How Yesterday Made Today…

As the stories of our beautiful dishes and recipes continue to expand online, we are invited to acknowledge how we brought farm to table for today’s Cooking School. It’s called the Crescent City Farmer’s Market, and it’s where Michael takes our NOLA crew each and every year right before our class gets together and cooks, in order to buy fresh, local food for a budget of $20 per dish – to feed 17 people. Michael’s greatest emphasis – aside from taking advantage of his position in order to discuss history and culture – is that we can feed the masses honest, healthy meals on a reasonable budget, and the cooking school provides an outlet for that.

On our walk over to the market, Michael shared a lot about the rich history and current state of the New Orleans lifestyle. “Local” to New Orleans means a 250 mile radius. The point of the Farmer’s Market was originally to bring the central business district back to the French quarter. Michael spoke a lot about the economic climate, the complicated nature of taxes and law changes, property ownership, etc. For instance, traditionally there are two floors to each building – the store on the first, and the residents on the second. Taxing and maintenance issues are moving businesses out of the city, however, and it is consequently becoming more residential. There seemed to be an obvious connection between the significance of the farmer’s market in relation to placement, business, and bringing that sense of welcoming and personality back to the home streets of the French Quarter and the American District.

Our trip to the market was fast, busy and exciting. We were encouraged to ask each vendor for their stories and origins, and after about 20 minutes of running around, blindly and frantically meal planning, we were ushered past the last few booths and on our way back to the cooking school. Memorable moments included a surprise from the cinnamon roll saleslady – a full time water quality professional! Exposure to an informative walk through of interesting cultural histories was a treat in itself, and the avocado popsicles weren’t bad either. In fact, they were kind of life changing.

Follow these links to learn about some of the ingredients for our recipes, and their origins!

– Aryana and Lauren 🙂

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