Sunday, July 18, 2010

Okay, so why a food blog?

A quick search on Google will show you that food blogs are plentiful, maybe too plentiful. So why am I writing one? Well, quite frankly, I figured, why not? I have a blog for my thoughts and reflections on teaching and other topics, but I also like to write about food. In fact, I like to write about it enough that it probably actually does warrant it's own blog. So here it is.

Where do I begin when it comes to food? Well, I guess I'll start out with talking about how I eat and why I eat that way. I'd pretty much always eaten healthily while growing up. My mother was a nurse, so was aware of the importance of a proper diet (and exercise), and my grandparents had their own garden, so fresh produce was a summer staple, and my grandmother did her own canning and preserving of food. I grew up in farm country, so farm stands and local food was generally a given for me. That being said, I also grew up eating fast food from time to time. I remember when McDonald's first arrived in my hometown, and trips to A&W were an special treat for us as well. When I became a parent, I made sure my kids ate balanced meals, but from time to time, we did find ourselves at one fast food place or another. All of that changed in 2001. That was when Eric Schlosser's  Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal hit the bookshelves. I picked it up and read it... and decided that fast food was most definitely not for me or my family. I began cooking at home almost all of the time, and started reading labels even more closely than I had been.

As time passed, I began to read more and more and more about food: what goes into it, what happens to it, and so forth. The more I read, the more I became both shocked, disgusted, and quite frankly appalled by what not only the fast food industry but agribusiness in general has done and is doing to our food supply. A few years ago I began shopping regularly at my local farmers market and I began to preserve my own food.  Thanks to Catherine Friend's The Compassionate Carnivore, I avoid factory farmed meat as much as I can.  I also try to keep most of my diet within 100 miles of home or at least within the state lines of Colorado... with certain exceptions: coffee, bananas, chocolate, oranges and the like simply don't grow here, and being a landlocked state, there's no local seafood to be had. But even then, there are local companies that I can choose to purchase what I need: spices from Savory Spice Shop, coffee from Silver Canyon, and so forth. My first choice is always independent and local, then Colorado-based (e.g., Noodles & Co., Chipotle, etc.) before expanding beyond into the "other" category.

The choices I've made have meant there are some things I do without; some foods that I've taken off my diet I  truly miss, and I can't say I don't get tempted. I no longer eat shrimp after finding out that for every pound of shrimp harvested, 20 pounds of fish are discarded. To me, that is completely unacceptable. It's disrespectful, not compassionate, and it's downright wasteful. I love shrimp, but I just don't eat them. I see commercials on television, and I'll admit that the food looks downright tasty, but remembering Michael Pollan's admonition to never eat food advertised on television, I choose to pass or make my own version of whatever has tempted me. My life as a locavore is not without its challenges, I've written about it on Elephant, but I've yet to truly regret my decision.

So what will I be writing about? Lots of things, all food related, of course. The impact of my food choices, the places I get my food, the food I cook... all sorts of things. Stay tuned, come back, and let's have some fun!


  1. Irving D.
    You know I think you'll find it interesting how here in Mexico roughly about 80% of your grocery shopping or any kind of shopping is done locally and in huge permanent "Farmers market" called "Mercados". Mexico hasn't been taken over by huge chain-store's like Walt-Mart. Yet...

  2. That's fantastic, Irving. I definitely wish that was how shopping was done here in the States. It's incredibly important to know where our food comes from, and having that personal contact with the farmer responsible for it gives a whole new perspective and depth to what I eat and even how I prepare it. Let's hope the chains stay away!

  3. Yup and you know that part of the reason why big chain-stores stay away from her is because since the mercados are full of local vegetables their for thing are relatively cheap compare to the big-chains

  4. That's not a bad thing at all... healthier foods for less money than the big chains! Mexico definitely does it right!