Nourishment. Sustenance. Food. The thoughts that occupy my mind each day as I prepare meal after meal, snack after snack. I've done much reading about food and the ways it nourishes our bodies. I've read Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Waters, Joel Salatin, and Sally Fallon. I've watched documentaries on the subject: Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Fresh, Food Matters, and King Corn. I've even read the Little House books and mulled over their diet.
It seems like everyone I know is constantly on a diet. It used to be Weight Watchers, fat-free, or Atkins. Now it's gluten-free, vegan, grain-free, or Paleo. I know that each of these latter diets have their merits. The research often seems conflicting. Eat local, unless your local food is grain. Eat close to the earth, but make sure you include exotic superfoods that must be trucked a thousand miles.
I've just read so much contrasting information about what you should and shouldn't do that I've taken a step back and decided to just live as close to the earth and my local food community as possible. I can get locally milled organic spelt for a song and locally made buttermilk from very happy cows I've met in person, and I choose to soak my grains as often as possible. We grow what we can in our backyard, and I spend much more in food dollars from May to October trying to buy as much local food as possible to can and freeze.
The jalapeños from the top photo were from 3 little bushes in our garden that produced like crazy this summer (and fall). I made salsa with them, froze them, gave them away, and bartered them for eggs from a friend. Almost every dinner in the last 2 weeks has included jalapeños, until the frost finally nipped them at the end of last week.
Also in the kitchen this weekend, a crock pot full of apple butter that cooked all day Sunday filling our kitchen with the wonderful autumnal aroma of apples, cinnamon, and cloves. We also made our first soaked crust cherry pie from the pie filling I canned back in June. We added whipped cream made from a local cream, raw local honey, and homemade vanilla extract.
These are the foods I want my children to connect with, simple, wholesome, real ingredients; not macaroni and cheese made from coconut flour noodles, fake cream sauce and weird additions just to make them "healthier". Not that I'm above adding butternut squash or pumpkin to our macaroni and cheese. But I'll choose a real local raw cheese and milk to give them a rich flavor at the same time.
This minestrone was on our dinner table this evening. It contains the last of the farmer's market tomatoes that are trickling in, our last bell peppers from our own garden, some finely chopped beet greens from the beets we ate last evening, and a multitude of herbs from our back deck. This is the food tradition that I choose and want to gift my family. It's often time consuming, it's usually labor intensive, and it's the most authentic way I can imagine raising my family.
And if you notice some cheap spaghetti and marshmallows that, according to Finn, have "really, really, really, bad, bad, bad chemicals in them" in my pantry, you'll know they're for Philip's science fair project. ;)