Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why Chasing Tomatoes?

Wait! Don't leave yet. You are in the right place. This is the blog formally known as "Recipes From the Cookie Jar". We've been going through a little bit of changes lately.

It all started with a tomato plant.

No, really, it did. When Jake was small, for some inexplicable reason I decided I was going to grow things, and tomatoes were the first edible thing that actually survived my innate ability for killing every living green thing I touch.

It flourished on my porch, producing all these delicious little red orbs that I'd eat raw, pop into salads, and generally just enjoy like candy. The cherry tomatoes from that plant were amazing.

From there, I participated in a community garden program. Knowing nothing about gardening and in WAY over my head, I planted a giant plot with everything from beans to broccoli, salad greens, peas, and carrots. It was amazing. Things actually grew, and we ate them. Jake loved to dig in the dirt and I had to continually rescue things he'd "accidentally" dug up.

The last six months have been a change in our household. At Christmas Hubs had a health scare and one evening months later, we were all gathered around the TV, which in of itself is very rare. I never watch TV. Somehow the topic of Jamie Oliver's work in the UK with school dinners came up, and I commented to Hubs,

"I wish he would do this in the USA. I think it's so needed."

Not 10 minutes later, the first ever commercial that we'd seen for Food Revolution aired.

We sat, dumbfounded.

Not long after, I found Jamie's Twitter stream and sent him a tweet that he needed to enlist food bloggers with his campaign. I didn't expect him to reply. Why would he ever reply to little old me? I'm but one person in a literal SEA of tweets.

The next day, he asked me how. Based on that very tweet, I forced my family to sit and watch Food Revolution, and after 10 minutes, we were completely hooked.

Food Revolution morphed into Food Revolution Friday over at Notes From the Cookie Jar, then Food Revolution Road Trip where we challenged ourselves to not eat any fast food for our entire 2 1/2 week vacation through the USA. Finally, a few weeks ago, as I rode on the back of Hub's motorcycle gazing at field upon field of luscious produce, I realized exactly where I want to take this blog.

Recipes from the Cookie Jar was never meant to be a blog. It began as a storage spot for recipes, an addendum to my main blogging pursuits. I never intended for it to be anything more that just a place to put recipes.

I want to change that and in doing so, I've issued myself yet another challenge.

As the main grocery shopper and cook for my family, I am making a pledge to use as little processed food as possible for ONE year. Oh sure, I'll use the staples like canned beans and tuna, dried pasta and cereal. I have to be realistic, and can't make everything from scratch-that would be silly. However, I'm going to do the very best I can. I'm not sure if it's do-able, considering we live in a remote area and food is expensive. Time is a factor, since I have two jobs and little time to cook. I have no idea how or even if I can avoid processed, and to what degree.

As well as limiting our processed food, I want to support local farmers and food producers so I'm pledging to seek out locally grown food. Local, for me, means in BC or the Pacific Northwest. There are times when price is going to be a factor, and times where I won't be able to find local at all. My plan is to document the effort I make, and the products I find.

You will still see all the recipes for luscious goodies and dinners that come out of my kitchen, but now, along with it, you are going to see the adventures (and frustrations!) I have trying to keep as close to REAL food as possible. Can I do it? I'm not sure.

This is my biggest challenge yet. I'm chasing the real, the fresh from the Earth, unsullied, un-corn syruped/sugared/salted/chemically altered, just like those little red orbs that grew on my porch years ago.

You, my friends, are invited to follow along.
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