Sweet Alyson was helping us clean the house today. As we chatted about life she says, “I need to introduce you to the Root Cellar!”
I said, “I know it! I love it! We love the people of the Root Cellar like family!”
Immediately, her body relaxed. Her body took on the feel of what the Miccosukee Root Cellar works to create. Her shoulders settled, her head swayed, and her eyes took a second to close and rest.
For a split second, she was there at the Root Cellar -- at peace, at rest, relaxed, and enjoying simple space and a locally harvested, thoughtful meal.
The Root Cellar has become a regular and crucial aspect of our lives. Every Sunday, Reuben Fields (The Man Behind The Cellar) delivers the Root Cellar compost to our pigs. My children rush to the hand built wooden trailer loaded with buckets of slop and take a seat on the edge to watch the pigs feast on delicious leftovers dumped over the fence. Pink pig faces covered with beet juice, carrot ends, chicken pieces, and leftover lettuce leaves, peak up for a quick “Thank You” before digging back into their weekly indulgence.
Sunday afternoons take on the spirit of the cellar. Simple space. Slowed time. Thoughtful interaction. Respect of time and space and land and life and usually a cup of freshly roasted coffee.
Recently, I was planning a writing assignment for Amelia and George Wilder. Their inquiries about the Root Cellar were mounting, so I decided to teach them a little about writing as food critics. We spent a week reading restaurant critiques and practicing some ourselves. We discussed service, presentation, taste, atmosphere, and price. We talked about the difference between fast food and slow food. Good service and bad service. I gave them some demos to help out. That was some serious fun.
We talked about how a critique of Chic-Fil-A would be different than that of a fine dining restaurant as they were working to achieve different goals.
We decided that it was time to practice our skills and finally visit the Miccosukee Root Cellar. The kids dressed in their finest, packed a pen and a notebook and set out on their first restaurant critique.
They immediately sensed that the Root Cellar wasn’t fast food. It wasn’t All You Can Eat Super China Buffet. It wasn’t Subway. It was the opposite. It was: Hang your hat. Take off your watch. Put up your phone. Don’t rush. Don’t gorge. Feel the calm. Feed your soul. Think about the preparation, the presentation, the arrangement, the history, and the beauty of the flavor.
The handmade crackers. The aged salted pork. The citrus jelly. The local cheese. The candied onions. The pickled veggies. The fresh baked bread. The slow roasts.
They observed their surroundings and soaked in the environment.
If you are starving and in a hurry – hit Taco Bell.
If you have time. If you can make time. Time to support the local gardens and farmers. Time to protect your environment. Time to soulfully reflect. Time to listen to local musicians. Time to enjoy local flavor. Go and introduce yourselves to The Root Cellar.