|Me feeding one of the little baby goats at the farm of The Living Kitchen|
If you’re me and your luxurious evening out to a fine dinner with your husband and good friends starts with feeding a baby goat, then you are thrilled. Because good gracious, these babies are practically tap dancing across the yard while the chef for the night’s meal is picking your green beans out in the garden, and then speeds down the country road on a four-wheeler to head out to cook your dinner. It wasn’t a regular night out on the town.
|The goat herd! Where the amazing goat cheese and milk served at the farm comes from.|
A couple of months ago my friend Tasha (who you might know from Tasha Does Tulsa) told me about these amazing themed dinners put on by The Living Kitchen and we knew we needed to try one out. The Living Kitchen, in it’s own words is “a certified organic sustainable small farm woven into 400 acres located in Depew, Oklahoma, just off historic Route 66. The farm’s single purpose is the continual journey to raise, grow, forage and create the perfect meal.”
Owner and chef Lisa Becklund was a chef in Seattle interested in the local food movement, and wanted to come out to Oklahoma for a sabbatical to learn how to grow her own food. Several years later, she is now running a 400 acre farm where she raises beef, poultry and goats for cheese production, and also tends a massive garden full of fruits and vegetables.
In addition to providing Oklahomans with fresh organic foods through a CSA, they also host these farm table dinners where they invite people to their farm to tour the grounds, meet the animals, and then sit down to a themed and heavenly meal on the back porch of the most gorgeous cabin I’d ever set my eyes on. It was a place you wanted to just curl up and live in. And it was so, so delicious.
|The farm table on the back porch of the cabin where we had our epic lavender feast!|
There were several different types of dinners to choose from– a strawberry themed dinner, a tomato themed dinner, an autumn harvest dinner; but we chose the lavender dinner because it sounded so intriguing and like nothing we would find any where else.
There were six (six!) courses of such amazing sounding (and tasting) dishes such as ‘lavender flatbreat with carmelized onions, kalamata olives and lavender chevre’– ‘garden ratatouille with lavender flax crackers’—there were lavender pork quenelles, garlic and lavender rubbed skirt steak, quite amazing lavenderized green beans and….good gracious, lavender goat milk ice cream with homemade lavender waffle cone and peach sauce.
|This living room space had shades of Hemingway to me, and I loved it. I could have just perched in here all night drinking goat’s milk and lavender cocktails!|
The food was amazing, of course, and that was why we were there, in the middle of the country, driving down a narrow gravel road to eat a meal we’d heard would be exceptional. And oh, it was! What I hadn’t expected, however, was the loveliness of the place where we would be eating. I don’t know if anyone else was as taken with our venue as I was, but when our chef mentioned we would be eating ‘at the cabin’ I hadn’t expected this beautiful place full of old painting and photographs, tattered and well-loved books lining the walls and old beautiful furniture scattered about. And the wood cabin walls…have I ever told you how much I love wood cabin walls? Well I do. It was just like walking into something I’d dream up. I kept staring at all the little vignettes and feeling a little warm and fuzzy. I probably would have been perfectly happy to wander around this little house and leave hungry. But lucky for me, the evening didn’t turn out that way.
|The view back into the house from where I was sitting. I thought this was the loveliest view, with the painting and the wooden wall behind…|
I was in for a six course treat of delicious home made food the like of which I’d never had. And after our meal, when we were all stuffed with more lavender-laced food than I’m sure any of us had ever consumed, our chef came out and talked with us a little about how she prepared the food, where it was grown (for the most part, on her land) and the importance of supporting local agriculture. These are all things I know and am so interested in, but it is also strange how exotic it has now become to actually eat fresh and simply. I am a little melancholy about the fact that I probably have never eaten that much organic food in a really long time (if ever!) and who knows the next time I will again. The simple, unaltered, nutritional food of our grandparents and beyond is not the food experience of every day people, especially here in the U.S. It makes me terribly sad, but then attending events like this, and knowing that there are people here and all over the country who are passionately championing the idea of the real whole food experience and natural health– that is inspiring.
One of my favorite writers, Anne LaMott has said in her writing that she tries to live by the ‘8% rule.’ Be 8% kinder, 8% healthier, eat 8% better. It is so easy to get bogged down in the corn syrup doldrums. But maybe for a start, I can do 8% better. Each day. It’s something.
However, I do know one thing– this dinner was 100% amazing. And if you’re in Oklahoma, this is such a neat experience, to go with friends, your spouse, your family. We laughed so much, we ate so much, we drank so much. We enjoyed so much. And I don’t know the last time I had such a slow and lovely and beautiful meal. It’s my hope that I can bring just a flicker of this place and it’s passion for food and good living home with me into my own cooking. I am revived in my mission to grow this garden (this tiny, gangly garden of mine….) and to feed us all better stuff.
Oh, and I guess now I need a lavender plant 🙂 lavender is oh so lovely in so many ways, I had no idea!~
Til next time,