Maggie, my nearly constant companion, saunters into the yard, pees, picks up her tennis ball and gives me a look only a Golden Retriever can muster. “Not tonight, sister. I don’t need you to meet a skunk on your way to find your tennis ball.” She sadly brings it indoors, giving one last look over her shoulder at the bird feeder for any errant nocturnal squirrels.
This is a different life than the one I used to champion. Constantly on the run, driving from state to state opening restaurants, training, performing inspections; making more money to buy more ‘stuff’. I was on a steady diet of restaurant fare and rarely had anything in my refrigerator that wasn’t in a styrofoam container from last night’s meal out. A lot of the time it was fun and a most of the time exhausting. When I was home, I knew it was only temporary – not unlike the recent movie ‘Up in the Air’. My life was on the road, home was a nice, temporary vacation.
And then, my life changed. I met my husband, bought a house in the north woods and over a period of several years started to enjoy a life again. It seemed frightening to walk away from a good salary and benefits to work on my own at first, but as my life slowed down, I found I truly enjoyed it. I couldn’t spend money on the latest $250 handbag or pair of designer shoes, but neither did I find a desire to buy them. Somewhere in there was a paradigm shift where I wasn’t buying into the mega-consumer system anymore. I began to teach cooking, garden again, can and preserve fresh foods and rediscovered what it was like to be home. I had time to research, read and to throw a dog’s tennis ball on a regular basis.
I have always been an advocate of organics and realized as I taught classes that there is an entire generation whose idea of cooking is mixing ‘a box of this with a can of that’ – the ‘semi-homemade’ generation. They have come to expect a long list of chemical ingredients in their food and pay little attention to the label. This is not to say that they don’t care, they just feel powerless over it and often feel they don’t have time to start from scratch.
This blog is an effort to help those who want to learn more about food and cooking without adding loads of processing and chemicals to their meals. Convenience food isn’t all bad, but there are loads of healthy alternatives. My goal is to balance truly homemade ‘faster food’ for busy families with canning and preserving and a smidgen of gardening. Always wanted to know how to bake bread from scratch without the all day ordeal? Or can tomato sauce like your grandmother used to? Or grow those fancy-schmancy Russian Fingerling potatoes that cost $4 a pound in the grocery store? Come on over. I’ll be cooking and gardening and teaching – online. See you soon.