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Start Charts now available


August 21, 2019


COMPANION BOOK: Sentinel columnist Michelle Priddy is now offering a companion booklet to her popular "Kitchen Strategies" column. The booklet is called "The Kitchen Strategies Start Chart Recipe Tables." It's available to purchase at the Sentinel office.

One of the Sentinel's most popular regular features is the unique column "Kitchen Strategies," by local writer Michell Priddy. Starting this week, the Sentinel offers a companion booklet to the column called "The Kitchen Strategies Start Chart Recipe Tables."

The booklet is designed to allow readers of Priddy's popular column to more easily record and prepare recipes by charting the ingredients necessary. The charts allow quick recording of recipes and easy replication as needed. It's available for purchase at the Sentinel office for $8, with $2 from every purchase designated as a tithe to Priddy's church, New Life Assembly of God in Goldendale.

"Ingredients didn't used to come with recipes, and grocery stores weren't just a few blocks away in Great Grandma's time," Priddy says. "Not too long ago folks cooked what they had, asked the Good Lord to bless the food they were about to eat, and made up their own recipes as they went along using their local food stuffs. Why can't we do the same today?"

The Start Charts are a way to combine ingredients already in the cupboard, to categorize what's on hand, and use up leftovers. "But mostly it is a way to take control over what I'm feeding my family and to keep track of the combinations of ingredients my family likes, so I can do it again," Priddy says. "The back of each Start Chart has room to fill in the squares to record my own recipe. That's why they are recipe tables as well as Start Charts."

Every place has their own local food ingredients. "I'll never forget the horror on Grandma Lydia's face the first time I spent a chunk of change to fill the requirements of a fairly simple recipe compiled by a supplier of exotic produce," Priddy recalls. "I just had to have some of that exotic produce. Then I had to make it into something. Well, it didn't taste all that good. First off, my taste buds were accustomed to the local foods I grew up with, not the exotic supplier's produce. Secondly, perishable foods that travel lose flavor and nutrients.

"When I got married, he and I decided we didn't want day care raising or kids. One of us needed to stay home. I made sure it was me. As a single-income family, being frugal has become a way of life and a big part of being frugal is staying healthy. Eating healthy is the best way I know to stay healthy."

Priddy says when her kids were little, they were gleaners. "Farmers aren't as eager these days to let gleaners into their fields because of contamination factors, salmonella, e coli, and such," she says. Back then we were allowed into the fields after the harvest. The first big pick for the kids and me was green beans that a farmer allowed us to pick after the cannery had taken all they wanted. After bringing home the beans, I realized it wasn't enough to get the good food-I also needed to prepare it in ways my family would eat. And there are only so many ways to eat green beans. I made a chart to keep track and provide variety. That was the beginning of start charts."

Priddy found increasing satisfaction in acquiring the best ingredients. But she found another major advantage. "It's great that my family gets the benefit of the best nutrition," she says, "but it's even better when I can do it without breaking the bank. Who says good cooking has to be expensive? It doesn't."

The Start Chart Recipe Tables are designed to be a template to help a cook customize the dishes they serve. "I put them together for the church ladies when I was teaching a class before we moved here," Priddy adds. "Trying to show how to use the abundance of God given local produce caused me to compile these Start Charts in the hopes that it would be a way for them to ease away from processed ingredients and begin building their own recipes for their health and the health of their families."

Priddy feels that failure with a recipe can also be an effective way to learn. Not every self-made recipe is going to be a good one. "That's part of the path," Priddy says. "Every now and then it's good for the taste buds to endure unpleasantness. It steers them towards better things and makes them much more appreciative. I am very sure the burnt main course and raw side dishes new cooks serve as supper early on makes the well-timed succulent meal all the more appreciated.

"Using these Start Charts have made it possible for me to control what I put in my mouth. For my family's well-being, I try to use the simplest ingredients. That way I decide how much salt or sugar or protein or milk goes into the dish. I can use whatever I have, however I like. If it doesn't taste good or isn't healthy for me, it's on me, it's my choice, my responsibility."

Priddy's Kitchen Strategies column has always been about helping people realize that when they make a dish or meal, they have choices. The food at hand might be tastier, more nutritious, and perhaps even easier to make that they thought.

"When people read my column, taking the time to read my point of view, they are trusting me to provide meaningful information in a concise manner," Priddy says. "That's why I don't blog. The internet platform makes it possible for anyone and everyone to vomit words, meaningful or otherwise, and it takes hours to sort through the meaningless to find the good stuff.

"That's what my readers want, the good stuff. That's my goal with Kitchen Strategies and the Start Chart Recipe Tables. To share the good stuff and make every word count, because I don't like to waste my time, and I'm not in the business of wasting other people's time."


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