I have always loved to cook and been fascinated with how our ancestors prepared food without all the conveniences most Americans have today. Growing up, I helped my family raise vegetables in our kitchen garden, butcher hogs on my uncle’s farm, and can endless jars of food for what I jokingly referred to then as our “Armageddon Pantry.”
In my 20s, I taught myself to cook classic French cuisine with the help of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Anne Willan’s La Varenne Practique. Those were the days of wine and roses, when I had time to treat my friends to lavish multi-course dinner parties. In my 30s, I expanded my exploration of world cuisines and learned to make sushi and curries while exploring my Pennsylvania Dutch and Italian food roots as well. As a mother in my 40s, looking to make healthy food for my family, bread baking, cheese making, lacto-fermentation, canning, and other lost arts entered my culinary repertoire. Throughout, I have sought whole organic food, out of concern for the health of farmers, the Earth, and my family. Long before Micahel Pollan told us all where our food comes from, I had come to understand that conventional farming practices and the industrial food system contribute significantly to the environmental and health crises we face today. I believe that we can and must return to sustainable organic farming practices, regional food systems, and preparing real food at home to save our planet and ourselves.
As the mother of two young children, I have had to adapt my cooking to my busier life and to find developmentally appropriate tasks for the eager sous-chefs who are often by my side in the kitchen. I have learned to simplify meals, for the sake of both time and the preferences of my children. I have also come to better appreciate the rhythm of the seasons, in cooking and home life, as the turning circle of the year guides what we eat and what we do, giving us changes to celebrate and familiar pleasures to enjoy.
I blog to share my recipes and my tips for saving time, money and effort in the kitchen, but mostly to encourage people to think differently about food and cooking than nutritionists, government bureaucrats, industrial food marketeers, and food television executives would have us think. Real food, in its full-fat, unpasteurized, non-USDA inspected glory not only nourishes to our bodies and delights our taste buds, but cooking and preserving it at home provides the RDA of self-empowerment. And who knows where that might lead?
In Peace and Abundance,