my food story

shopping at the local farmers market
I have been really trying to improve my relationship with food. Don't get me wrong, I love food, I just don't think I am very creative with it. A little while back I felt I had really lost my way with it. I was doing the same old shop, spending far too much I thought. Forgetting what was in the fridge, throwing forgotten things away. The freezer was full, but I had no idea what was in it, or how long it had been there..... I didn't know what to cook. The kitchen felt cluttered. No one seemed to want anything from it. The tins of baked bean were looking attractively appealing and fast food had infiltrated our lives in a way that's made it hard to get rid of it since.

bringing home lots of tempting goodies
So this summer I de-cluttered and cleaned all the horrible corners of the kitchen. I emptied everything of the shelves and cleaned the whole thing.This was a good start. Cooking and preparing with everything to hand and only what I use around me makes a huge difference.
I've gone through this clearing process in the kitchen now a few times. Using the kitchen feel's so much easier now.  

Of course the next thing was to tackle was the food itself. I went through my whole fridge and freezer and made a list of what I did actually have and stuck it on the fridge door.
I was surprised by how much was actually in there! I made a list of some meal ideas just using this and realized I could probably be buying less for a while. Just perhaps adding some fresh ingredients.

I made it a plan to keep checking what needed eating, to try and avoid wasting food.
It wasn't exactly meal planning, I'm not convinced that would work out for me everyday.
What I noticed as I ate my way through the fridge was that the vegetable section would still look quite full and rather bedraggled! Something was amiss. Not exactly veggies bursting with health.

If I was growing my own food, or shopping at the local farmers market, I would no doubt be planning my meals around my vegetables, and eating more seasonally too. I have fallen into the habit of buying the same things over and over, no matter what the season! My inspiration had hit the floor. I  felt like nothing short of a magic wand would transform my meals!

flowers and fruit grown in a local garden
I've been thinking a lot about how this all came about.
As far as I can remember, I think I was basically brought up eating versions of the same meal, until about age twelve. Fish fingers, baked beans, chips and of course ketchup! I didn't mind, I was quite happy. I didn't mind eating the same thing over and over. I'm fairly sure there was nearly always a Sunday roast and I expect the odd vegetable was eaten now and again.

There was some simple baking I remember. Flapjakes, cupcakes, cheese straws, apple crumble all the things I make now, and probably from the same seventies cook book which I still have. And not forgetting banana and custard too! It was all simple and straightforward, and not too clever.

There was quite a lot of anxiety in the early years for my Mum and me. Eating the same food for me became a kind of security blanket I think. Also I loved apples. There was a time probably around the age of five when my Mum tried to check in a suitcase full of apples as extra luggage while we were going on holiday. I can remember the suitcase having to be taken back the car!... obviously I found something else to eat and survived!

From that point on other dishes appeared,  but the whole idea of different flavours and exotic spices didn't really reach far into our world. I don't think it naturally set me up for a life of creative cookery. I find myself in awe when people seem to throw in all kinds of ingredients and flavours. 

There were a few simple meals were learn't at school, and then forgotten. I have to say when I left home, (the first time!) I was seventeen and didn't know how to cook at all. I once famously boiled an egg without putting the water in.....I never did that again! And the packet of lasagne I kept in the cupboard. I really expected to find a complete lasagne in there.....

As I grew older I found I would begin to eat like whoever I was spending time with. I feel as though I learn a dish from everyone I meet. I hadn't really found my own way of eating. I still have moments when I look inside my fridge and have no idea what to do with it all.

Mainly I think I eat okayish, I try and aim for organic when I can. I think I could be cooking with more vegetables. I could probably forgo meat most of the time. We have our little range of staples. Dishes we have eaten for years. Truth is we are probably a bit fed up with them. The habit of not venturing far from the known food perimeters is still very strong I note now with my own son. It's a challenge to want to create new things when you feel they won't be tried. I have spent years trying to eat round what other people want.

So.....to cut a log story short. I want to re-introduce myself to food. Really find my own way with it for the first time. I've been asking myself what do I really want to eat? Imagine not having to shop around anyone else? How would you eat if you were only catering for what you want? Breaking away from the set family shop! It was surprisingly difficult actually. All I could think of was more vegetables, maybe soups. Juices. Perhaps some stews and hotpots. Less meat. I can feel a kind of new eating plan evolving, but don't know quite what it is yet.

The Farmers market cookbook by Nina Plank
A couple of weekends ago I shopped at our local farmers market.
I have been reading The farmers market book by Nina plank. Nina was the founder of the organic farmers market movement in America. She describes the aliveness of the produce that she loves and the way the food can be used in a way that made me have an inkling of what I'm missing.

The book was left here by a previous cabin dweller. In truth I may have almost wrestled her to the ground for it as she was leaving. The name of the town Nina grew up in and the name of my house were the same and I felt that on some level me and this book were destined to meet! Her message was for me. I knew I needed it more! and bless the good natured gal that she is, she let me keep it.

So armed with Nina'a advice I set off to snap some fresh peas and marvel at the local produce.
I really wanted to stall holders to tell me how fantastic their produce was. How fresh, how ripe, how tasty it was. I wanted to feel like Nina! I wanted the hard sell on the veggies! I wanted to be enticed. I wanted them to wave their vegetables in the air and call out how wonderful they were......what lovely meals I could make with them.....

Actually it was a bit more subdued than that.....! but really I feel like I should have asked more questions. You know, drawn them out. I'll do that next time..... I've got my bearings a bit now. It's a great excuse to dig out the baskets and string bags.
I'll try and keep you posted.

Enjoy the weekend :-)


oh hello autumn!

Hello there, don't adjust your monitors!.....I am having a pink and colourful moment here on this rather wet and dreary Autumn day. It just had to happen, we shall see how long it lasts. Playing with the screen colours and changing everything around is always interesting. Albeit, slightly compulsive, in a really how many hours kind of way. Until eventually we decide that we have found ourselves here and here we shall stay. Wondering if some kind of hormonal madness has led us to this pink place. Actually, I do kind of love it!......