Food Connects

I have a man that cooks. In fact he loves to cook, when there is time. I have encouraged him to make more time because we all enjoy his food. And I think the process of preparing and cooking a meal is quietly therapeutic. Some days I would disagree with this idea (think frazzled Mumma with no time to cook) but for the most part cooking allows us to love, to share and to connect with each other. The food becomes a meal which becomes a shared activity of love and our life together. Enjoy your food today and be thankful for the hands that prepared it and the one who provided it.

Katering Around

The Katering Show. A brilliant satire by some seriously clever young ladies.

In particular, I loved watching this episode about the Thermomix. You may recall that I have the Aldi version of the Thermomix (aka $350 versus TMX $2000). It wizzes and whirls and does a job. Maybe not the job, but the question is do we want that job done for us? Those of us who cook intuitively, who taste and feel the food as we make magic with our ingredients – well, the TMX makes some experiences redundant.

Natasha Robinson seems to feel the same way about the Thermomix machine and in her article for The Australian, she suggests that TMX followers are a part of a cult. And it kinda feels that way, sometimes. There are secret tips and nods and techniques, observed by those with their TMX.

I swing from yes, if you gifted me a TMX I would take it and use it. It is speedy for many things I find boring. Like stirring jam and relish as it bubbles for hours, threatening me with three degree burns. And sorbet, custard, bechamel…it is good. Really, I can do all of these things on my own. Just as my mother has done and her mother before her. But the question that needs to be answered is whether I want my lifestyle to change, my family food culture and homemaking to be influenced by a machine.

Will each kidlet leave home expecting a TMX as the ultimate housewarming present? What if they don’t know how to make custard from scratch? Will I have failed them?

If I want to be seriously clever I think I need to be pragmatic about the TMX, show my family how it helps and hinders. And teach them to cook risotto from scratch, with a dash of muscle power and love. NB: Love not found as a program on the TMX.

Food to Feed Me

I am a recipe book, food book junkie from long, long ago. I recently parted with a collection of Gourmet Traveller and Vogue Entertaining Magazines that date back before the turn of the last century. However, in a digital environment I have not purchased as many cook books as I perhaps would have imagined. So many of my favourite food journalists, chefs and cooks have online resources, blogs and apps and this makes cooking simple.

But there is something lovely about reading a recipe book. Taking a quiet moment over a cup of tea and being inspired. I rarely cook from recipe books directly. But I think my brain works like a search engine, trawling the books for ideas, techniques and new skills that I can apply to our everyday repertoire for our 7mouths2feed.

Jane Kennedy’s One Dish Two Ways is great. I have blogged about this is  woman before and her food minus the boom bah. Like me knows the juggle of five children and she has struggled with children who don’t like every recipe or ingredient. Her collection of food ideas take one dish and offer a kid friendly and a more adult version. And it is fun. The idea is simple. You and I are doing most of it already I suspect, but she offers variety.

Bill Granger is a perennial favourite and his book Feed Me Now is about fresh, fast food. Our Granger collection is well loved.

This Home Made Summer is another food book that is full of great pics and typography. Food books have changed so much in my lifetime. The look, layout and ‘feel’ is evolving.

And finally, meet Dan Churchill. Confession. Before I picked this book up I had no idea who he was – at all. Those of you who follow Master Chef would be familiar with his new celeb status. And seriously, I am not going for the V-neck T. Are you?

But I am totally captivated by his recipes and healthy approach to food. Yes, he is a bit of a Paleo lover and his recipes have less sugar than most but he has some great combinations. His slow cooked lamb…….fabulous! So if you have a special man friend, brother or Dad this books would be a great gift. Or a good pressie for you.

Real Food, Real People

Hello Friends. I have to tell you that I was somewhat relieved to hear that I am not the only woman with a gnawing unease about the escalation of clean eating with its grain free, dairy free, sugar free plans. This article from Kate Leaver posted on Mamamia has gone viral in the last week and for good reason. Leaver argues that eating clean isn’t about health anymore, it is about shame.

I have dabbled in quitting this, reducing that and simplifying some of the things I eat. As I have emerged from the brain fog of sleepless nights with babies and small children I think I can see things more clearly. I don’t have allergies. Perhaps my body is more intolerant to some things, but there is no medical grounds for making huge changes to my eating. My body is older – I need to strive for health and functional fitness. Yes, I need to be able to  carry in all the groceries and possibly even a small child and not have my back give way. I need to be able to eat sensibly so that I don’t suffer unnecessary migraines, gut ache or fatigue. My motivation to eat well has changed. But my time hanging out with the celebs who advocate a particular eating regime is over.

It will be hard to look away because I have some of the I Quit Sugar books. And my Instagram feed, Facebook page and Pinterests boards are all overwhelmed with innovative ideas to eat clean with no sugar, dairy or grains.

My family have been on this roller coaster with me and to be fair there are things we have learnt together. We have cut out/down on senseless sugar consumption in flavoured yogurts, we understand what is in the condiments we eat, ever if the jar of pickles is homemade, there are good and bad cereals and we know drinking your sugar is stupid.

So why am I relieved? I know the creep of eating disorders that pervade our culture. We have all seen them – eating too much, too little, fasting, starving and punishing bodies, feeling guilty and being trapped on a roller coast of physical and mental health problems that ensue. We use food to gain control – of our life or so we think. And when we don’t we feel the shame.

I have been waiting for someone public to say enough, to this frenzy of new eating. My voice will not be heard in the current cacophony. Eat in moderation. Grow your own food, make it from scratch as much as you can and enjoy it. We celebrate with food, we offer love and grace as we do hospitality and we give of ourselves, something truly intimate when we eat a meal together. So my friends I want to keep eating and sharing food with you. Whether we eat sugar or not I don’t really mind, as long as we strive for  good health, good company and good times. Tell the celebs to go because their time with you is over. Eat real food, with real people in real time.

The Copper Hen

  The Copper Hen-Cakery and Kitchen. A large open space that had been lovingly restored complete with pressed copper roof, large wooden beams, polished boards and a sumptuous eatery. It is a farm-to-table cakery (love this word) in ‘Eat Street’ in the heart of the city of Minneapolis. When we visited to have our late lunch and glass of wine The Copper Hen was a month old. So young but doing a great trade and trying some new things. According to Heavy Table the husband and wife team Chris and Danielle Bjorling raised nearly $12,000 as a kick-starter from friends and neighbours to get their passion project, a rustic, farmhouse style bakery and cafe off the ground. I am totally seduced by the amazing looking bread and the display of sweet treats. And I admire anyone starting a food business – you can see the hard work in the space, the detail, the attention to please.

We sampled this cheeseboard and tried a ‘black and white pizza’ which was simply fig and goats cheese on a leavened base. It was thin, but dense and chewy – quite a new sensation, but lovely. Does everything taste so good when you are away from home and exploring? I am not sure. But this little establishment was simply good fun. You can follow them on Facebook and be inspired for your next leavened adventure in your own kitchen.

Food Forage

Peanut Butter and Jelly

 Travel does mean exploring new food. I have restaurant fatigue already after 5 days on the road, so today it was time to find a supermarket. I cruised the aisles of Target which sells clothes, home goods and so on, just like at home. But it also has a large range of fresh, cold and prepared foods. I enjoy seeing the lavish displays of….marshmallows, frosting and canned cookies. And some other more unusually named and prepared products. One world, one people and so many ways to grow, prepare and eat food. Enjoy!

Hmmm..Do you have a hungry man?

Not one option for marshmallows but an entire section

Fully cooked Bacon?

Packet Mix Cake – love the zebra stripes