Cat’s Kitchen Creed
I believe in shopping local and eating foods raised using sustainable methods. This means foods grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides, no GMO products, no added hormones, no industrial processing, and no artificial anything. Just real, simple food prepared according to old traditions to maximize the health benefits and bio-availability of the nutrient content.My recipes reflect these beliefs.
Blog Header for Cat’s Kitchen
I used photos from my collection to comprise the header for Cat’s Kitchen. Subject matter and credit for the photos is as follows, from left to right:
- Young Beets in Cat’s Garden (by Cat);
- Gayle’s Goat Doe (by E. Fitzgerald);
- Rhubarb Pie (by Cat);
- Montana Huckleberries in the Wild (by D. Morgan);
- Sandbakels (from Norway-hei.com);
- Hens and Compost (by E. Blackler).
My kitchen history
I was born and raised in Bigfork, Montana, but moved to Portland, Oregon after college to pursue my career as a telephone engineer. In college I majored in biology and chemistry, and somehow I learned to apply my chemistry learnings in the kitchen. This gave me great insight into the harm of processed foods, and I took pride in cooking ‘from scratch.’
My Dad was born in the late 1800s of Norwegian immigrant parents on a farm in north western Minnesota, north of Greenbush. In his early 20s he moved to Scobey, Montana to try homesteading with two of his brothers. But he didn’t take to farming and used his college degree to work as a county extension agent, and later became a grain buyer across Montana’s hi-line, just south of the Canadian border. As a ‘Norwegian Bachelor Farmer,’ he didn’t marry until he was 55, and I came along 2 years later.
My Mom was born in the 19-teens of Danish immigrant parents on a homestead near Scobey, Montana. Her mom, my namesake, died giving birth to Mom’s younger brother when Mom was 3. Their Dad could not support the children on his own, so Mom, her older sister and younger brother were raised in a Danish Children’s Home in Tyler, Minnesota. The home was a farm, and the children were the farm-hands. Mom learned to grow and preserve foods, to cook and keep a home while living there. She moved back to Scobey to look after her aging father when she was in her late 20s, and that is when she met my Dad.
They brought much of what they learned on the farms to their new home in Bigfork, and it is from them that I learned what constitutes a healthy diet, the importance of raising as much of your own food as you can and to purchase the rest from local farmers and ranchers. To this day, I shop in local stores, butcher shops and farmers markets. (Although I must admit that when I was a young adult, I was intrigued by man-made foods like margarine, but by my 30s I’d learned the error of that path and returned to my food heritage).
My food journey
In my 20s (living in Portland Oregon), I ate a primarily vegetarian diet, not only because I didn’t have much money, but also because most of my hippie companions were vegetarians. My first cookbook was The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas, and you will find my adaptations of many of her recipes on this blog.
By my mid-30s, I’d left the vegetarian realm and embraced a well-rounded diet that included locally-raised beef, lamb, chicken and other fowl, wild fish, and buffalo imported from Montana, as well as my vegetarian favorites. My food journey has led me to learn many traditional cuisines, including Scandinavian, French, Chinese, Eastern-European, Italian, Greek, and Mediterranean; you will find these traditions in many of my recipes.
Like most Americans, I followed the advice of health practitioners, and went low-fat for a few years. I was hoping to lose some weight, but I actually gained 20 pounds because I replaced the fats with hi-carb foods. This experience started me on a research of the medical literature to discover what went wrong. I learned I have elevated blood insulin (insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome) that means I don’t metabolize carbs very well. All of this led me back to my food roots, which includes all those hi-fat things I gave up: eggs, butter, cream, fatty meats, lard for cooking, and so on, all of which helped me to minimize my intake of high-carb foods. Upon making this change, I’ve never felt better, and I’ve even lost a few pounds.
Thus you will find many of my recipes rich in healthful (natural, minimally processed) fats. Sweet recipes reflect my avoidance of sugar by replacing with stevia whenever possible.
Upon retirement from my job as an engineer, I returned to my birth home in Bigfork Montana, and live in the home where I was raised. It didn’t take long for me to join with like-minded friends to form a local sustainability group, for which I am the editor of our website, The EssentiaList (essentialstuff.org). I am also involved in the non-GMO, and Raw Milk movements.
I am not a doctor and am not qualified to advise you on your specific health situation.