I have been cooking for over 30 years and just recently completed Culinary School. I went with the intention of further developing my food passion. During this time I have redirected my concerns about healthy eating and easier access to local food. I’ve found that there is an almost universal fear of food by some people who feel they can’t cook or have no skills in the area of food preparation, and thus find it easier to go and buy food from fast food outlets or prepared food from the grocery. Whether it's fear or just plain lack of knowledge, these are decisions that ultimately lead to an avoidance or lack of recognition of the importance of food in their lives. I find that learning cooking is like how we learn parenting. How we were raised determines, in most cases, how we raise children of our own. How we learn to cook, in most cases, is determined by how we were fed. I feel that we have become “industrialized” by our industrialized food providers who have determined what’s good, quick and “convenient” for our food consumption.
I feel different, as I hope you do as well, because I want to control what goes into my body as much as possible. I believe that “Food is Power” from any perspective you choose to look at. Food is Power in that it enables me to assert personal power in the form of good food choices. Food is power, it assists in understanding what to do and how to prepare it for consumption. Food is power, it keeps my body and mind strong and free from disease and illness. Food is power, it helps me educate my children and model what good eating and nutrition is. Food is power, it enables communities, as well as families the ability to grow, produce and sell food. Food is power in that if I don’t do any of these things, I will starve or go along with anything that sells me my “power” back.
I am a strong believer in Farm-to-Table and locally grown food. That’s all food. Not just fruits and vegetables, but locally sourced protein (meat, fish and game). In earlier times, when people grew their food in their garden, they ate what they produced. In many countries where there is no super market, they continue to eat farm-to –table. We’ve lost track of that when industrialization and movement to urban areas made us reluctant or maybe relieved food consumers. Consumers who have come to rely on mass advertising and the belief that producers can do the job of feeding families better or more conveniently and we can use our “free time” for more important matters than spending that time in our kitchen making breakfast, lunch and dinner. I want to know where my food is coming from, where it is produced and grown. The closer my food source is to me the better because if I have a problem with my food, I know where to go to get answers to my questions. I can’t do it if I bought one of five million items industrially produced or prepared in some other region of the country and then sold to me. Food should be grown, not manufactured from a petroleum refinery or a chemical plant.
When my kids were younger, I would come home from work and start dinner from a weekly menu that was used for meal planning. I would organize a nightly menu and cook for my family. It gave me a feeling of control and organization that I didn’t necessarily have at work. I get to plan, cook and feed my family and receive instant feedback and gratification from something that took maybe an hour or two to prepare. The kitchen became my place of relaxation and order. To see folks sit down, talk, eat and nourish was complete satisfaction. Cooking from the heart became my expression of love for my family and for the food that I prepared. The passion for food grew in my heart and occupies a big part of who I am as a person and how I view the world of food.