This seems like a good time to put down some of my thoughts about food since these will be shaping the menus you see here. One big dilemma is the to eat or not to eat meat question. Ultimately, I believe it’s up to each person to decide what’s best for him or her, but here are my feelings on the matter. There are many good reasons be a vegetarian: the environment, animal rights and health. All of these are worthy and I have spent time as a vegetarian, but I also believe that we are part of a system and to eat, something has to die. Call me crazy, but I’m not sure that the life of a carrot is less valuable than the life of a chicken. Given that something is going to die to feed me, my response to that is to be sure that I honor whatever gives up its life for my nourishment, be it carrot or chicken. With that in mind, I buy organic and local whenever possible and that includes the meat we eat. So, I do eat meat and you will see that in my menus, but I don’t often feature meat as the main course. I usually try to use meat to enhance the meal, rather than be the meal. (Although there is just something too satisfying about roast chicken and the occasional lamb chop to ever give them up forever!) And I don’t eat beef. There are two reasons for this. One is that my family had a cow for a time that became a personal friend and I’ve never quite felt right eating my friends and the other is that the growing of beef puts a strain on the environment that I don’t want to add to. I know there are other options now with beef, such as grass fed which is fabulous and if you eat beef, I heartily encourage you to choose that option, but for me, please refer back to my first reason for not eating beef!
The other big thing for me, as you saw me mention before, is to eat food that is grown in a way that enhances our system, not damages it. The less food has to travel, the better for all of us and the more organic and diverse the growing methods, the better for the planet. You might be saying to yourself that it can be expensive to eat this way and to this I have two comments. (I seem to be working in pairs in this commentary…)The first is that you put the food you buy into the bodies of those you love, which hopefully includes you. The food you eat makes you who you are in more ways than one. It feeds every cell in your body and your brain, so it influences your health and this influences your thinking and how you feel every day. How can you possibly put a price on that? I would assert that good eating is worth every penny you might spend and if you cook at home, you’ll end up saving money in the long run. Which leads me to my second thought on cost. There are times when I was at our local co-op when even I was feeling too cheap to spend the bucks for the organic items, so I made a second stop at the local conventional store and suprise, suprise! It was more expensive there for the conventional item every time I did this. So, no more. The other component to not spending ridiculous amounts on certain things is to buy seasonally whenever possible and this you will also see reflected in my menus. I try to enjoy the bounty of the season, forage and grow what I can. And all of this leads to some pretty darn good food, most of the time.