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There’s nothing like travel to make me hungry for more travel and better food. Usually, I have to leave my home state of Ohio to find good food, great sightseeing, and culture. I rarely think of my corner of the state to behold any form of food that isn’t fast or the chain-restaurant persuasion, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the Culinary Vegetable Institute at The Chef’s Garden in Huron, Ohio.
Honestly, I wasn’t aware that The Culinary Vegetable Institute existed, especially in our little corner of the world. The Institute provides the world’s most innovative chefs with a place to share their food knowledge, to experiment, and to discover new techniques – and maybe to rediscover tried and true methods – for growing and preparing the most flavorful varieties of vegetables in the world.
According to the Institute, The CVI Kitchen Garden™ team searches for the best techniques to produce the most flavorful vegetable varieties in an organic fashion. The CVI is a learning center for the most progressive chefs to pass their vegetable knowledge and techniques to the rising stars of tomorrow.
I’m thrilled to be joining the team at The Chef’s Garden in Huron, Ohio this weekend for a very special meal! The Institute will prepare a delicious meal from the 1887 Original White House Cookbook, while we learn about state dinners during the glorious Gilded Age.
We’ll also hear from Christie Weininger, the director of Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums, as she shares several of those differences with us. “One of the most obvious ones,” she says, “is that people didn’t use standard measurements and, because people relied on cook stoves fueled by wood fires, people who cooked needed to develop significant skills in temperature regulation.”
Most of the recipes from that time were passed down through families; these days, we’re getting ideas from resources like Pinterest, cooking shows, or blogs – none of which existed then.
What you ate, Christie said, depended on the variety of fruits, nuts, vegetables, livestock and more available to your family, as well as how much money you had. “Many people needed to be extremely economical,” she says, “using all parts of an animal because they literally couldn’t afford to waste. This meant that exotic meats were often included in meals.”
If you’re in the area and would like to see the Culinary Vegetable Institute prepare a delicious meal, culled from recipes from the Original White Cookbook (1887), the dinner is this Saturday, February 18, 2017. Drinks will begin being served at 6:30pm. There is a cost of $75 for the event, per person. There is currently a wait list, but if you call 419-499-7500, you can add your name to the waitlist.