“For me, I suppose I eat for sustenance. I eat to survive. But for you, food is life.”
As Liz said this, I was shocked. I had never looked at it like that. Because it is true: I have always loved food. I love the smell taste, texture and look of food. I love the community that just appears when it is time to eat. So many of my fondest memories involve my dad cooking pizzas at the barbeque, my mum making salads or sourdough bread. My older brother adores cheese and red wine and the ritual of afternoon tea will always remind me of my little brother. And I am not alone in this. Cultures and traditions have been based on the act of cooking since mankind discovered fire.
As a self-confessed foodaholic, my downtime is an obsession with cooking shows. Namely Jamie Oliver, River Cottage, Cheese Slices, Great British Bake-Off.. the list never ends. The cookbook section of any bookstore is my kryptonite. After a full-on uni sesh, you will generally find me finding brain space and sorting my thoughts by sitting quietly on a Dymocks floor or sifting the aisles of a Woolworths. It just works. I find such pleasure in the millions of ingredients, methods and nutrients that these foods contain, that these shows or books further explain.
Yet there is a problem. I have this disconnect with food. Not nearly as bad as a lot of people, I admit. I have never really been a microwave meal kind of person. Thanks to a family that values great food, I am always fascinated by the ready-made meals that I discover in supermarkets. No, instead my bad relationship with food stems from an ugly greediness and a terrifying disrespect for my body. At 22, I am slowly forming the deep desire to not only understand how incredible my body is, but be able to communicate that to others. Cliché, I admit. The whole passing-on-a-worthy-knowledge-to-little-beings. But my body truly is incredible. And so is the earth, for that matter. The fact that they have the chance to work in harmony to make me a capable, strong, confident woman is empowering.
So what exactly is it that I propose? You see, I just finished watching ‘Cooked’. (That brilliant series by Michael Pollan that investigates the origin of cooking that creates a more nutritious, sustaining result.) Mind. Blown. Just the crazy things like the fermentation of cacao beans, the impact of bread and the beauty of original cooking methods. But one very small statement struck me. Harry Ballzer exclaims: “Eat anything you want. Enjoy all of your food… You want apple pie? Have a whole apple pie. You want cookies with that apple pie and ice cream with that apple pie? I will allow you to eat all of that… I’m just gonna ask you to do one thing. Make all of them. Make the apple pie, the cookies, the ice cream. And you know what is going to happen? You’re not going to eat apple pie. Or cookies. Or ice cream.” Yeah kk cool Harry. Cool.
But then I started thinking. And it is SO TRUE. I cant be bothered making apple pie. I don’t even know how to make apple pie damnnit! I hate cooking for other people, because I just don’t know how. And its this generational thing that I am terrified I am going to pass on to my nieces and the kids I nanny. This thing where we are afraid of cooking and faili
ng so instead we just buy the yummy stuff. As I realised this, I knew I would never be able to tell my Granny. She would die, then come back just to teach me how to make her choc-chip biscuits or monte-carlos. My other Grandma would be too busy teaching me how to apricot some chicken before I could even finish the “I don’t know how…” sentence.
So in conclusion (sorry for the slightly-carried away, nostalgia-ridden essay).
For the next year. I have one simple rule (that for clarity’s sake must be broken down into a few smaller rules).
Anything I eat anti-socially, must be bought in its original form. Therefore: I must cook, or form, all my personal consumption food.
Now. The sub-rules.
- Original form means:
– dried beans/legumes
– fresh vegetables and fruit
– nut milks can be packaged
– butters, sugars and hard cheeses are allowed.
(aka myo ricotta)
- Grocery shopping once a week, always after a work-out session. Abide by the Green Kitchen Stories eating philosophy.
- Eating out is neutral. Still be aware of what you are eating. This is not an excuse to go cray and just eat all the stuff-you-cant-identify-as-real-food shit. Enjoy food that takes bulk time to make so you are highly unlikely to make it yourself until you have a family of 10 to feed or some special occasion to whip your french-ass-cooking-skills out.
- When catching up with friends, you must always offer first: “Would you like me to cook for you or would you like to go out?”
- Be social. Don’t shove your personal experiment down everyones throats you self-absorbed nincompoop. Just do it and see what happens.
- Look after yourself (stern eyes Lauren Elizabeth). Be kind and gentle with yourself as you learn all the different ways to fail at cooking. Listen to your body and what food is telling you. As much as you used the word ‘rules’ for this section, it was for want of a better word. This is not restrictive. You can stop at any time.
You begin on the 17th o’ March. Shall we see where this adventure takes us? Yes, let’s. May the food be with you.
Ps. Photocred to ‘Green Kitchen Stories’ masterminds David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl. That blog will forever be my primary source of procrastination.