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Flood zones have been modified in Bristol and Plymouth County by FEMA

What does this mean to you? Perhaps your mortgage holder or bank will now require you to purchase flood insurance. Now is the time for sound and practical advice from people who know their business.

Call us today! (800) 491-5347

Fall River (508) 673-5893 Somerset (508) 675-7404 www.celebratethechoices.com

John F. Stafford Insurance Agency Inc.

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New World varieties have become an indispensable protein/vegetable food in American cuisine, from the Southwest (chili and Tex/Mex recipes) to the southern Gulf states (red beans and rice) to Washington, D.C. (Senate bean soup) to New England (baked beans). Their high protein content, especially when eaten with rice or corn, make them ideal for economical meatless meals. While some varieties are picked early and eaten in their pods (green/string beans), most are harvested when the interior “seeds” (beans or peas) are fully grown, ready for cooking or drying. But because beans contain traces of a toxin, they must be carefully prepared and cooked to avoid severe gastric distress (not to mention flatulence), hence the old New England saying, “Pea soup and jonny cakes, makes a Frenchman’s belly ache.”

Squashes and gourds

This spud’s for you From its humble beginnings in South America thousands of years ago, potatoes have become a major food source globally and is now the world’s fourthlargest crop, after rice, wheat and maize (corn). Mashed (or ‘smashed,’ with skins), roasted, deep-fried, baked or boiled for cold salads, potatoes are as “all-American” as pumpkin pie and are a regular portion of American meals. Ironically, America’s early settlers considered potatoes to be poisonous (potatoes are related to deadly nightshade and tobacco, and its leaves and vines are toxic), until their native American neighbors showed them how to grow and cook them safely. Before long, potatoes were exported to and grown throughout Europe, rapidly becoming a major food source during all-too-frequent famines and crop failures. But of the 3,000+ varieties of potatoes, only a handful were grown in Europe, and this lack of genetic diversity left them vulnerable to weather and disease. The Great Irish Famine of the mid-19th century was precipitated by a countrywide fungal blight which killed all the potato crops. Yet this lowly “New World” vegetable is now successfully cultivated around the world—China is currently the largest potato-growing nation in the world, and almost a third of the world’s potatoes are harvested in China and India.

South Coasters serve cranberry sauce year-‘round, whenever we eat poultry, not just turkey at Thanksgiving.

Askutasquash, the Narrangansett word for “a green thing eaten raw,” has been cultivated in the New World for almost 10,000 years. And if you’ve ever taken a foreign visitor for a walk on the wild side (the produce aisle in local supermarkets), they are amazed by the riot of colors, shapes and sizes of native squashes and gourds, a staple of winter dinners. What we call “summer squash” are the soft-skinned early vegetables like zucchini or patty-pan we eat fresh or cooked immediately. “Winter squash” are the late-harvest mature vegetables, cured and dried, like butternut, acorn, pumpkin, or spaghetti squash, that can be stored during the winter and spring for later use. Their seeds can be dried, crushed, roasted or used to produce oil. Dried gourds, the largely-inedible cousins of squashes, were used for

February 2010 / The South Coast Insider

ornamental or utilitarian purposes, like ladles, rattles, bowls or carved lanterns (hence our jack-o’lanterns). During the Civil War, escaping slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad were advised to follow the “drinking gourd” (the Big Dipper) as they made their way north to freedom. The edible leaves and blossoms of squash plants are still used in native American recipes.

The South Coast Insider - February 2010  

The South Coast Insider magazine - February 2010