Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Hunger Moon: Lean Winters and a Recipe for Roasted Root Vegetables

The reason we chose this excerpt from Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection by Jessica Prentice has nothing to do with the release of Universal Studios’ The Wolfman this weekend. We swear.

The following excerpt has been adapted for the Web.

In the deep of winter, when the earth in the North has been covered with snow and ice for many moons already, comes the Hunger Moon. This late-winter lunar cycle was called the Hunger Moon by many peoples in various languages, but always for the same reason—the frozen land yielded little to eat, and game was often scarce.

European American settlers in the New England area adopted the name as one of the full-moon names used in the Old Farmer’s Almanac. They adapted it from Native American calendars, particularly the ones used by the various Algonquin peoples that lived in the northeastern areas of what is now the United States, from New England to the Great Lakes.

Indigenous names for the moon were as varied as the languages that they came from, but often carried similar meanings. The Choctaw name for this moon is translated Little Famine Moon; a Cherokee name is the Bony Moon or the Bone Moon because it was said that there was so little food, people gnawed on bones and ate bone marrow soup to survive. All of these names lament the scarcity of food. In the days before refrigeration and wide-scale shipping of produce and staples, hunger often became a real threat by the end of a long winter. Both hunter-gatherer societies and farming peoples subsisted on very little after months of bitter cold.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Serves 1 person for every 3/4 cup of vegetables

You can use any of the following vegetables, in any combination:

  • Celery root (aka celeriac), peeled
  • Parsnip
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnip (either white, purple, or golden)
  • Beets (either red, golden, or chiogga), peeled
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes (any color)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 475° F.
  2. Peel any vegetables that have thick or blemished skin. Cut the vegetables into a uniform dice—1/2-inch dice, 3/4-inch dice, or 1-inch dice—or just quarter or half the vegetables, if they are on the small side. The only important thing is that all the pieces are about the same size. The smaller the size, the faster they will cook. The larger the size, the longer they will take. Half-inch-dice vegetables can roast in 20 minutes or so. Figure about I cup of vegetables per person as a side dish.
  3. Coat all the vegetables with olive oil. I do this by getting the pan I am going to use—a cast-iron pan, sheet pan, or roasting pan, preferably metal—and pouring in a generous amount of oil. I put my hands right in the oil and spread it all around the bottom of the pan, getting my hands oily. Then I pick up the vegetables in handfuls, rub them with my hands to cover them in a thin layer of olive oil, and drop them in the pan.
  4. Ideally, prepare enough vegetables for a single layer in the pan you are using. You do not want to pile up the vegetables. If you have too many to fit in a single layer, get another pan, grease it with olive oil, and put the rest of the vegetables in there.
  5. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground black pepper over the vegetables. It is hard to say how much salt to use. It is better to use too little than too much, because you can add more later. You also don’t want to overwhelm the flavor of the vegetables with salt. So just sprinkle lightly at this stage, until you’ve roasted vegetables often enough to know what you are doing.
  6. Put the pan in the oven on the top rack and leave for at least 15 minutes before opening the oven, then check them. They should be starting to brown. You can use a spatula to mix and flip the vegetables in the pan, or just shake the pan. Stick a fork in the vegetables to see how tender they are. If they feel pretty tender, try eating one. Check them regularly like this until you are happy with the results. Add more salt and pepper if you like and serve with fish, meat, or egg dishes, and a fresh salad.

From Farm-to-Table to Farm-to-Everything

No longer restricted to the elite segments of society, the farm-to-table movement now reaches a wide spectrum of Americans from hospital and office cafeterias to elementary schools and fast-casual restaurants.Nearly a century ago, the idea of “local food” would have seemed perplexing, since virtually all food was local. Today, most of the food consumed in […] Read More

The Three Cs of Farm-to-School

Most people know about the three “R’s” – reading, writing, and arithmetic. But, have you heard about the three “C’s”?If you, or your kid, is at a school that takes part in the Farm-to-School movement, then you may already know about them.October is National Farm-to-School month, and in their book Farm to Table, authors Darryl […] Read More

Redefining Regional Cuisine: Black Trumpet Chef & Author Evan Mallett

Whether at home or in a restaurant, chefs must rely on fresh, seasonal ingredients to fuel their creativity in the kitchen.At the renowned Black Trumpet restaurant, located in the historic seacoast city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Chef Evan Mallett and his staff reflect the constantly changing seasons of New England, celebrating the unique flavors and […] Read More

Recipe: Apple Kimchi

Looking for a new way to feast on the premiere fruit of the Fall? Try Apple Kimchi.At the renowned Black Trumpet restaurant, located in the historic seacoast city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Chef Evan Mallett and his staff reflect the constantly changing seasons of New England, celebrating the unique flavors and traditions of fished, farmed, […] Read More

Sandor Katz on Reviving His Cult Classic Wild Fermentation

Why would you update what is arguably, a classic book on fermentation?That’s the first question put to author Sandor Ellix Katz by Senior Editor Ben Watson, and rightly so. Sandor’s Wild Fermentation has long been viewed as the starter kit for thousands of fermentation experiments around the country, if not the world.This August, however, Sandor […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By