grandmother was thrilled when I said this is what I wanted to do. When I was in the third grade is when I made that decision. Once I did, she always held me to it. To this day I don’t know how or why I made that decision. Perhaps it was destiny. #CheesyIknow

When I was around four years old my parents moved back to the NEK from Burlington. When I was seven years old my grandparents decided to retire and close the store. I have foggy and yet great memories of being spoiled with getting to choose whatever I wanted in the store.

Shortly after my grandparents closed the store my uncle decided to sell fresh produce and utilize a garden that was in the family for decades. My uncle also would travel to Montreal consistently to bulk up his produce options. After a while his operation would grow. He was set up in St Johnsbury & Lyndonville Vermont as well as Lincoln & Littleton NH. He gave troubled youth the opportunity to help expand his business.

From the time I was eight my brother and I were helping him in the garden. We both preferred selling vegetables with him. We also got a chance to do that. It was a treat to join him on his trips up North to Montreal. We went to farmers markets in the early morning hours. Watching him wheel and deal was pretty impressive when I now reflect on those memories.

As I grew up I always had the chance to make a little extra money helping him out. To be honest I didn’t always have the time with sports and other obligations. But it’s cool to reflect back and think of talking to my Gram while she was rocking in her chair. My grandfather could be caught in the basement secretly making hard cider while hiding it from my gram (teetotaller) while antique bear traps were dangling from the ceiling in his work shop. In his spare time gramp also liked to carve bears with his chainsaw.

Back then it was an innocent time. Organic food was just food. My grandparents kind nature was always felt. My uncle was a prankster and liked to get reactions from people. He always found his way into the picture. (Perhaps I’ll save some of those amazing stories for other blogs). It was a place where my family was always present. By no means was Haute Cuisine going on. But the abundance of the simple things in life where everywhere. The only time I ever saw my grandparents argue was over a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Going on trips to gather drinking water from a spring, shelling peas in the spring time, picking strawberries & husking corn in the summer, witnessing the harvesting of squash and pumpkins in the fall. Then you had the preserves. We never wasted. Gram used to preach! Waste not want not.  It’s awesome to know that my siblings, parents as well as friends will always have fond memories and stories to tell and pass down to future generations.

 

 

 

 

 

Tiko Tiko

I’ve got a Shiba inu. I got her at the pound eleven years ago.  Prior to going to the pound I didn’t have any understanding as far as the breed goes. What made me decide to get Tiko was her strong independent nature. When we first meet I grabbed a stick and told her to fetch. She looked at me and sneezed, I’m pretty sure she even through an eye roll in, or at least I like to think so. Personally I think of that as a good trait. Even though it would be nice every once in a while to have a dog that wouldn’t act like jerk, I wouldn’t have it any other way as strange as that may sound.

I remember doing some research on the breed once I got home. At the time I lived outside of Vail CO. It was a summer night. She was prancing around the apartment like I owed her something. In my research I found that the bread was loyal, independent and bold. It also mentioned the frustration the dog would bring if you didn’t have a sense of humor. Basically the article was saying that Tiko found a new human. It didn’t take long before I realized how accurate that article was. Back then and years to come her favorite hobby was getting off her leash and tormenting me. It was kind of her version of playing hide and go F yourself. In the last few years she has calmed down as far as that goes.

When I moved back East Tiko had a small space right behind me. At the time I had a good friend with me sitting up front. Tiko was judging us throughout the trip. At some points it became comical. She didn’t stop staring at me the whole ride. In this road trip the three of us ended up right around the corner from a guy in Lincoln Nebraska who got shot. After that traumatizing experience the next day the levy on the Mississippi river broke and sent us on a six hundred mile detour. Throughout this adventure Tiko enjoyed marking territory throughout the country. We went on a lot of brief walks. We managed to keep each other in good spirits. We even got to see touchdown Jesus. So that was a fun walk.

Since being in Vermont Tiko has enjoyed the landscape and the change of the seasons. She is always thrilled in the winter during the first snowfall. She also loves foliage. She has had the luxury of living on the lake. Not to say that Tiko likes to swim.. It has more to do with the lifestyle. Yes, a complicated little beast indeed.

Whenever I’ve been doing a project as far as opening a restaurant or operating a restaurant Tiko has had time to hang out in the shade from time to time. Her palate has evolved. My favorite story is when she got hooked on room temperature truffle fries. When I realized this was the case, Tiko was refusing to eat fries unless they were seasoned properly. A lot of people were amazed by a dog being such a snob.

In the last nine years Tiko has eaten very well. Tiko will not eat just anything. I’ve managed to have a picky dog. Yes, she’s got it pretty good. For her sake it might be better if I ran marathons on the side and loved bringing her along or perhaps I could hire her a personally trainer. All and all she knows how good she’s got it.

 

Random quick fired Recap and a few surprises on behalf of Tiko.

About Tiko,

I am better than you. I like long walks on the beach, bacon, running away, truffle fries, mani-pedis from random girls, killing squirrels, again BACON, beating the snot out of larger dogs, prime rib,sneezing condescendingly, sleeping under beds. Sometimes when I feel underappreciated, I fake heart attacks or asthma. I’m easily entranced by other women applying makeup. I’m bold, loyal, independent, stoic and if you mess with people close to me I’ll burn your face down.

 

Tiko Barrett

The daughter of someone who just wrote this ridiculous shit.

Thank you. Drive through..

 

 

 

 

 

Box of Rain

The Box of Rain is fried brussel sprouts accompanied by chevre, marinated & baked red onions, candied bacon, supreme onions & maple balsamic vinaigrette.

The term Box of Rain came back from when I had Timbuktu’s Bar and Grill. At the time I named my dishes after songs and other random sayings. Sure, plenty of sarcasm was thrown all over the menu. It was an interesting time indeed. Yes it has to do with the Grateful Dead song.

Eight plus years ago I was doing a lot of research and development and came back from a trip. This dish inspired me to not play it safe. When I did put it on the menu some people were thrown off by it, but if they ordered it, it was always well received. Before this dish I couldn’t tell people what my signature dish was. The customers determined my fate as far as that goes. To this day I still get emails and texts from people asking how to make it.

The Box of Rain makes appearances on the menu. A lot depends on the quality of the brussel sprouts. If they are looking a little haggard I don’t push the envelope regardless of the demand.

Okay.. I’m done writing my own review/blog. Jeez!

 

Inspired by a True Story

 

 

 

Cubano

The reason I developed the Cubano Sandwich as a feature on the food wagon was because of it’s popularity as something that was unique and affordable. With the Cubano the bread is made from scratch as well as the golden glow pickles. The Ham is Mckenzie Maple Ham. The apple cider braised Pork shoulder is prepared on premise & sourced from a local butcher. The cheese is cabot swiss. Also the mustard is Jed’s spicy maple. This is pressed and often served with truffle fries, chips and sometimes a variety of seasonally inspired salads.

The objective of having this sandwich is that it allows me to feature the local ingredients where they can play a roll with representing the area. This sandwich is very popular in southern Florida as well as many restaurants from all over. Working with our resources is what makes this unique for me and my customers.

 

Kid verses Chef

Most Chefs do not enjoy cooking for kids. Getting kids to enjoy food that isn’t processed has been tough in the past. Good examples would be Mac & Cheese, I’ve found that a lot of kids enjoy Kraft verses homemade. Then I think of processed chicken fingers. Kids that I’ve served in the past have expected that.

In the last few years I have noticed a shift. More parents have introduced real food to the day to day consumption of food. Kids palates are a fun challenge. It’s almost uncharted territory when serving some of them real food. On the other hand some kids have been eating real food all along. To them it’s just another good meal. Alright back to the kid who has been eating chemically sealed and engineered food. It’s like messing with yourself in some ways. Most of us eat that shit growing up. I sure did. Eating easy to be prepared food was like muscle memory for a while. Know it just tastes like plastic to me. So I’ve got that going for me which is nice.

Basically most kids do not like change. They don’t like to eat food that isn’t familiar. They also don’t like to be forced to eat anything. Trickery towards my pitch to get them to give it a shot is all I’ve got. Sometimes I surprise myself, when I can get a kid to like something most kids would otherwise scream at feels good.

Kids typically have no problem telling you that they don’t like something. I can respect that. Perhaps that’s because they are innocent, tired or even other politically incorrect words.

Spicy & bitter are no no’s.  Who would have thought.. Seasonings can work against you in a different variety verses cooking for adults. Figuring that out should a trip seeing how taste buds typically evolve. Overall the little palates can’t handle certain things. So stunt doubling my friends food and their kids food typically isn’t going to fly. But sometimes give it does work. Raw tuna. Not so much.. But offering it is always worth the facial expression.

Luckily I’ve got some kids that don’t have parents flipping the bill. (in case you were wondering). Other than that I play it safe with what I have seen work. Having a substitute snack is a good go to. kids need to eat incase the experiment doesn’t work out. Fresh fruit works. The natural sugars should do the job. A little protein will be a good go to. It’s also a good idea to pitch something that you enjoy eating. Just incase the scream fest in sues.

When I first started thinking about kids more carefully as a Chef I was working in a country club in Colorado. The owner said we were going to give kids carrots and celery sticks with ranch dressing as soon as the table sat down. It worked amazingly. The kids were occupied and the parents could relax. It was healthy. It also didn’t effect the other peoples meals by the kids running around like animals. That’s when I really noticed how important these kids are. You just have to keep them happy or they will ruin it for everyone if you let them. I remembered thinking “why isn’t everyone doing this”.

More recently I’ve been thinking about how food helps & effects kids. When a kid has balance with eating quality  ingredients that kid has a head start verses a kid who eats processed food. Yes, it seems like common sense. It would be clutch if more people could look long term as far as a kids future. Eating shit food is going to create a pattern of learning disabilities, bad health and so on. It doesn’t take a doctor or a Chef to see this, but it does take a corrupt society to discredit primitive food to benefit corporations who increase profit margins by making kids and adults sick and dumb. Wow..  I’ll wrap it up. I’ll go back to my truffle oil & raw sugar.

 

 

 

Executive Summary

Everyone should be able to afford a healthy meal.

My mission is to provide food and beverage that is handled properly and ethically.
The vegetables not being sprayed with chemicals is kept in mind when scouting out local and regional produce.
The beef, chicken and pork are purchased locally from North East Kingdom Processing or Libby’s Meat Market. Ham & Hot Dogs are sourced from Mckenzie.
The seafood that is sourced from the North Atlantic for peak freshness.
Condiments are carefully chosen. For instance pink salt, raw sugar & fresh cracked pepper are used to achieve the best flavor from it’s purity.
BPA free products are sought out. Water without fluoride is brought in.
The beverages are geared towards the seasonality. In the summer you will see Lemonade with local black currant juice. In the fall hot cider is featured. Those are just a couple of examples of the beverages that change throughout the season. As far as consistent beverage options sourced with a purpose I have spindrift seltzer waters. For anyone who wants to feel nostalgic Mexican Coca Cola with pure cane sugar is served up.
To go containers are green. The product served inside of it is made from scratch or sourced from a company in Vermont. Wagon made bread & pickles are a favorite.
The seasonality of the product and whether are crucial towards deciding what daily specials are going to be. GMO free is a priority. Also having various options available such as gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, lactose free & other dietary options are a priority towards the type of customers who enjoy my food.
The most popular item sought out by the locals is the Cubano. It’s preparation is Cuban. The ingredients are Vermont. Also the Hot Dog & Burgers are served up modestly & also with eclectic flair. The grilled Cheese is served with Cabot cheddar, Swiss & American. Then truffle fries get served up as a side. Hand cut fries, dusting of pink salt, parm cheese, minced parsley then tossed & misted with truffle oil.
This mission is a lifestyle for me now. It feels great to serve up food that has the quality of what my grandparents had to work with. Unfortunately, corporations and greed have made this a task. Eating REAL food should come naturally.

 

What Vermont means to me.

People in Vermont that I’ve always looked up to have been the self sufficient, take no shit, independent people that enjoy the simple things in life. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had family, teachers, coaches and friends who have inherited and taught me this trait.

In my travels I noticed that something was always missing. I found myself missing Vermont. I also felt like I took it for granted. I’m also well aware that if I never traveled like some of the people I know, I never would have ending up appreciating Vermont. Oh the irony..
As a Chef moving back home at the time I did became an eye opening experience. Before I knew it the food scene started to explode. The agriculture was being utilized better by the Chefs, coops and Vermonters.
Vermont hasn’t ever had a thriving economy. We’ve always been behind the curve on trends and quote on quote culture. Then something happened. All of a sudden Vermont made became sought out by people from all over. What people had clung to for generations and did time and time again was getting noticed.
So I’m proud. Proud of the hard working people in this state. A lot of like minded people contribute in many different ways to make us unique compared to the majority of the other states where people have other interests. Perhaps it’s those long tough winters. You know what I mean New England. We’re pretty much in this together, for the most part.

Online reviews

I feel lucky to have received all positive with my business so far.
My distaste of negative people who find satisfaction in blackmailing, sabotaging and manipulating people’s passion hasn’t changed. It effects people who put in long hours, who do what they love.Negative entitled people do not car about that reality. Now if you have a problem with the business and the business is rude or doesn’t fix the problem, then they won’t last. It’s as simple as that. That’s the way it’s always been. In today’s world business’s are being targeted without just cause. That’s what I have a problem with.
In a prior business venture I was sabotaged by a former employee. This employee was fired for stealing. The employee rallied up friends to slander my business with bad reviews.  Unfortunately I had to take that off the chin and hope for the best. Justice wasn’t served.
Overall reviews annoy me because I see hard working people getting torn down. A lot of good people fall victim of this. Almost every restaurant deals with this. Negative folks love to be little established businesses to make themselves feel more important about by being a wind bag.
A fun concept for the future would be a review site based on people on a personal level. Toxic people could sabotage innocent people and perhaps other toxic people. They could pander the idea of presenting matter of fact information in which encourages people to suck. Perhaps then, the right kind of people will feel the irony of online reviews. That’s my billion dollar idea. Please, someone steal it.
Pardon the sarcasm
Matt