By Kimberly Griffin
“Down with monoculture!”
That is what Grace Davy of Get Cracking Kitchen said when I asked her what inspires her use of various grains and nuts in her baking. She went on to explain that, as she sees it, we all eat too much wheat. With the current gluten free craze, some people are starting to explore other grains in their diets, and she wants to encourage and assist that exploration.
I, myself, suffer from gluten intolerance. When I first stopped by Get Cracking Kitchen’s booth at the winter market in Rutland, I was delighted to try her cayenne paleo truffle. Of course, the ‘paleo’ diet is also quite the craze right now, but don’t let the hype turn you off. I asked Grace how she labels herself. Gluten free? No, because not everything she makes fits that bill. Paleo? Wrong again. Instead, she labels herself as “anti-monoculture.” She knows what she is not!
Grace likes to play with savory and sweet, combining herbs and spices with a variety of fruits and vegetables to challenge what you expect out of a cookie or a pie. This trickery is not to hide the vegetables but to celebrate them in a different way. I like that. Often parents are encouraged to sneak some veggies into a dish, but Grace wants everyone to know that there are parsnips in her spice cake and beets in her brownies. Her costumers embrace it all! This past Saturday, as I observed folks at the stand, a pair of adolescent siblings agreed to split a beet brownie that was so overrun with the veggie it almost glowed red. That’s right parents, beet brownies, purchased by teens.
Grace was always into food. When she was young, her large family rotated through who was in charge of dinner. Once a week, Grace would create entire meals for her family. She designed interesting side dishes and proteins to keep people from becoming bored with her food. With college came new challenges, such as a tight budget and a need to break away from ramen noodles and instant potatoes. Finding inspiration in Mollie Katzen, who wrote the vegetarian cookbook Moosewood, and Sally Fallon of Nourishing Traditions, Grace jumped into making her own dips and sauces while including grains, beans, and vegetables in her meals.
The necessary frugality of college life, coupled with her now strong foundation of vegetarian inspiration, seems to have set Grace up for doing what she loves and sharing it with others. Get Cracking Kitchen strives to source local ingredients while they are in season, making them fresh and affordable. In order to stock the kitchen, Grace heads to the farm. She picks berries for Yoder Farm in exchange for some berries of her own and helps out at Foggy Meadow Farm. When she can, Grace truly works for food.
She also knows the value of the food she uses, so she makes a point to purchase local ingredients. This week’s basil soup, for example, featured Evening Song potatoes, and the strawberry cakes contained the last of Wood’s Market Garden’s little red treats from last season. The carrot dill ‘lunch pie’ featured local carrots, chard, Bridport Creamery cheeses, and her own garden's dill.
You can find Get Cracking Kitchen treats every Saturday morning at the farmers market in downtown Rutland, the Rutland Area Food Co-op, and through RAFFL’s Farm Fresh Connect online farmers market. You can also find more info on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/getcrackingkit.
Kimberly Griffin is the Farm Manager and Wellness Coordinator at College of St Joseph, working with staff, faculty, and students to eat, move, and live healthier. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.