With numerous cooking shows on TV, constantly evolving nutrition information, and growing misinformation about farming—not to mention our stomachs constantly reminding us of our hunger—food is almost always on our minds. When my stomach recently produced the “feed me” sounds it reminded me of something our daughter, Kim, said when she was about 2 years old.
|Ginger feeding Ella while Emily holds her. Ella has quite a
variety of baby foods to choose from.
We had just dropped off her older brother, Jeff, at preschool and Kim said “My stomach’s talking”. I didn’t have any quick snacks to hand her like we do now. I love the little yogurt bites our daughter, Ginger, gives to our granddaughter, Ella.
As a mom I tried to provide good meals for our family. I am pretty sure Kim had either a bowl of cereal or cinnamon toast when we got back home as those were our most common breakfast meals. Our dinner, or lunch as we said when I was growing up, and our supper had meat, potatoes and a vegetable. Beef was a staple and I can attest that hamburger helped me make a great meal! I like making casseroles and baking with ingredients that are easy to find. The other day our daughter, Emily, pointed that out to me. She noticed that I am a quick recipe type of cook. I like to get things in the oven and then go do something else while it bakes.
|Scott is filleting fish while Emily and Steve prepare other items
to make Ceviche, a Peruvian dish of fish with lime and onions.
Some of our other children take more after Steve. They like to explore new recipes and use lots of utensils, bowls and pans when they cook. Scott has brought Japanese dishes into our lives while Emily and Jeff have brought in Peruvian dishes. Our son-in-law, Casey, is a hunter and very good at making jerky. I am really grateful for the many cooks in our family because I have learned to try new things and I get more time out of the kitchen! I have to admit there are some foods I just can’t make myself eat chicken feet and my husband just loves them cooked with carrots.
|Jeff and Kim make sandwiches using tomato, sliced boiled
eggs, avocado, mayonnaise and three slices of bread. This
would make an excellent sandwich on Fridays during Lent!
Food is a very important part of our daily lives. We need it to live physically but it is also an activity that builds relationships. Cooking together and eating together allows for conversations to happen that just don’t occur when getting food from Burger King or a concession stand at a game. I should know because we ate many meals in gyms or the mini-van while our kids went through high school. Eating together around a table without a TV on has been shown to build stronger families and healthier kids. Perhaps we as a country should spend as much time thinking about where, when and how we eat as well as what we eat.
|Our family enjoying a meal together in February. Steak was on the menu!|
Recently food has taken center stage in other ways. Besides several TV programs about cooking there are more people asking questions about how our food is raised and who is doing it. As a CommonGround volunteer I hear many questions about that. Part of the misunderstanding is the terminology used in food production today.
If you knew a product was called Streptococcus Cremoris would you eat it? Well, I eat it and I really like it on a baked potato, in chip dip and in cheesecake. It is the scientific name for sour cream.
Many of us like ketchup and pickles. One ingredient used in both products is vinegar or acetic acid. If I said pass the pickles with acetic acid I might raise a few eyebrows. Vinegar is a 4-6% solution of acetic acid.
How about Saccharomyces cerevisiae? That is the yeast used in bread and in beer. Different strains allow more production of either carbon dioxide or alcohol depending on what you are making-bread or beer. I found it interesting that using yeast for beer happened accidently thousands of years ago when the yeast “contaminated” some flour or drinks. The results were pleasant for the people using the contaminated products. I would have liked to have been a mouse watching that scene unfold!
One of my favorites is Theobroma cacaoor or the fruit of the gods. You eat theobromine when you eat chocolate. Eating a chocolate bar sounds better than eating a theobromine bar.
|Here are three farmers! Steve and I are joined by a farmer
from Ireland who stopped for a brief visit.
Terminology can be frightening if we don’t explore what the word/words really mean. With the explosion of social media it is more important now than ever to seek reliable sources of information. I would encourage you to double check the sources you use for information and when it comes to food ask a farmer!