September 21, 2010 by Leah
I’m one of those people with a slight tendency toward obsession. Where one might think that, since starting this blog, I was using this tendency for the powers of good (counting every penny, finding employment), I have, in fact, been sidetracked.
Somewhere between the garden planting, the bread baking, and the yogurt making I started reading really intently about “real food,” or “traditional food,” or “slow food,” or whatever people call it. At its most militant, this seems to be a bunch of people (dare I say a “movement?”) trying to live by the precepts of various researchers and, in many ways, reconnect with the cooking and eating traditions of their great-grandmothers (I haven’t run across a male real food blogger yet).
A lot of what they practice, and preach, is just plain sensible (eat lots of local, organic fruits and veg , seek out pastured animals and animal products as grass-fed animal products have much better nutritional content than industrially farmed or even just grain fed animals). Some has been a little surprising. E.g. canola oil is bad (even though it’s made from the rapeseed plant – thanks M! – it’s bad because it’s a “new” oil) and we shouldn’t be worrying as much about saturated fat as about avoiding trans fats and correcting the balance of omega-3s to omega-6s in our diets. Soy is ridiculously bad because of anti-nutrients and phytoestrogens. WHOLE GRAINS shouldn’t be eaten without first being sprouted, fermented, or soaked in something acidic like buttermilk because they include anti-nutrients which make their natural goodness less available to our bodies without these interventions. What?
Me being me (see sentence one), I have already found a reasonably local (a store 25 minutes away) source of raw milk (raw milk is big with these people). I have been unable to find sprouted grain flour so am considering getting a food mill (preferably hand-cranked with an electric adapter, in case of apocalypse) so I can sprout my own grains before I grind them. Aaron and I already want to keep chickens, although we’re not too sure what our landlord the government would have to say about that. At any rate, while some of these changes may be good, I think I’ve gone a little bit off the deep end.
Today, while planning menus for the next few days, I discovered I needed homemade chicken stock for tonight’s chicken pot pie and for Thursday’s braised lamb shanks. Did I say to myself, “hey, I’ve got some cartons of Pacific Organic Low-Sodium Chicken Broth in the pantry, I’ll just use those?” Of course I didn’t. I got in the car, drove to Whole Paycheck (er, Foods), bought a chicken, came home, prepped it, roasted it, picked it clean of meat (which I’m planning to use for tamales) and made a stock with the carcass and my ever-available frozen vegetable scraps.
I seem to have lost some perspective. The worst part is I used the excuse to drop $108 at the store. Granted, we were out of coffee and shockingly low on tea, I bought all the fixings for miso soup (dried fish, two kinds of seaweed, and miso paste are a surprisingly hefty investment), clams, a chicken, an organic, grass-fed tri-tip roast, and two bottles of kombucha (one to see if we liked it, the other to use to start a scoby so that we too can brew our own and cure cancer with this delightfully fizzy fermented tea). If I were really serious about this frugal thing I would have found an Asian market for the soup fixings, at least, but I was compelled to get home so my stock would have enough time to simmer before I needed it – even though we would have been just fine eating leftovers.