Changing the world one bite at a time. I was going to use that as my catch phrase. But, I googled it and lo and behold a gazillion other people already thought of it. But, thankfully, they were all thinking what I was thinking. You’ll see.
I love food. I love to eat food. I love to cook food. I love that food can be a political statement, a religious statement and a fashion statement. It is a basic requirement for life and therefore is pervasive in touching all that we do. We have memories in food and our special moments are centered around, food. You may think, given my obsession with food, that I am on the hefty side. But no, a strong wind could blow me away. I was blessed with the ability to consume large quantities of food with little effect. Maybe that is so I can experience more food and share those experiences with others.
I don’t know when this food quest that I am on started. Was it the eggs I scrambled when I was eight? The 4-course Irish meal I served to my girl scout troop when I was twelve? The rosemary beef tips with herb buttered potatoes, fresh green beans and a finish of mango sorbet in wine glasses that hooked my husband? Or did the path change when my food choices affected not only me but also my children? They may have been it. With that great responsibility all other interests and concerns came together in the feeding of my children.
I have had the realization that just by putting bison vegetable soup on the table I am not only nourishing my family with good wholesome food I am also: reducing green house gasses and our reliance on foreign oil, saving the environment, saving endangered species, preserving my families health and reducing their risks for a multitude of illnesses, supporting families in my community, saving money and reducing the chance that my children will participate in risky activities. All with Bison Vegetable soup. That’s some powerful soup. I am sure I didn’t list every effect but you get the picture.
Our family started making changes slowly with regard to how we ate. First, I started cooking more of the meals that we ate and limiting our eating out in order to save money. In doing so, I started incorporating more fresh foods into our diets. Next, we cut out high fructose corn syrup. That was a big one. Doing so meant limited sodas and reading lots of box labels for snack foods, breads, etc. It is in so many foods that I started making other things at home: granola bars, bread and yogurt. Then I read the book, “Go Green, Live Rich” and remembered that my family used to buy a quarter of a cow for meat and freeze it. We purchased our first quarter cow – a local pasture fed steer and began limiting our beef consumption to once a week planned around the meat in our freezer. I joined a CSA to get vegetables local, fresh and in season for a great price. I had to learn how to cook what was in my basket and preserve the abundance. I had another food memory of applesauce: piping hot as my mother squeezed it through her squeezo straino. The same machine has now processed 2.5 bushels of apples for my family. Along the way we started incorporating organic foods as we were able. I read about the dirty dozen and tried to at least get those vegetables organic for my children.
Organic foods do tend to be more expensive so I did not make the change to organic or free range chicken, dairy, pork, or grapes citing cost. But, throughout this process I had a thought and I think it was an important perspective. That was, even if I only make one change, that one change will be that fraction of the whole better for us. So, even if I only bought 5% of our foods organic that was 5% less chemicals, pesticides, etc that we were avoiding as a family.
The real life changing moments came this past fall. Stay tuned to find out what happened next.