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A Path to Great Food: Oldways Table

There are cook books. There are history books. There are books on the culture of food. Then there is Oldways Table (published by Ten Speed Press) a book that masterfully blends all three.

This book was written by K. Dun Gifford and Sara Baer-Sinnott, the minds behind Oldways, the culinary think tank that brought you The Whole Grain Stamp and the Med Mark. Who would have thought a cook book with essays could be so engaging as to make me miss my train stop? But it is that interesting and I did miss my stop, but I still love reading this book and imagining the recipes I could make. Now I only read it while in the kitchen. The book feels like a travel guide for food and distant cultures – cultures that all share the love of kale, lamb and lima beans. This book is great for the foodie and the healthy eater alike. It explores the basics of the celebrated Mediterranean diet, but the book includes recipes from countries far outside that region.

My favorite recipe from the book is so simple and tasty: Mashed Potatoes with Kale and Olive Oil. It mixes carbs, fat and greens all in one incredible dish. The only thing I change from this original recipe is keeping the skins on the potatoes, since that's where all the nutrients reside.

Go ahead and cook adventurously, even though you will be cooking like people have for centuries. You can find the book for $21.45 at Amazon. It just might be more fun to walk or ride your bike to your local book store and see if you can find it on the shelf there.

To check out the recipe just

Mashed Potatoes with Kale and Olive Oil
from Oldways Table

What you need:
3 pounds all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
Sea Salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, large stems stripped and discarded, leaves chopped*
1/2 cup warm milk or light cream
Ground pepper
5 scallions, white and tender green parts, chopped1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

What you do:

  1. Put potatoes in a large and cover with water, Add a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain and place in a large bowl.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pan or skillet over medium heat. add garlic and chopped kale and sauté for 4 minutes, until softened. add kale to bowl with potatoes.
  3. mash the potatoes and kale together with potato masher of form. Slowly add the warm milk and combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the potatoes in a serving bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with scallions and cheese. Serve immediately.

serves 4

You can also use this mash as filling for stuffed eggplant, peppers or zucchini shells!

*3 cups Swiss chard or spinach can be used as substitutions

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