It seems that everything has become specialized.
Even how we eat.
Back in the day, we used to just stuff our faces. We were raised on Tang, Campbell’s soup, Chef Boyardi, and Quisp cereal. For my younger readers, that puts me at 50ish years old. As the end of the Baby-Boomers, we were raised by many parents who did not cook the same way their parents did. Convenience foods were all the rage and primed the pump for the deluge of the current Industrial system. Many of our parents didn’t cook, and therefore, my generation did not learn how to cook from one of our parents.
My siblings and I are anomalies. We can all cook. What sets us apart? My mother cooked and we learned by osmosis. Children model what they see. The quickest way to change a behavior in your child is to look for it in yourself and then change that behavior in you. Do you have a child who has temper tantrums? Look in the mirror and see how you respond in a situation where you aren’t getting what you want. Are you calm and cool about it? As a child, my food model was my mother, who worked outside the home, and took care of everyone, and cooked dinner every night. She also had breakfast set out for us every morning and packed lunches for us everyday. BTW, Thanks Mom! That was my model — make it yourself.
And so we do.
Frequently, I am asked if I am a locavore. No. I drink coffee, and I haven’t found any that grows locally. I am asked if I am a vegetarian. Not even close — more like a omnitarian. Although that isn’t true, either, because there are things that I don’t like, such as mussels and clams, that the rest of my family adores. We are not even close to self-sufficient.
We are an average suburban family. I am a high school English teacher, which does give me flexibility in the summer, but once school begins I have very little flexible time. Yes I get home earlier than the average 9-5’er, but I leave the house earlier, as well. What makes us different is that we made a decision to eat better. We found it to be a multifaceted decision that colors the way we approach food. What I gave up in TV watching, or Facebook reading, I gained in health and wellness.
We are out of pork right now. Our hog won’t be ready for another couple of months. We are impatiently waiting. My husband was “jonesing” for pork, so he bought a shoulder roast at the grocery store and stuck it on the rotisserie. It smelled great and I realized that I really missed pork — we haven’t had any for over a month. We made a discovery: it didn’t have much flavor once we got below the fat cap. All of the discussion we have about the lack of flavor in other people’s cooking came down to this discovery — it isn’t how they prepare the meal. The ingredients being used are not the same as the ones we use — a pastured pig has a very different flavor than a commercially produced pig. Pastured meat has a flavor. I would venture a guess that the preponderance of people who desire things hot and spicy may stem from the general tastelessness of commercially produced food. Most things are salty, or sweet, or maybe salty and sweet, but the flavor of the base food, the meat, or the corn, or even the string bean, is missing.
I also had to be reminded not to eat the fat. I am accustomed to eating the fat because in a pastured animal, the fat is good for me — full of Omega 3 fatty acids that are in correct balance with the Omega 6’s.
We won’t do that again.
I urge you to check out what you can get directly from farmers. Buying individual cuts is very expensive, which I why I encourage you to buy whole or 1/2 animals directly from farmers. Check out eatwild.com and Local Harvest to get you started.