Discoveries – More Jibberjabber About Life and Food

It’s breathtaking to watch a child sit in the grass for the first time. Sure, the newness quickly fades and by the time we’re adults, gazing out at our lawns usually means we’re contemplating whether we should mow it, water it, fertilize it, weed it or just go back inside. But for these new little humans – it’s a source of wonder.  They may have seen it through the window. They’ve been carried over or along side the swaying green mass countless times. But the first time you set a child down in the grass and watch them ponder over something so simple, it gives you pause. They just can’t seem to take their eyes or hands off of it. The concentration and curiosity on their sweet little faces while the blades move through their tiny, clumsy fingers may only last a few seconds, or could go on for several minutes. This is the kind of discovery (and sometimes rediscovery) that makes you feel young again.

This is how I feel about food. It’s been there all along but I’ve never really given it the thought it deserves. There were things that I’d seen in grocery stores my whole life, but had never even considered bringing home. Now I’m looking around and touching and smelling and tasting everything! My curiosity cannot be contained. Each week we’re eating things we’ve never tried before. It’s as if we’ve gone off the beaten path. No wait, we’ve literally gone off the beaten path. I’m shopping for food in places that I didn’t even know existed 8 months ago.

Before this, I didn’t buy anything if I didn’t already know how to prepare it (for fear of not liking it or failing to make it taste good and looking like a jackass in the kitchen). Back then, I stuck with what I knew. I made the same 40 or 50 dishes over and over again, sprinkled with a few new ones here and there, but still only using ingredients I was already familiar with. There’s a lot of trial and error, for example, my attempt at bread making. I made eggplant parmesan quite awhile back. It was not good, so I gave up. Why so easily?? I recently tried it again in ratatouille. It was much better, but I’m still not sold. I’ll give it another try. I’m convinced that if prepared properly, any ingredient can and will taste palatable, at the very least. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be things that I’m not fond of. It would be more accurate to say “I haven’t had salmon prepared to my liking… yet,” than to say “I don’t like salmon.”

Here are some of my favorite discoveries.

Holy Basil (tulsi) – I bought this plant on the advice of an organic gardener, to attract beneficial bugs (bugs that eat other bugs), like lady bugs, to my garden. Well, I didn’t want to waste the wonderful smelling herb. It’s more peppery and less sweet than traditional basil, but still has great flavor, so I did a little research. It’s link to Hinduism is interesting and it’s used as a medicinal and herbal remedy. You can read about it here. I let the fresh picked leaves steep in my green tea for about 10 minutes. Lucky for me this stuff grows like a weed. Holy Basil Batman! I have volunteer Holy Basil coming up everywhere. I have more than enough to share, if you’d like to try it (or transplant it).

Fage Yogurt – “I put that sh** on everything!” I mix it with walnuts, fruit and honey for breakfast. It’s the new “sour cream” in our house. I use it in place of crème fraiche, regular cream and sometimes cheese. I like 0%, but if you need something richer, try 2%. I’ve never tried the full fat version (Total), but I imagine that stuff is pretty thick and sour! I even put it on my face occasionally (mixed with a little lemon juice, honey and egg white). Lemon cheesecake facial (good enough to eat), anyone?

Winter Squash – I’ve already mentioned the butternut, but tonight I’m going to attempt Butternut Squash Bisque and we’re going to try acorn squash with a little butter, cinnamon and maple syrup (instead of brown sugar) sometime this weekend.

Pastured Meat – I’ve already discussed how much better pastured meat tastes, as well as how much better it is for your health. But what I haven’t mentioned enough is that it’s also more humane. Paying more for food in general, but meat and dairy especially, makes you more conscious of where your food comes from. We should be more appreciative and respectful of animals that provide food. I’m not a particularly religious person, but I have great respect for religious (and not religious) doctrines honoring the sacrifice made by animals that provide sustenance.

Local Farmers – particularly those that produce food organically and humanely. I’m really excited about the Know Your Farms Tour coming up next weekend. I will be surrounded by kindred spirits and soaking up all their wisdom. It will also give me a chance to thank the farmers for providing my family with good quality, local food. I’ll take lots of pictures and no doubt, blog all about it!

I could go on, but that’s what I’ve come up with so far.

By the way, did you know that people in most other parts of the world spend more time, energy and money on food than Americans. As a nation we spend about 10% of our income on food. Only a little more than half of that is spent on food eaten at home, and that includes money spent on alcohol and cigarettes. I can’t help but wonder if it also includes cleaning supplies, paper goods and toiletries – other things we usually buy at the grocery store. We spend less money than any other country in the world on food eaten at home. Food is cheap here, and has been for several decades. So cheap that I’m convinced many Americans have lost appreciation for it. No one wants to cook, yet everyone loves a home cooked meal! Well you can’t have it both ways people. Be adventurous! Get cooking!!

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About Michele
Wife and Mom of three girls doing her best to lead the family into a healthier lifestyle and evolve gracefully.

2 Responses to Discoveries – More Jibberjabber About Life and Food

  1. Carrie Fawcett says:

    I love your thoughts on experiencing grass for the first time and comparison to experiencing food. I was recently searching for 4-leaf clovers with the girls and we found scads of them. The epiphany I had was that 4-leaf clovers are not lucky, you just feel lucky if you take the time to look for them. They are there all the time… just like all of this wonderful food

  2. Well said about our overabundance of cheap food has caused us not to value our food.
    I always love watching my kids exploring outside. Being able to see things through their eyes is a great benefit of having kids. There needs to be more wonder in this world.

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