By most accounts, I am a fairly experienced cook. I have been the primary food preparer in my household for most of the past 40 years. I have made hundreds of loaves of sourdough bread, starting from whole wheat or rye berries. I have six fermentation crocks, and one is going most of the time. I have made a variety of fermented “soft drinks,” my current favorite being various fruit-based shrubs. One of Lynda’s nieces claims she likes to visit us in San Francisco at least partially to eat my food. Yet, I am only the second best Cowan male chef.
My first inkling that my son Joe, who manages production and develops new blends for Dr. Cowan’s Garden, was a budding chef was when he made all the deserts for his sister’s wedding reception. He had gotten the Tartine bakery cookbook, considered by many the best bakery in the U.S., and made most, if not all, the recipes. Soon after, he came one Thanksgiving and made the entire meal from scratch. In comparison, I heat up food. The reason my food sometimes tastes good is because I use the best quality, freshest ingredients and at least don’t ruin them when I cook; Joe actually knows how to cook.
During the past decade, Joe has traveled to Asia and the Far East and developed an appreciation and taste for Asian cuisine. This experience led him to create our newest blend, Threefold Blend (Spicy) Powder. Threefold Spicy merges the Goethean conception of the ideal threefold plant (roots, leaves, fruit); the Asian sense for the marriage of heat, spice and sweet; and innovative ingredients sourced from unique growers. It contains a root (carrot), a rhizome (ginger), a leaf (wasabi) and a fruit (pepper). It has a sweet component in the carrot, spicy components in the ginger and wasabi, and a gentle heat component in the peppers.
The wasabi leaves were grown on the only commercial wasabi farm in the U.S. and were stream-grown in a pristine area on the Oregon coast of Oregon. Wasabi is prized not only for its delicate flavor but also its sulfur-based medicinal properties, which greatly aid in the detoxification processes. The peppers are the popular Jimmy Nardello variety, which combines a gentle heat and the sweet-pepper flavor. Peppers are also added to help with the nutrient absorption of any food to which they are added. Ginger is a well-known spice also valued for its medicinal properties, especially its ability to reduce inflammation.
Our Threefold Blend (Spicy) embodies the essence of our company. It is the marriage of amazing flavor, one that will enhance virtually any savory dish, with the medicinal properties found in common foods. In addition, we pursue innovative sources of our raw materials, and whenever possible throw our support behind farmers who are doing right by the earth.
Well done, Joe. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our farmers and our resident chef – Joe.
In health and gratitude,
Tom Cowan, M.D.
For many of us, our relationship to food is a never ending journey. Sometimes to move forward one finds themselves looking back. For bread and specifically the grains used to make it I find that the best results are indeed found in reflection. It is sometimes true that modern ingenuity has value for us, but that is usually only when paired with ancient wisdom. For grains, that wisdom is in the ancient varieties that have been grown for thousands of years.
During this time of relative uncertainty, we have decided to renew our commitment to gardening. Dr. Cowan’s Garden was originally a place, located in Napa Valley on a plot of land generously donated by a friend. It embodied our ideals and was a sanctuary for growth and learning.
The garden was our muse for new product offerings and for improving existing ones. The garden kept our ambitions grounded to certain fundamentals, as the practice of gardening can be challenging.