Gramma Willi’s Random Blogging

Rough Times Come Again No More

It’s January 2009. Everybody’s talking about the world’s economic collapse. Canada said it’s officially in a DEPRESSION last week, while the United States, Asian and European countries are still calling it a RECESSION. This is leaving the rest of us wondering, what should we be doing about it?

Being old enough to be a Gramma, I’ve already been through a few recessions. I also listened hard to my Mom and a lot of other older-than-me people tell me what the last Depression was like. I’m pretty sure that this one will be way harder on big companies than on the average person… so relax a little, willya?

My strategy is to ignore the hype, get back to basics and do everything I can to share what works for my family with people who are asking what to do. After all, when you cut out the opinions of the media, your boss, banker, wealthy people and “experts,” the bottom line is “what can I do to help myself and my loved ones?”

I wrote the Rough Times Cookbook a few years back to help people like you and me. Lately, it seems a whole lot more important to get it out there as widely as possible! People are starving in cities, towns, whole regions of the Earth and it’s NOT because we don’t have enough food to feed us all. Answer questions about what we eat, spend our money on, how and and where and why we buy things and you’ll find out important truths about yourself and our world.

Seems to me, too many of us are acting like the big companies – selfish and lazy. Too many of us depend on governments and big companies and don’t take control of the little money that we do have. Not enough of us are learning OR doing what it takes to take care of our communities and our lives and become more self sufficient. For us little guys to survive, supporting each other is the name of the game… after all, the big guys are bailing each other out like crazy, aren’t they?

If you take the information I’m offering to help you take immediate action to get and stay ahead financially, then I’ve done my job. Support this work and then you’ve done your job.

Love, peace, hugs and full bellies for all

Gramma Willi

P.S. My next move is to get Rough Times cooking stuff published and televised… anybody out there interested in a fun, radical, waaaay-cool cooking show? Well then, let’s have a cup of tea together!

Bread – Bannock

Baked Bannock

This is our family recipe, rooted in the traditions of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It’s easy to make and delicious …a good reason to keep a bag of flour in the cupboard. Why run to the store for bread?

3 C. Flour
2 T. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 tsp. Salt (or to taste)
2 T. Oil or shortening
2/3-1 C. Water

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Stir well with a fork or sift dry ingredients together. If using shortening, cut it well into the flour mixture. Make a well in the center of the bowl, add water (and oil), mix quickly to get a firm, but not too dry consistency. Pour into a greased pie plate or 9 x 9 in. baking pan (glass is best). Bake 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean and dry. Serve warm with butter or margarine, jam, peanut butter. Enjoy!

Options: Use unbleached flour, half & half whole wheat and white flour, bran. Substituting 1/4 C. soy flour and adding milk powder adds extra protein.
Add 1/2 C. sugar to mix and: On top of half the batter, add any of the following fruits: blueberries, apples, strawberries – sprinkle 1/2 C. sugar over fruit. Cover with rest of batter and bake.
Mix raisins into dry mix and drop biscuit-size spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet – a great favorite with kids for breakfast and snacks!

Suggestions: Warm leftover bannock in a slightly damp kitchen towel, paper bag or paper towels in the microwave for 2 minutes or for 10 minutes in a low oven.

About Gramma Willi

grammawilli&friendROUGH TIMES COOKBOOK
About the Author: Willi (Wilhelmina) A. Nolan SA

Willi Nolan’s background as a single mother on welfare and crusader for economic opportunities for low-income women gives her an unbeatable background as the author of The Rough Times Cookbook. She developed the book to share her knowledge and experiences with others who live in the kind of poverty that she now looks back on with gratitude (for the learning experiences), and some less-than-fond memories.

Nolan understands that people need good food, and that eating well when you’re poor is a major challenge. She raised two children while on and off welfare and both had food allergies. Rising to the challenge of keeping her own kids healthy, she noticed reported increases in food and environment related childhood allergies and illnesses. This sparked a life-long commitment to community wellness. Her history reflects this commitment:

Since 1998, Nolan has worked under world-renowned epidemiologist Dr. Rosalie Bertell and the International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH).

In 1997, women from the Canadian “Shelter Movement” honored Wilhelmina with its Remarkable Woman Award for her particular achievement as founding President of Project Esperance Non-Profit Corporation in 1987. Esperance continues to provide housing and support services to women and children survivors of family violence in Toronto.

From 1994 to 1995, she attained the position of Vice President of the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto. She also served as spokesperson for the Women’s CED Network of Toronto (Women’s Community Economic Development Network), an organization designed to advance sustainable financial opportunities for women of low income.

In 1993, Nolan became a co-chair of the Coalition for a Green Economic Recovery, which promotes alternatives to environmentally hazardous business practices.

In 1994, she opened “Green Clean,” Canada’s first alternative to conventional, highly toxic dry cleaning.

In 1991, Wilhelmina launched Bio Business International Inc., which marketed “terra femme” environment and body-friendly feminine care products.

In 1994, Nolan was honored with the first cross-appointment in Ontario history to the Child and Family Services Review Board and Custody Review Board by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. That same year, Willi was appointed by the Minister to the federal Environmental Partners Fund.

Using the tools of citizen action and education, she has served her community with dedication as a Board member, administrator, consultant and front-line worker for various organizations in Ontario, New Brunswick, and beyond, including:

Good Life Gathering for Youth, Elders and Community Leaders

Sierra Club

(Big Cove) Elsipogtog Restorative Justice Initiative

Toronto’s Native Women’s Resource Center

International Institute of Concern for Public Health

Women, Environments, Education and Development Foundation (WEED)

Coalition for a Green Economy

The Emily Stowe Shelter for Women

Wilhelmina lives in community with her son in rural New Brunswick.

Contact information:

ROUGH TIMES COOKBOOK c/o The Backwoods Writing House

© Wilhelmina Nolan 2001, 2002, 2009

Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 2:06 PM  Comments (4)  

Food Security, Agriculture and the Future – the 100 Mile Principle

Founder of the Self Employed Women’s Association, Ela Bhatt tells about growing numbers of starving people all over the world, the great distances between food producers and consumers. She speaks to her concept, the “100 Mile Principle,” that urges all to think of using staple foods and food-related services that are produced within 100 miles around us. She also speaks about global economic and environmental disasters created by systems that treat food as a commodity instead of food as a basic necessity of life.

Using the 100 Mile Principle, we can start with our own food first, using and retaining the seed, soil and water knowledge developed locally over generations; the uses, storage, processes, recipes and packaging of local food reside with the generations of cooks. Bhatt invites us to experiment with the 100 Mile Principle with our local daily staple food in 2009 and suggests that we will cut the economic and ecological cost of food, begin to restore the organic human link between ecology and economy and mend the old link between producer and consumer. As she pleads to us so beautifully, “Ultimately, ecology as cosmology or economy as market is the weave of life. Let us start weaving it tighter from 2009.”

– – – – –

Food security for future thought
4 Jan 2009, 0222 hrs IST, Ela R Bhatt,

At the Tallberg Forum, Sweden, I heard two women farmers from Ghana lament, “The food we produce we do not eat, the food we eat we do not produce.”

Would India’s farmers sing a different sorrow?

According to the latest FAO report, the number of hungry people worldwide increased from 848 million in 2005 to 1 billion in 2008. The spreading hunger is weakening food security. Evidently, the world food system is unable to ensure food, which is adequate and safe, to sustain human life. Is India any exception?

If nothing else, over the years we have kept up with the world food system in making it more and more complex but less and less useful to feed the hungry. Simple questions remain unanswered. Safe and nutritious food is promoted as a fundamental right and yet our people remain hungry.

Why do those who produce and process food, farmers and farm workers, most of them women, do not have enough food to eat? Why do food exporting regions report starvation? Returns on global food markets have become increasingly attractive but why do the farm labourers remain the lowest paid and work under worst conditions? Food has today become a mere commodity.

But, food is much more. Food has a sense of locality, home, sthana in India. Food is many-layered in its use and satisfaction. Food is our link from cosmos to livelihood to ritual to myth. It is our life’s culture. Food is our history and our future. Food has many meanings to us. But food security is the language of the state today.

Can food be reduced to business and trade opportunity? Is it not the result of failed political economy, the other of failed morality? Our civilization started with agriculture and today agriculture is under threat. What about our civilization?

We have to protect ways of life and livelihoods of the farming communities from the threat of extinction. We must protect the base of agriculture, small farmers, their produce and their locality of farming. Security stems from local innovations, not distant imports.

To build food security, we must understand that security needs autonomy that grants diversity which stems from locality. Autonomy, diversity and locality are the fundamentals of our food security.

Producer & consumer must come closer

To achieve the above, we must reduce the distance, economic and ecological, between food producer and consumer. Here I wish to suggest my 100 Mile Principle that stems from ecology of food that I mentioned at Tallberg Forum.

I urged all to think of using essential foods and food-related services that are produced within 100 miles around us. I explained that the 100 Mile Principle weaves decentralization, locality, size and scale with livelihood of agriculture. What we need for livelihood as material, as energy as knowledge should stem from areas around us.

We can start with our own food first. Seed, soil and water are forms of knowledge developed over generations that need to be retained locally. So are the uses, storage, processes, recipes and packaging of food. Let us experiment with the 100 Mile Principle with our daily staple food in 2009.

It cuts economic and ecological cost on food. Essentially, the organic human link between ecology and economy has to be restored. The millennia old link between producer and consumer has to be recovered. Ultimately, ecology as cosmology or economy as market is the weave of life. Let us start weaving it tighter from 2009.

Note: Gramma Willi gives thanks to, who pointed the way to this important article.

Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup

A good hearty soup for cold nights, versatile too!

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic (optional)
oil for sautéing
2-3 C. cabbage
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 C. chopped tomatoes
1/2 C. pearl barley
1/2 tsp. dried dill (optional – oregano or basil will do nicely)
Salt and pepper to taste
8 – 12 C. water, (enough to fill the pot)

Sauté onion and garlic in oil in soup pot until soft, add the rest of the ingredients, water to cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 -3 hours, all day or overnight. Serve with your choice of bread, crackers, biscuits, and cheese.

If you’re adding cooked meat or beans, allow them to simmer in the soup for at least an hour.

Hints: Meat lovers can add slices of cooked beef or sausage, while vegetarians can add beans and extra barley, rice or macaroni for complete protein; Lentils are especially good in this soup, and they cook quickly! Almost any vegetable tastes good in this soup. Leftover Spaghetti Sauce (leftover chili, etc.) can be added in place of the tomatoes

Chickpea Curry

Chickpea Curry

This is my son Jordan’s favorite meal. If I haven’t made it for a month or more, he’ll gently remind me, saying “We haven’t had Chickpea Curry for a long time now, Mom.” Because it’s full of spices, it keeps well in the refrigerator for almost a week.

2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic (2 tsp. Garlic powder)
oil or fat for frying
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. mint leaves
1 – 19 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/4 C. apple juice (or applesauce or1 tsp. Brown sugar)

Sauté the onions and garlic until soft, add dry spices and garlic, cook 2 more minutes. Add mint and entire can of chickpeas with its water; add apple juice and stir. Simmer covered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spices are nicely mixed into the gravy and the chickpeas are tender. Serve over rice.

Suggestion: Chopped fresh onion, coconut, raisins and sunflower seeds are delicious toppings.

Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes

A delicious warm side dish or main dish meal for those on a budget. I included this recipe after a suggestion by my dear friend and “Mom” May Nolan of Rogersville, New Brunswick.

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (4 5 cups)
1 onion, thinly sliced
half and half milk and water (fresh, canned or reconstituted powdered)
margarine (or butter)
salt and pepper to taste

Place layers of potatoes, onion, 2 or 3 dots of margarine, salt and pepper in a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish, finishing with a layer of potatoes. Pour milk over all and add a little more salt, pepper and dots of margarine.
Bake in a 350ºF oven for about an hour, until potatoes are cooked and a nicely browned crust is formed.
Suggestions: include a layer or two of grated cheese for extra protein. Sprinkle parmesan cheese, paprika or bread crumbs on top. A little sprinkle of dill weed hidden inside really brings out the flavour of the potatoes! Topping the dish with canned milk before baking gives a delicious brown crust.

Published in: on January 24, 2009 at 8:12 PM  Leave a Comment  

Potato Soup

Potato Soup

This easy, budget-loving recipe makes a meal all by itself, a tasty snack or an elegant side dish. Leftovers freeze well. Double (or triple!) the recipe if you wish.

1 onion, minced
2 – 3 T. margarine (or light oil)
3- 4 large potatoes, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C. milk (optional)

Sauté the onion in a large pot until soft, Add the potatoes, margarine and water to cover 1/2 inch above the vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are well cooked. Using a potato masher or fork, mash some of the potatoes in the pot and stir well to give a nice creamy soup.

Serve hot with bannock or bread.

Suggestion: Add carrots, turnip, parsnip or other vegetables. Add a little chopped meat, tomato sauce or a few beans. Parsley, dill and and garlic really help bring out a nice flavour in potatoes.

Option: One of my pals likes to thicken her potato soup with a flour-water mixture, like you’d do in a gravy… Try it if your soup is too thin; cook at lease 5 more minutes, stirring often.

Published in: on January 24, 2009 at 8:01 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Rough Times Cookbook

RoughTimesCookbook.jpgAbout The Book

ROUGH TIMES COOKBOOK: How to Cook, Eat and Shop on a Low Budget. By Willi Nolan

Written by a former welfare mother and legendary human rights activist, Nolan’s cookbook is a labor of love and a chance to help low income people to eat well for life. People on the smallest budgets will find ways to stretch their food dollars and make delicious, gourmet-quality, quick and easy, meals at home with this timely, simply written book. Sure-to-become a kitchen classic, The Rough Times Cookbook teaches common sense, tried and true ways to shop on a budget, stock a kitchen, store good food and eat healthier.

Although it was written to meet the needs of people who live on very low incomes, anyone who wants to eat well and still have money left to enjoy life will appreciate The Rough Times Cookbook’s no-nonsense approach to eating and living well. Drawing from grandmothers, students, and single parents, The Rough Times Cookbook gives plenty of great tasting, inexpensive and nutritious recipes, from main dishes and soups to quick breads and desserts using ingredients found in most kitchens.

Its great combination of home-style and unique recipes include low meat, no meat, East Coast, Asian, Jewish, wartime and Native Indian cookery. An entire “Meatless Meals” section is devoted to vegans and vegetarians. The thought-provoking section on “Healthy Foods” takes the mystery out of health food, while the mouth-watering recipes provide plenty of helpful hints and suggestions for saving time, substituting ingredients and putting your personal touch to any dish. Most main dishes will feed 4 people and can be prepared for $2.00 -$5.00

The Rough Times Cookbook makes a great gift for anyone who wants to get the most out of their food dollar, and is especially useful for the budget-challenged. $20.00.

Contact: Willi Nolan, The Backwoods Writing House

Hello world!

I’m a newbie blogger and I’m here to help to change the world for the better.

I hope that you find something good to share and take home while you’re here.

All My Relations

Gramma Willi

Published in: on January 24, 2009 at 6:59 PM  Leave a Comment  
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