I was given the opportunity to speak with Nancy Fuller, the host and chef from Food Network’s show Farmhouse Rules. Nancy was raised on a farm in New York in the Hudson Valley, has been a caterer and a chef, runs Ginsberg’s Foods with her husband. Besides feeding her family, 6 kids and 13 grandchildren, she stands behind local food and promotes “fresh is best”.
Each episode of Farmhouse Rules not only shows you how to make a couple dishes, but will show you where she gets the ingredients. Her recipes are old family recipes or farming recipes passed down through generations. They show local farms, and how you can easily become a localvore without lecturing.
Why is Nancy adamant about bringing fresh and nutritious food back into the home? When she grew up her family had a huge garden, this was the time before home refrigeration. “Nobody had freezers at the time, we’d drive a mile and a half in to town to get our meat of the freezer, and then go back and cook. Everything was fresh out the back door. Which is what we’re getting back to now. It’s history repeating itself.” There is a growing trend of young gardeners, localvores and even home cooks. They are the the perfect audience for Farmhouse Rules!
“It’s hard to tell if you’re actually eating organic or not, if the wind is blowing or water is flowing [chemicals] can get in your stuff. I feel that you eat food that is grown locally and without pesticides. It doesn’t need to be organic, but out of the soil that isn’t filled with toxins. I’m a huge advocate of eating local and healthy. I’m a huge proponent of awareness. When you see me in the field feeding the sheep, then I’m making lamb stew, it’s a visual instead of a lecture.”
But what if you’re not able to get fresh or local? “I think people need a realty check today, that people need to learn where their food comes from. Find a potato farmer, find a local guy.” Basically use the best ingredients you can find and learn where they’re coming from. Your meals will come out better and will feel better for it!
Being of a older generation Nancy also has some serious thoughts about meal time and how it can help bring the family closer together again. “I’m against having any devices around at meal time. I’m trying to get people to sit down and speak to each other at the dinner table. I made my kids sit down every night at the dinner table. There were no exceptions…Ever. You put the dinner down in front of them, and that’s what they eat.”
Nancy’s recommendations for picky eating children? Mac and cheese and chicken fingers, Toast that can be dipped in soft fried eggs or peanut butter and jelly! Their palates aren’t fully formed, and there is no reason to force them to eat things they don’t like. But don’t give in just because they don’t want to eat what you made for dinner.
And finally Nancy’s thoughts about our generation cooking for our families, and feeding our kids: “You need to get your act together. I want to take all of your kids and knock your heads together. It’s accountability. It’s prioritizing. I think it’s all about accountability. You need to get your ass in the kitchen and make something for those kids. If it’s bison or beef.”
Nancy’s no holds barred attitude and promotion of local food and flavors makes Farmhouse Rules a quick favorite. You can follow Nancy on her website and blog to find out what’s going on in your area, and what you could expect to see on upcoming shows. Tweet with her to get meal recommendations and as always tune into her show. Farmhouse Rules is playing on The Food Network Saturday’s this spring at 10:30 am. The second season of Farmhouse Rules premieres on April 19th.
Completely agree! Fresh and local is so much better than anything I’ve ever cooked with. Although most of the time I could use my head knocked with giving up with my picky eaters.