I started another blog called a food processor so I could write about food, things I'd been learning, thinking, and wondering about food. I'm in a food processor kind of mode right now so here I am processing. I'm working on a list to go grocery shopping and back to wondering about how we buy food and how others buy food.
Last summer, I had been reading a lot about food. Books by Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver. Books about items in the kitchen, safety concerns, and food. I read blogs, blogs, blogs about quality food, budgets, and cooking. I was talking with friends who had made a shift from buying just based on price but also on quality and source. I was finding out about the food in my area of the world and I was so amazed at the kind of foods that were just 3 miles from my house!
I cleaned out my kitchen of pots and pans and "stuff" that was questionable.
I signed up to work an organic farm doing a community garden.
We bought a freezer. I learned how to blanch vegetables and freeze them. I learned how to do the same with peaches.
I picked strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. I learned how to can pickles.
We purchased half of a hog from a local source. We purchased a quarter of grass-fed beef from a local source. We purchased some local chickens. All of which took up residence in my freezer. Some friends sold us eggs...from local chickens fed good food.
(These local egg yolks are SO yellow and thick. We recently switched to regular store eggs and when I made scrambled eggs Ryan asked me what happened to the eggs? They were such a light yellow and tasted very different. There is a difference!)Last summer I had Quinn and Sela out in a corn field where I was weeding. Quinn could run around and I had Sela in her pack and play. In the dirt. In the corn field. And it was great. This summer--no such luck.
I had high hopes for working back on the farm--because when you worked at the farm you could take as much produce as you wanted and could can or freeze quantities too. For $24 and 30 hours of work. Summer and winter veggies! I had high hopes! I signed up.
And didn't go out at all. Not even once.
For some reason this summer, taking the kids out and working at the farm felt overwhelming. Freezing veggies and canning things felt overwhelming. Picking berries felt overwhelming. I picked a couple of pounds of raspberries this summer. No strawberries or blueberries. Sad, sad, sad.
I believe people shop with a variety of priorities. Some shop solely based on cost. Some shop based on a diet plan. Some shop based on food being organic. Some shop looking for local foods. The costs between these various plans are pretty significant. For awhile I shopped focusing on the organic and local options plus Quinn and Ryan's diet needs. And now for awhile I've shopped based on cost plus Quinn and Ryan's diet needs.
I'm trying to figure out how to honor our budget needs, take care of Quinn and Ryan's diet needs, and still pay attention to the organic and local labels. I've tried a number of ways of doing this but am back to being stuck.
I also think about access to food. Who gets to make choices about their food and who just has to go with the food they can get no matter the quality of the food. Living off canned cheese and top ramen isn't really eating food. It is more like eating things that look like food. Some substance flavored to taste like the anticipated food.
So, I'm back to feeling the tension between what feels like wise financial stewardship, what I believe is best quality, and what are the essentials to use in meeting diet needs and eating real food.
In honor of Ryan's gluten intolerance, I'm going gluten-free this month. Sometimes making sure Ryan has something that is interesting and tastes good to eat that is gluten-free is an after thought for me. I decided I would recognize what he needs better if I experienced it myself. Like at lunch today, we had gluten free soup with..."what" I thought? No toast. No crackers. Fruit? A yogurt? I got out the corn chips and salsa. Not really the vibe I was looking for with curried red lentil soup.
I'm thinking and processing. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? I'm interested.