Thoughts on Food

by marilynk

I think a lot about food. I like food, how it tastes, how it smells, how it looks on a plate. And I love cooking. I cook or bake for people because it is an expression of how I feel about them. I like it when people enjoy something I’ve made for them. I think about what kind of food a person will appreciate: their favourite flavours, the season, decorations that will make them laugh, anything that will make what I’ve made for them memorable and special.

I thought about food before I got sick. I was already trying to shift my food buying to more local sources and I’ve been trying to get back into synch with what is seasonal – not only in Edmonton, but the produce that I need to buy from farther away. Partly seasonality makes a difference to the cost of food – everything is cheaper when purchased in season. Partly it’s about supporting local farms – purchasing from local growers keeps more of my food dollars in my own community and circulating through the local economy. Mostly it’s about taste. Food just tastes so much better when it’s picked in it’s prime (have you ever eaten a freshly-ripe peach? I think that is the best example of what a difference seasonality makes to flavour!).

Since I got sick, I’ve been thinking even more about food. The only dietary triggers I’ve noticed are processed and packaged items, so since June I’ve made probably 80-85% of my meals from scratch and when I’ve eaten out, it’s mostly been at local restaurants that make food from scratch. Eating mostly from scratch takes more thought. I need to have an idea what I’m going to make, I need to make sure I have time to make it, and (I struggle with this one) I need to remember to take things out of the freezer in time to use them.

Needing to control what I eat and my moves to eat a more seasonal diet have led me to a new volunteer opportunity too. In August I joined theĀ Edmonton Organic Grower’s Guild, a group that has about 3 acres at the University of Alberta farm – right in the middle of the city! Everyone I’ve met there has been lovely and although I haven’t volunteered many hours yet, I’ve really enjoyed getting into the garden. I like that I’m contributing to growing the food that I’m consuming. And nothing beats gardening for learning what foods are in season when! Tomorrow is the group’s annual harvest dinner and I’m really looking forward to meeting more of the volunteers and sampling dishes made with the ingredients we’ve all grown. If you’re interested in gardening, I really encourage you to come out to EOGG. It is a really great option, especially for people who live in apartments or aren’t able to garden on their own property.

Edmonton doesn’t have a climate that makes a 100 mile diet possible, but itĀ isĀ possibleĀ to choose foods that are in season and choose local over imported when that choice is available. I’ll have some recipes in the next couple days that really illustrate what I’m talking about.

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