It's about a blogger named Jennifer McGruther. You can see her in the pic, see? She looks nice - and normal as well, doesn't she?
Anyhow, Jennifer issued the readers of her blog, Nourished Kitchen, a challenge:
Eat real food for a month.Sounds easy, doesn't it? When you go on through the article though, I realised that Jennifer's idea of real food and my idea were really quite different.
At the beginning on the article they're describing such amazing American delicacies as potato powders, cheese in a squirt (whatever one of those might be when it's at home!) and microwave meals. Nope, I thought sanctimoniously, I don't use any of those.
As I read on, though, I discovered that on Day One of the challenge, participants were to purge their pantries of processed foods. Not just foods in boxes though, but things like skim and low fat dairy, dried pasta, soy sauce, corn flour, canola oil, sugar, salt and white flour. Hmmm, I'm not doing so well here. All of these products play a part in meal times here in our peaceful home.
On Day Four you start your own sour dough.
On Day Six you mill your own flour.
On Day Seventeen you make your own yoghurt. (Actually, we already do this sometimes. It is easy - and fun - and yummy.)
On Day Eighteen you make your own cheese.
On Day Twenty Three you learn how to render your own lard. Phew!! Apparently lard is one of the most potent sources of vitamin D outside of cod liver oil. Now I did not know that. Personally I'll stick with olive oil.
Now, I'm not being critical of the Real Food Challenge. Actually, I think it is pretty cool. I think I could do it too.
Could, not will, you'll notice. Why? Because I think that we already eat remarkably well. We cook most of our meals the old fashioned way - from scratch. I make my own pasta sauces. Mostly I even make the pasta. I make our biscuits and cakes from ingredients, not a packet mix. We mix salad dressings from oil and vinegar. We make jam from the blackberries we pick and chutney and tomato sauce from our own tomatoes. We make soups and stews and casseroles and Thai curries from curry pastes that we make from scratch. We make pesto from our own homegrown basil. We freeze our own icecream. I could go on, but I'm getting sanctimonious again.
What I also do though, is make use of some of the labour saving tools of the century in which we live. I buy excellent whole grain bread from the bakery. I buy ready ground flour - white and brown. I buy Asian wheat and rice noodles - fresh and dried. I use soy sauce and fish sauce and oyster sauce and lots of other bottles as well - hoisin and kecap manis and mirin and Golden Mountain seasoning. I use these things to make my own teriaki sauce and blackbean sauce, and lots of other sauces, but I use processed products to do so - dried soy beans and bonito flakes and dashi granules. Sometimes I make fresh wasabi, but mostly I use a powder.
I buy water biscuits to eat with my cheese, ready made sundried tomatoes, and already pickled cornichons and olives. I love them all. I buy chocolate too. 70% cocoa is my favourite. Yum. One small piece with my cup of tea after dinner. Oh yeah, I am a caffeine addict as well.
I admire Jennifer for her passion to improve her health and that of her family, but unlike her I believe that real food can come from a box. I also believe that I feed my family a healthy, nourishing, well balanced and tasty diet full of vegetables, fruits and grains. But, you knew it had to come and here it is...we also eat popcorn and doughnuts and icecream and delicious homemade pies and puddings. We eat almost everything in moderation. And you know, I think that's how it should be.
As a busy mum I believe that I have a responsibility to keep all things in control - my time, my budget and my priorities. Some weekends I spend hours cooking 'slow food'. Other nights a quick pasta with a delicious pesto sauce will mean that dinner is on the table in around 10 minutes. Fresh, healthy and attractive. The pasta will be from a packet though. Does it really matter?
Food will always be inportant here in our peaceful home. We love to relax and talk over our meals. We always set a nice table and sit together. We love to practice hospitality and entertain friends. We love to share a meal. But while I have others to care for, while I home school, while I work outside the home, while I travel most weekends to church, I will give to meal time the time that it deserves. And that will never include rendering my own lard.
What about you? What's your food philosophy? What do you eat and what do you avoid? What is important to you?
I'm interested to know. And I promise not to be judgemental or santimonious, whatever you say. Oh, and if you do decide to render your own lard, could you please take pics? I'd love to see how you do it!