I’m not sure what has come over me in the past 6 months, but it has been snowballing into a big adventure and something inside of me has been nagging me to write about it.
At Christmas I asked my sister for a Biggest Loser cookbook; I wanted to learn how to cook better meals that were simple. Funny enough, my mom also got me the Looney Spoons Collection cookbook, and it turns out that I have used that book on a weekly basis since Christmas, hardly touching the one that I had asked for.
The recipes were simple and I had a lot of the ingredients already. I stuck to recipes from the book and didn’t really think about cooking “outside the book” by adding in extras. I must say that up until a couple weeks ago, I think I was a pretty wasteful grocery buyer. I never looked into my fridge and said, “What do I have to work with? What will go bad soon?” And then made something based what I had available. However, since Christmas, I have been buying fresher and fresher food and learning how to use what I have.
It wasn’t just this cookbook, mind you, I have been a fan of the Biggest Loser for several year and I’m a distance runner. My boyfriend, Dave, and I started training in January for the Paris marathon in April. I was determined to get my weight back down again, as it had been creeping up over the past couple years and a number I promised myself I would never see again, well…I was seeing it again and then some.
Training helped me drop 4lbs (my goal is about 8lbs), but training is over and now I need to depend on my diet and my regular workout routine to get me to though the last 3-4lbs.
Things in the past few months have really escalated my food drive, after using the Looney Spoons book for several months, Dave and I went to Eat Vancouver, a large food and drink show at BC Place, where we got to sample so many things that I don’t normally eat (smoked BBQ salmon, llama jerky, greek yogurt). Then we went for a hike on Bowen Island and found salmon berries and lots of mushroom varieties that I couldn’t identify. It got me thinking about the variety of food available and how much I don’t know. Another big builder of interest and knowledge was the Good Food podcast out of LA that I came across in March. The show covers all aspects of food including farming practices, what is in season, hot restaurants and food trends.
Shortly after that I came across a flyer for a local Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program for my neighbourhood. A friend of mine participates in a similar CSA and really enjoyed it, so Dave and I signed up to split a bin of fruits and vegetables that would come to my house once a week for 6 months. All local and organic produce for $25/week. What a great opportunity! You wouldn’t believe my excitement as the weeks led up to the first delivery on June 6. I’m surprised Dave didn’t put in earplugs every time he came over as I yammered on and on about food. I started going to the Kit’s Farmers Market by my church every Sunday and checking out what would be coming our way. Bob Harper, a trainer on The Biggest Loser, also put out a book on 20 healthy eating rules and that fueled my fire and got me itching for more. I started reading more books on food after that and pulled off my bookshelf Michael Pollan’s Food Rules book (which I have been using for most of my Facebook posts as of late). I couldn’t wait to start experimenting with whatever showed up in my weekly basket.
Three days before the first delivery, I got terrible news, the CSA was not going to be able to carry out their program this year due to economic and personnel reasons. I was extremely disappointed, but quickly became determined to find another CSA or to go to the Farmer’s Market on my own and try new things. I couldn’t find another CSA that worked as well, so the last two Sunday’s I have been Farmer’s Marketing it up and buying all kinds of leafy greens, tomatoes, beets, zucchini and other vegetables, along with cheese, fish and some fruit. Most of my experiments have turned out really well (other than tonight when I almost started a grease fire frying zucchini flowers and burned the kale while steaming halibut. Thankfully the halibut survived.
Thinking about food, I don’t know why I don’t know more about it. I eat everyday, several times, and yet I couldn’t tell you the kinds of leafy greens or the strawberry variety that I use to make smoothies every week. I used to buy the same small sampling of food most of my life, but since last year I have been working hard to broaden my horizons and now I love tomatoes, olives and I’m slowly making my way info the fish, greek yogurt and beets. I’m starting to think that there isn’t anything I won’t like, or couldn’t like if I only took the chance to eat it (sardines might take a while).
I’m not sure how much more I’ll post on here about food, but we’ll see. I was hoping to get some pictures of the zucchini flowers, but that ended with a lot of smoke and a burned out pot. Hopefully there will be more to come.