Wednesday, February 4, 2009
What's For Dinner?
Food life in the Brown/Wiest household has changed dramatically in past 6 months having read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; In Defense of Food, Deep Economy, and Depletion and Abundance. Not to mention the dozen or so blogs I peruse, taking the Eat Local Challenge, and becoming an adoptive parent of Mr. Pickles the rescued chicken. All of these things combined have me thinking FOOD all the time. When I told someone at work I don't watch or care much about football, he says, "what do you do for entertainment?" Part of that answer is read cookbooks, think about what to make, prepare meals/snacks, and plan the garden for this season. And when it gets nice, I'll BE in that garden - a lot. Not only do we consume food, it's consuming me! The turning point was the Eat Local Challenge and forcing me to really think about the source of food. From October 2008, we've been hitting the local farmer's market every week and I now buy as much locally produced food as I can, although I'm finding there isn't a whole lot -- especially staples like tofu and soymilk, and tempeh. And of course the winter months are near impossible -- at least this one is because I didn't start the local thing until late in the year last year. Next winter will be different with my plans of a big garden and canning/freezing bunches of foods. Hubby even got on the bandwagon and is eating local eggs and meat (thank you honey!). His milk comes from a nearby dairy too. Reading food labels has now become a full-time job (IF it has a label): Who's the manufacturer? What's in it - can I pronounce the ingredients? Are there more than 5 ingredients if the first 5 aren't whole foods? And the big one - what is the nutrition content? Is there adequate protein? calcium? Fiber? Fat? Carbs (both)? etc. Geez... no wonder most folks don't think too much about their food! And my dear hubby continues to enjoy his meat... so I try to include meat products in the meal planning too. The Flexitarian cookbook helped me with this... prepare a vegan meal with meat on the side. It works fairly well. I never thought in a million years I'd be spending THIS much time fretting over food! But its a good fret. The biggest food dilemma I'm having and plan to research this one a little more is the vegan thing. I'm finding many vegan staples are processed (i.e., tofu, soy milk, nutritional yeast flakes, tempeh). And then there's the "fake" meat which I've already resolved not to eat because there are WAY too many unpronounceable ingredients in those products -- although they are tasty - just way, way too processed. But how does a vegan get sufficient nutrition if they 1) don't eat processed, 2) keep it local, and 3) not eat TOO much trying to get sufficient nutrition.