Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Beginning of an Adventure

Eating abounds with choices. Eat healthy. Eat smart. Eat for fun. Be frugal. Splurge.

My life is in transition. Just divorced. Kids off to college. House sold. Living alone for the first time -- ever. Thinking about what to eat shouldn't be a strain, but it is fun.

I've always been a healthy eater. And loved cooking. Mostly chow, not cuisine, but I take pleasure in finding interesting and tasty things to do with the food I have lying around, and sharing that with others. And then I read Pollan's books -- The Omnivore's Dilemma, and In Defense of Food. Which got me thinking about the whole idea of eating a lot more. Not obsessively, mind you, but it just got me thinking.

I'd been through periods where I at mostly vegetables, and little meat. Back in the day. In college and soon after. The days of the Cambridge Food Coop. Tofu. Brown Rice. Whole Grains. Just because it seemed to be the right thing to do.

Over the years, married with a family, I fell back into the meat, vegetable, starch way of organizing a plate. With meat at the center, or at least a big piece.

Now that I'm on my own, I have a few different challenges. One -- it's just me. And Susan, when we share meals. But....when I go shopping, it's just for me. Whatever I want. The choices are entirely mine. Mine mine mine. The shocking thing is how little I need to buy. And if I'm smart, how long the food can last.

Eat food, mostly vegetables, not too much. Pollen's credo resonated. I had the choice I could make for myself. Going into the farm stand, or the farmers market...seeing what's there, and then deciding what to make of it. That was the food life for me.

So the adventure has begun. Coming up with things to eat that do not involve meat at the center. Vegetables at the center. With meat as a condiment, or a side dish. But where would I find guidance on how to do this? There are plenty of vegetarian cookbooks. There are plenty of cookbooks period. But I thought it would be fun to chronicle my adventures of eating in this way.

I get my food inspirations from a variety of places, but increasingly, it's coming from the Internet. There are so many places to find recipes, other bloggers' adventures, newspaper articles. But as I take these guideposts and turn them into my own, perhaps it will be illuminating for someone else on the same journey. At the very least, it will chronicle my own adventures.

My aim is to:

  • Seek out and find fresh, flavorful, and healthy foods to eat
  • Use local products to the maximum extent possible
  • Find food grown and raised using sustainable methods
  • Experiment
  • Not spend fortunes on food
  • Not cook every day, but use the fridge, freezer, microwave and wok to leverage full scale cooking into several days worth of meals.
There's probably more, and I'll fill this in as I go.

A word on inspirations

I'd say Michael Pollan's work pushed me over the edge into the is adventure. I suspect there's a whole community of Pollanites out there discussing this, so I'll try to find out where they are over time. For now, though, I've been on my own. The Internet offers some pathways, though.

When I'm searching for things to cook, I tend to enjoy reading Mark Bittman's blog, because it always seems seasonal, easy to cook, and usually full of things I want to eat. His column, The Minimalist is great too, as is his book, How to Cook Everything -- which is conveniently on Susan's bookshelf when I'm there.

And Orangette is always inspiring. I may have cooked more things out of Molly' blog than anywhere else lately, and if I had the time, I could spend time searching her links to other inspirations. And perhaps I will.

The Chowhound community is always good for asking questions, and for seeing the questions that others have asked already.

And then, you never will know what will come out of a simple google search for an ingredient.

Well....this is as good a start as any. We'll see where this adventure takes me.

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