There is a cookbook called “The Macrobiotic Community Cookbook” written by Andread Bliss Lerman. Actually there are two, the old and the revised edition. Even before I went almost totally macrobiotic, I used this older cookbook. It is literally falling apart! When we did switch our diet last year James had the hardest time. Actually, he would have a hard time no matter what becausehe is just so picky! He likes 4 or 5 foods and that’s about all he will eat. You can bribe, punish, or anything else and he will not eat new things. (And he used to be the best eater in the family!) That being said, when we did make the switch, John Denver was on of his favorite singers. Well, that old cookbook has a picture of John Denver with his favorite Kanten recipe in it. I took that book out and showed James and he was impressed. Last week our local healthfood store had fresh blueberries, so we bought some with the intention of finally making this recipe. Our John kept joking around saying that we would all start singing John Denver songs when we ate the kanten. So, I fixed him and pulled out the John Denver CD.
It never ceases to amaze me how some songs can bring back so many memories. The CD we have is a live version and the first song is Rocky Mountain High. (Since John Denver sings this alone, I like to add the harmony! But, that has nothing to do with the memories.) Immediately my mind went back a few years to our trip to Colorado. My brother sent us on a highway, I never thought I would forget that route number, but I have, that they call the Million Dollar Highway. It was September and we were pulling our Cougar 5th Wheel. We kept going higher and higher and the temperature kept going lower and lower. When I looked out the window I could not see the side of the road, I could only see down…and a very long way down. My palms get sweaty just thinking about it. But, we made it through. When we got to camp that night we saw one of the most striking rainbows I have ever seen. I remember Joe saying, “What would it take for us to move here?” He wanted to move!
The next song on the CD was Country Home, Take Me Home. Is that the title? I’m not sure, you know it is the one about West Virginia. The first thing that happened was I got a little home sick. Although I have never lived in West Virginia, I did live in the western part of Virginia, which I think may always be my home, and we lived near the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River. My next thought was of my childhood home on Otis Avenue living next to the Grant family. (Their last name is Grant, but they are related to General Lee!) I distinctly remember the son, Pat Grant, singing this song, off key, wearing his cowboy hat. Even in New Jersey, some of us dreamed of living in the country, even then. One memory leads to another and I couldn’t help but to think of our trip to Tennessee in 1982 for the World’s Fair. The Grants had two children, a boy who was a little older than us and a daughter, Vicki, who was born 6 weeks after I was. We grew up next door to each other ever since then. I spent a LOT of time “next door” and they would take me places to keep Vicki company. We were good for shorter trips, but After 2 weeks of being together in TN, we were fighting more than anything. But, after that trip, Vicki and I always wanted to move to Tennessee. Wow, I’m here! We also listened to that song driving through West Virginia on our way to Kentucky to my friend’s wedding in Louisville a few years ago.
One of the other songs is Sunshine on My Shoulder. I can vividly see our house on Otis Avenue and my brothers and sisters being around telling me that was the first song I had ever sung and they had a recording of it. I like to remember those early times when my brothers and sisters were around because now I realize how fast the time went. My siblings were so much older than I and that time was really short. It was not too long before they started moving out and some getting married, and all that family fun. Now we are scattered a bit, so we don’t all get together much anymore.
Last, but certainly not least, when John Denver is mentioned I always think of my cousin Kelly who looked so much like John Denver in the 70s!
So, after all that rambling, here’s the recipe:
John’s Blueberry Kanten
by John Denver
8 cups unfiltered apple juice
8 tablespoons agar flakes (kanten flakes)
Pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
Dash vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries
Combine all ingredients, except for the blueberries, in a large saucepan and slowly bring to boil, stirring occasionally until agar flakes are completely dissolved. Add blueberries and simmer 5 minutes. Pour into a mold and chill. Garnish with 1 peeled and sliced lime, if desired.
We skipped the lime (because we didn’t have one.) Did they like it? Well, James asked for just a little bit on a spoon. He put it in his mouth and made a horrible face. He went on to have 3 bowls last night and had more for breakfast. John loves it too and so does Charlotte. I got a little bowl and really like it as well. We were all surprised how spicy it is and that really makes it taste great. Before writing this I looked in the refrigerator. There is just a smidgen left for me! Guess what I’ll be making again today.