May 7, 2009

thoughts on real food

Meet Fernando. He really has nothing to do with my thoughts on real food, other than the fact that he lives in an idyllic pasture and leads a wonderful, happy life out on the farm. That's "farm" with two syllables.
Traveling makes it difficult to live up to the food standards I've set for myself, and for the kind of eating that Ryan and I now not only enjoy, but also take pride in. Away from home, I can't dictate that my whole-wheat bread be organic and free from HFCS, or that my vegetables be grown less than 40 miles away. I can't even rest assured that the continental breakfast at the hotel has an option that at least eliminates one of my great fears (at 5 a.m., I had no other choice but to devour a "buttermilk" biscuit with partially-hydrogenated soybean oil "butter" and high-fructose-corn-syrup-laced "syrup."

So it makes me ever the more grateful that I have the opportunity to eat, cook, and live this way at home.

I had plenty of time to get further into Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan on the plane yesterday, and it is confirming all of what I already knew: there absolutely is a direct correlation between Americans' health and subsidized monocrops (corn and soy), concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and those long ingredient lists found on the food labels of any processed food.

And so, my attempts at the homemade life have never felt more important. I could not be happier having the time, energy, and most patient boyfriend ever in order to work on this whole urban homesteading thing.

I'm inspired as I have never been: inspired by my mother, who understands so well the connection between earth, spirit, food, and soul; inspired by folks who are making even the smallest of steps to live a more sustainable life; inspired by people who distribute the information, scary as it may be, about the failures of the food system; inspired by farmers who continue to work the land and produce food--often a thankless job--for their communities; and inspired by communities that are beginning to embrace the idea that local, sustainable food is so very healthy for body, mind, and soul.

I look forward to the next chapters in our life, as this food movement gains steam. Soon I'll be volunteering with the Sustainable Food Center in Austin, and cannot wait to work with like-minded folks to take these ideals into our community and help the under-served have a better chance at healthful sustenance.

And I look forward to seeing what our little container garden brings, and what my mother's garden has in store, and learning ever more about doing everything homemade.

And you know what else I love? The look I get when I start talking about making my own yogurt at home. Hah! That's ok. You can keep describing us as your "hippie friends"--it's actually a compliment.

Stay tuned, homemade popcorn a la Ryan and my very first attempt at curry (which actually came out delish) on the way!