Reimagining American Community

farmersmarketJonell Galloway is surely the only person from Hardinsburg, Kentucky to ever study Sanskrit. But that’s secondary. More important is the way this spiritual daughter of Wendell Berry has developed the Rambling Epicure, an encyclopedic and literate website which describes itself thusly: “A gastronome’s guide to mindful eating. A serious approach to real-food shopping, cooking, and dining.”

Based in Switzerland, The Rambling Epicure “joins the voices of food writers and artists from around the world who are interested in promoting a mindful, responsible approach to real food shopping, cooking, and eating, as well as food politics, safety, history, art, literature and philosophy.” Jonell has herself posted on several occasions about her fellow countryman Wendell Berry on the site, such as this piece on the connection between a local economy and mindful eating.

Here you will find recipes, videos, how-tos, in abbondanza, along with agrarian reflections such as these:

In Kentucky, like in Switzerland, the land is considered a priceless treasure. Like in Switzerland, driving through the countryside and looking at the cows in the pastures and the glow of the sun on the snow-covered mountain peaks is the equivalent of walking through a gallery of masterpieces at the Prado or the Louvre.

Like most Swiss people, Kentuckians live simply and modestly. They maintain a sense of integrity, honesty and clear-mindedness which many Americans have lost along the path to so-called progress. Their values have remained intact.

These values are not so very different from those of Swiss montagnards, who often speak many tongues, live and travel all over the world, make millions of francs, but still refer to themselves as “mountain people.”

For many of us, love of the land is in our blood and blood runs thick. It provides us with our sustenance, our food, and it provides us with our fun — mountain sports, hiking, and, in Switzerland, moonlit walks through the vineyards. And still today, in Kentucky, owning a farm is a tradition, almost a given, for a true Kentuckian, even if you’re a doctor, lawyer or banker.

The land is our art gallery, full of ever-changing masterpieces of nature; its value is instilled in our hearts as well as in our pockets, and we need to treat it with the same care as we would treat any priceless object. We need to react when it is endangered.

About the Author
A native Texan, Elias spent several good years studying classics and medieval Italian at UC Berkeley before wasting several more years in financial journalism around Chicago. He has written for Strong Towns, the American Scholar, the New Urbs blog, and the Gary Catholic Worker and is the co-author of a textbook on character education. He briefly published something called The Armchair Historian. None of his three teenage daughters display an interest in the Greek and Latin classics thus far. He and his family reside in leafy Valparaiso IN.