For years I have been hearing and reading the phrase “Pioneer Woman” in reference to food. The first references were before I encountered my cooking renaissance, and when I heard, “Oh, Pioneer Woman has a great recipe for Polenta” my eyes would glaze over and I would go to the packaged food aisle in my head. Soon, though, as I was learning to cook and began to learn the types of food my family liked and didn’t like, I began hearing Pioneer Woman’s name (title?) in more and more places. The most often frequent PW name dropper was (is) my friend “lizzie” who is undergoing her own cooking renaissance.
Here’s the thing. I would hear about, or even actually eat, some really delicious food, but when I heard that it came from the Pioneer Woman website, I would tune out. I heard “Pioneer Woman” and assumed (yes, I know) a load of baggage with that name. I expected a website full of free-range, hormone free vegetables with organic seaweed and tofu. I don’t buy into most of the food religion that exists right now, and because most of those people claim to be “back to the land,” I assumed that a woman who called herself “Pioneer Woman” was making the same claim.
Yes. I am aware that the real pioneers didn’t eat tofu. Or seaweed. Or even free range poultry – the hawks and coyotes would have eaten them.
Two Mondays ago, at our neighborhood weekly craft night, my friend Rachel began describing this amazing cauliflower soup she had just served her husband. Just the description of the recipe made my mouth water, and the next day I (a) bought a head of cauliflower and (b) googled “Pioneer Woman.”
Okay. No seaweed. No tofu. A LOT of red meat and pork. This is the type of food my family loves! Instead of the contemporary guilt induced recipes I was expecting, I discovered recipes that made me think of my Dad and my paternal grandmother. Braised Short Ribs, Creamy Tomato Soup, (okay, Grandma would have never used sherry, but the heart is there.) and the Cauliflower Soup, with half and half, and sour cream. I mean, she has an entire section of recipes called “Cowboy Food.”
The cauliflower soup was a HUGE hit and has won its way onto a regular spot in the meal plan. Today I sat down to do my monthly meal plan. I started at Pioneer Woman. I should have done this AGES ago. 🙂