Editor’s note: For a full review on Ludivine OKC Restaurant, please visit HERE.
There is a line in The Princess Bride where Inigo Montoya says, “Let me ‘splain. No…there is too much. Let me sum up.” Well, I feel the need to ‘splain – not summarize.
Growing up in rural Oklahoma as a youngster meant I was exposed to a life different from my current suburban context. My father was tri-vocational. He worked at FAA for his day job, he and my mother operated a small Angus cattle farm during the evenings and weekends, he did electrical wiring jobs for occasional money and ran a small business with his friend called B&C Enterprises. Dad was the “B.” My maiden name is Bomgardner. B&C enterprises operated a transportation service to and from FAA every work day, bought scrap gold and jewelry to send to the refinery for a small profit, and perhaps other ventures I didn’t even comprehend.
We usually traded my grandfather one of our steers for one of his, thus not eating our own beef (we frequently named our cattle), but beef we knew was raised in an acceptable way. We ate eggs from our Bantam (we called them Banty) chickens and harvested honey from our beehives. We gathered dandelion greens and poke salad off the land and gathered Morel mushrooms from the creek beds. And, we raised much of our food in a garden. An “Organic Gardening” garden.
“Organic Gardening” was one of the magazines my father received in the mail for much of my formative years. Every year, my father would order a load of cotton hulls to be delivered to our garden. They would sit on top of the soil all winter long breaking down with the moisture of the snow, and in the springtime before planting he would turn it all under to begin the growing process once again.
My mother canned vegetables with a pressure cooker. My grandparents raised corn in a section of their land that we harvested every year. We picked sand plums to make jams and jellies, and picked blackberries when they were in season. Our neighbors’ parents had a large strawberry patch that we were allowed to harvest. My grandfather raised watermelons. My uncle in Tuttle and my aunt in Bethany had an apricot tree. My great-grandmother in town had a pear tree. We had an orchard where we raised sweet and tart cherries, peaches, plums and apples.
My brother and I used to play a game where we would ride our small Yamaha 50 under the cherry tree during harvesting time. We would reach out with one hand and grab a bunch while cruising under the tree at top 50cc speed, then stop to see how many cherries we had scored on that particular run.
We purchased milk from our neighbors and a friend in town who had a dairy. My parents made their own yogurt with their yogurt maker. We sometimes make sumac lemonade or tea when the red velvet sumac on our property pollinated at the end of the summer. We cut and bailed the prairie hay we fed our cattle. We purchased bales of alfalfa from local farmers for supplements.
A trip into town to eat at a restaurant was fairly rare. I usually ordered a bologna sandwich or a corn dog when that happened…that was “fancy food” to me. Ah, youth…
I’m sharing this information with you because it might better help you understand why I’m using this space on the RDC to give not just one but TWO shout-outs this week to the soon-to-open Ludivine restaurant in downtown Oklahoma City. I’ve now watched every one of their eleven 4.5 minute videos posted on their YouTube channel. In each segment, they highlight a vendor they have built a relationship with in order to bring the food raised in Oklahoma to the table of those who eat in their restaurant.
My heart warmed while viewing them. We used to raise “Jerusalem Artichokes” in our garden at home. They’re using “Sunchokes” (same thing) in their restaurants. One of the videos shows the pains of gathering Sand Plums and discusses the rewards of why you would do such a thing. And most of all – there are people across Oklahoma who Ludivine has connected with carrying on a tradition of raising organic, nutritious, fresh and wonderful treasures in our precious Oklahoma soil. They seem to be committed to helping you feast on their crops or products that they prepared in a loving and conscientious way.
Here’s to you, Ludivine, for documenting your developmental journeys and relationships with your growers and vendors. And here’s to you, Wagon Creek Creamery, Two Tomatoes Farm, OM Gardens, Regional Food Bank, Avalon Seafood, Willie’s Ribs, Coop Ale Works and Urban Agrarian. (We mentioned Peach Crest Farms earlier this week).
Thank you twice. Thanks for all you do, all your plans and for all you hope to be.
Good luck! (Click the picture below to visit Ludivine’s YouTube videos).