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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

The Rumbly Tummy: Cooked Alive!

We are back in South Dakota, and while we'd love to see the skies, they're mostly smoke filled from the wildfires in Canada. We made the best of it last week by enjoying some indoor time at a small guest cottage on the prairie of Gregory thanks to our friends, Robert & Nancy Wirsing.

These two found us a couple of years ago at the Sioux River Folk Festival, and invited us to play their town-- on the condition we'd stay on their land for a couple of days. We agreed. We love the Black Hills of South Dakota-- but staying with the Wirsings ignited our love of the Prairie. And the Wirsings ignited our love of them. We struck a quick friendship, and they gave us a tour of the land, where they are restoring the original grasses native to these parts, growing their own food, and using their resources to uphold regenerational farming in a land of Big Ag. They are tirelessly motivated.

We returned this year for a whole week, where we stayed in the next door cottage and watched the smoke billow on the horizon. We played a couple of shows, but mostly, we spent our time resting and catching up with our dear friends. In the evening, we ate simple meals of vegetables pulled from the garden and cooked by Nancy. It was delicious. But of course it was. Nancy spent more than a decade compiling a hefty cookbook called Cooked Alive.

"I didn't know if I'd get a second shot, so I put everything I had in one," she told us.

We had the pleasure of sifting through it and even got to cook a recipe for Eggplant Curry at the cottage on an evening when Nancy & Robert were off on another engagement. This book isn't a quick read-- it's dense with instructions on how to properly prepare individual vegetables, and the recipes have all been tested extensively in 10 years. It's a beautiful compilation, and one that we will be picking up for ourselves on our way back through. If you are someone looking to get back to eating wholly, fully, and with nourishment, this is a book for you. It will serve as a guide from the most simple to the extravagant, and all with the intent to step away from the gleaming packages of the grocery store and into the soil again.

It'll supply you for a decade or more.

So, for this month's Rumbly Tummy, we are doing something a little different. Instead of a recipe, we will leave you with this encouragement. It's summer veggies out your ears season. Instead of complicating the matter, keep it simple. Enjoy the crunch of a cucumber with a smidge of salt. Cut a tomato in half and bite it and let the juice drip down your arm. Slice a zucchini in half and throw it on a hot pan for a minute before you serve it alongside that tomato. Eat what you grow, or eat what those around you have grown-- whether that's your neighbor or your local farmers market. Eat organic if you can. It's hard to learn to love the Prairie if you don't spend time on the Prairie. It's hard to learn to love to eat-- to love the moment you're in-- if you don't take the time to enjoy it just as it comes to you.

Bon Appetit.


Aug 05, 2021

Wonderful experience! I am so happy for you folks. Dan and I have had the pleasure of eating meals from things we have grown ourselves. It is a great feeling and it tastes wonderful! Glad you two are with friends and having fun!

Aug 06, 2021
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We currently have a box of tomatoes, four different varieties, and a counter full of squash, zucchini, yellow, butternut and spaghetti, and sugar snap peas. We are having so much yummy!!

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