Thursday, January 28, 2010

Let's talk food.....

I have a confession...well, a few....For about 15 years, I have been a part of a community - mostly on-line - of really great folks.  For me, it started with gardening....and reading.  I am a reader.  I research everything I am interested in.  So, eventually I made it to this group.  There are several out there in the www world.  Just like regular communities, we have people from all different religions, races, ages, political backgrounds, and socio-economic groups.  The difference is, we have all made an agreement that we can discuss things without attacking, and can agree to disagree in some cases.  The friends I have made there are ones that I am sure I will have for the rest of my life - even if we never get to meet IRL.  The reason this is a "confession" is because these are people that many would classify as the "Tinfoil Hat" group...  It is scary how many of the wacked out theories that people on the group are shot down for, have recently come true!  :) 

So what does this have to do with anything?

Did you see Oprah on Wednesday?  Personally, I like Oprah. But it always cracks me up how by the time she does a show on a topic, it is something that the people in our group have been talking about for YEARS!  The show was about food, specifically our diets and how food is grown, processed, etc in America. You should go check it out here.

So you want the cliff notes version?  I'll try.  Basically, there are several issues with food, here in America:
#1.  We are one of the wealthiest nations in the world, with one of the highest obesity rates, the highest number of people going hungry, and the highest level of governmental interference (read manipulation) in our food supply. 
#2. Our children and future generations are paying the price for our disconnect with where and how our food gets to out table.
#3. In, I think, the 1960's or 70's, Americans spent 18% of their income on food and about 7% on healthcare.  Today, Americans spend 9% of their incomes on food and about 20% on healthcare!!!! 

The long and the short of it is, that we have gotten away from growing and cooking our own food.  partially because of government subsidies of corn, etc, we eat more and more and more processed foods every year.  Our animals are doing the same.  It is cheaper to go to McDonalds and buy a couple of double cheeseburgers than it is to go to the grocery and buy the ingredients to make a salad.  Next time you go grocery shopping, just look down the aisles of the store.  How many of the things in the grocery store are things that your great grandparents would recognize as food?

I know that most of you out there are busy, busy , busy.  This isn't something that I want you to think I am browbeating you in to.  Quite honestly, between big Chris and myself, if we took to eating the way we really should be Little Debbies and the Diet Coke brand would probably collapse.  LOL!  But, we can all do better.  You all have a say in how food is handled in America by using your purchasing power. 

This is something that you have to decide for yourself and your family.  For us, we are going to start slow and ease into things....for some they may go whole hog, so to speak, and go completely Vegan/organic, etc.  For many, I assume, they will fall somewhere in between.  It comes down to a lifestyle and what you are willing to accept or ready to do for you and your children.

I will probably be doing some more posts on some easy gardening ideas.  Please leave a comment if there is something in particular you would like to see.  I am going to list some of my favorite books, magazines, and website to get you started.  Click on the titles to take you to the links.  Enjoy!

I'll start with a list of books/authors.  Just click on the title of the book to take you to a link to read more about it:

Michael Pollan:
*He is really one of the most vocal people out there, and one of the most down to earth.  He has a real passion for food and where & how it is raised/processed.  He explains things in plain English without terrifying you.

In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto:  A good explination of how low-fat has made us fat.  If you only read one book, this is it..

The Omnivore's Delimma: A Natural History of Four Meals:  Do you know where your corn dog has been?

Joel Salatin:
**I absolutely LOVE Joel Salatin!  He practices what he preaches - no questions.  While most of his books look like they are geared toward farmers or those wanting to farm, they really explain the ins and outs of industrial farming, the restrictions placed on small family farmers who want to sell locally, and why you should care.  I also love his theories about a child's place in a family business and a parent's responsibilites to teach their children how to take on responsiblity.

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food:  "has one overriding objective: encourage every food buyer to embrace the notion that menus are a conscious decision, creating the next generation's world one bite at a time.

Everything I Want to do is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front:  Excellent explainations of why it is so hard to find local food suppliers and why you want to.

Family Friendly Farm:  If nothing else, read this book for a great example on how to raise your children in a way that you can work with them later.  LOL!  Seriously, this is a great book on the dynamics of family in a "family" business - even if that business is regular day to day life!

You Can Farm:  You CAN do it!

There are aslo several other books of his - just look him up on Amazon or the library and see if they interest you.  :)

Barbara Kingsolver:
*You might recognize her books.  Great writer.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life:   I don't know if I am brave enough to take on this experiment, but it is really great to read about it.  The recipes in this book are worth the price!  SOOOO Yummy!

The Poisonwood BibleHas nothing to do with any of this - it is just one of my all time favorite books!  it is about a Missionary family in Africa.

Magazines:

Backwoods Home MagazineBe sure to check out all of the articles.  There is a forum, and Jackie Clay's blog is a must see.  She is THE GURU when it comes to gardening, cooking, canning, and raising animals.  Some of the political issues may be turn-offs for some, but just ignore what you don't agree with.  The gardening and recipes are worth the visit.

Back Home Magazine:   Not as "flashy" as BWH, but another great magazine with all kinds of crafts, gardening tips, recipes, etc.

Mother Earth News:  Hardcore homesteaders and back to the landers believe that MEN has "sold-out"  That may be, but I still enjoy the articles, again, about the gardening, recipes, crafts, history, etc.  The website is a wealth of information.  I do believe there is a searchable database of all of their acticles and projects from the 1970's on. 

Countryside Magazine:  Not as political, but very similar to BWH (the first mag listed).  Pretty much written by its subscribers.  These are people who are walking the walk.  :)  If nothing else, stop by and read the article by our good friend Suzy Lowry Geno on running a farm store!  Great job Suzy!

Grit: Yep - This one is still around.  Has a lot of history in it as well.

Hobby Farm and Hobby Farm Home:  Another glossy magazine, but has great acticles on gardening and cooking - especially Hobby Farm Home.

Websites:

In addition to the ones above, here are some websites to check out in your spare time...

Slow Food International

Slow Food U.S.A

Eatwild

Eating Fresh Publications

Chef's Collaborative

Enjoy!  Hope you find something you like!

Hugs!

Steph

3 Comments:

Blogger Heather said...

Okay.. so love this post.I am,how shall I say it,well I'll just say it:a freak about food.My older girls use to just hassle me endlessly about why we drink organic milk.But ... now they are adults and what do you know ... as freaky as me!We just watched "Food Inc".Yep,that is an eye opener.Thanks for all the links.Some I have never been to.

Now for the younger three,I have the boys repeating the relentless wild cries of why no McDonald's.Try explaining that to them when your best friends family own a chain of about,oh:30!

January 28, 2010 at 7:26 PM  
Blogger Lacey said...

I would love some gardening tips, because I would love to start a garden! I have to find a place in my yard. But my friend had strawberries growing and I remembered picking them in my friends backyard when I was little!

January 29, 2010 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

You got it Lacey! :) I have a REALLY easy garden for you - read low maintenance! Perfect project for all of that testosterone in your household. LOL!

Steph

January 29, 2010 at 10:05 AM  

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