summer bounty

6 08 2008

At this time of year, the freshness of local food practically JUMPS off your plate and smacks you across the face. You feel RICH with summer bounty that seems never-ending. But, my friends… it will end. If you’re a 100-mile dieter, six months from now you will crave things like fresh pesto, spinach and bell peppers. You will long for the taste of raspberries and blueberries. You’ll wish green beans and swiss chard were on your plate once again.

So here’s the reminder: stock up NOW. Don’t just savour the flavours of summer today – save them for tomorrow!! Freeze them, can them, dry them, store them SOMEHOW. There are so many easy ways to do so. It’s just a matter of doing so.


eat your dinner!

2 04 2008

Do you remember when your parents would tell you that you couldn’t leave the dinner table until you had finished your brussel sprouts-lima beans-or whatever else was leftover on your plate? And you would DAWDLE and wait until their backs were turned and try to hide the offending leftovers beneath your plate, or in your napkin, or under the table?

I remember those days, even though I am past them now. Brussel sprouts and lima beans have moved from the UGH category to the MMM MORE PLEASE category. But that doesn’t mean I always feel like finishing everything on my plate. I have a bad habit of making way too much soup in a batch. I’ll serve it for dinner, put as much as I can in the freezer, and bring the leftovers for lunch until it’s gone. Usually the last day of leftovers is the hardest to… excuse the pun… stomach. And on those days, I’ve been known to throw it out. Yep. Throw it out.

But lately, I’ve become acutely aware of the energy that goes into producing food. And energy has become a lot more valuable to me. That last bowl of soup didn’t ask to be last. And it is still a miracle of energy, just like the other bowls. Think of everything that went into producing that soup. If I look at just a small portion of the recipe, let’s say the onions. The seeds were purchased – which cost someone time and money; the seeds were planted – which cost someone time and effort; the area was watered and weeded and cared for – quite a bit of work, from what I understand. Then those onions were harvested – MORE work – driven to the farmer’s market (if the carbon footprint wasn’t obvious yet, you should be getting the hint around now); then I enter the picture with either a walk or a drive to the market – more time, money and carbon; lastly, I cook the onions to put in the soup – that takes energy too. And that’s just the onions.

Are you getting the picture? Well, I am. Suddenly I GET what wasting food really means. So eat your dinner! Or at least be aware of what went into its production – and save the leftovers until you’ll appreciate them.

what’s a cook to do?

1 04 2008

I’m often befuddled when it comes to the *right* thing to do from an environmental standpoint. My beloved and I have this ongoing discussion about whether to buy a new fridge. Sure the new fridge will use less energy than our current one. But does the production of the new fridge, and the waste of the old fridge make the reduced energy consumption worthless? It feels like a minefield sometimes. Like, should we boil water in an electric kettle or on a gas stovetop? Does a microwave really use less energy than my oven?

Well my friends, cooking help is here. Check out these tips on energy-wise epicure.

mm mm good!

4 01 2008

Campbell's Soup Can by Andy WarholI’m usually a brown-bagger for lunch. We have a cafeteria in the building where I work, but I rarely go there – only when I’m in dire straits for food at home, and can’t prepare a proper lunch, or for a very guilty pleasure when I am jones-ing for a grilled cheese and tomato.

But where does my guilt come from when I bite into that greasy grilled sandwich, and what makes a proper lunch? With a mother as a dietitian, I used to think it was a meal balanced in accordance with Canada’s Food Guide. Lately, I’m starting to think it’s more than that.

Today for lunch, I slurped away on homemade tomato soup, made with tomatoes that were grown just a few kilometers from my home. I can remember bicycling back from the stand where they were being sold, coring and slicing each one, and the smell of tomato sauce filling the house as it bubbled away in the kitchen. Two days ago, I pulled a portion of the sauce out of the freezer and prepared it using a rich soup stock my husband had made earlier in the week. We sat down and enjoyed the soup for dinner together, discussed its unique flavour, and knew that the soup could never be exactly reproduced. Today, I tasted the soup’s journey once again. This, to me, is a proper meal.