I am part of Generation Y. Generation “why didn’t I pay more attention when my mom cooked for me?” Generation “why is my bank account so empty?” Generation “why is it so hard to eat healthy?” Generation “what do you use if you don’t have a double-boiler” Generation “how do I cook for myself?”
There are so many beautiful blogs out there giving expert tips for how to keep your family healthy, how best to get your kids to eat vegetables, and how to make enough food for everyone. But for the recently-moved-out-of-mom’s-housers there’s no room in our tiny fridge for 7 extra servings of casserole. We don’t have an emersion blender (maybe we don’t even know what that is). We’re still trying to get ourselves to eat vegetables. We’re trying to figure out how to eat healthy on the smallest budget possible. We’re trying to save the world one locally-sourced salad at time (using two forks because we don’t we don’t have fancy tongs). This is a blog for everyone, including those of us who don’t have families to feed, don’t have a cooking degree, don’t have a Pampered Chef stocked kitchen, want to be healthy (*see my definition of “healthy” below), want to save money, and still make awesome food.
This blog is split into two sections: one for recipes, and one for information about affording healthy food and why you should eat sustainably. I am not a professional chef, nor am I a nutritionist. My knowledge of food issues comes from classes I took in college, extensive reading, and my time on various boards and committees of sustainability and food-related organizations on campus (especially the Michigan Sustainable Foods Initiative and the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program). My knowledge of cooking comes from triall and many, many errors in the kitchen, patient instruction from those who know what they’re talking about, consulting an enormous culinary school text book (On Cooking), food magazines, websites and other blogs.
In each recipe, I list alternative tools for the kitchenware that’s more obscure than the average 20-something kitchen, the price per serving of each meal, and the nutritional information. I also post either one-serving meals, or meals that make a good bring to work or class lunch the next day (but nothing that will leave you eating the same meal for a week). Some recipes (like bread) are going to be more than one serving (it’s hard to make one slice of bread). You may need to enlist the stomachs of your friends to help you get through these.
Another thing my recipes strive to achieve is being healthy. It’s hard to be healthy when you’re eating take out, bar food, and coffee shop muffins, or coming home to such gourmet options as Mac N’ Cheese, Ramen Noodles, and pre-packaged burritos. I try to make plant-based, vegan, raw, gluten-free, or sugar free recipes often, but I don’t sacrifice taste for healthfulness. What I mean by that, is that a pile of raw, naked vegetables fresh from the garden might be good for you, but wouldn’t taste very good, and there is no reason to eat something that doesn’t taste good. Eating sustainably can be fun and satisfying, but depending on where you live, eating local can mean eating potato-stuffed potatoes with a side of canned potatoes for several months out of the year.
These recipes are either my own creations, or homemade versions of take out food. My inspiration for recipes comes from many places, but you will find a tendency towards Mexican food or Mexican ingredients, as I grew up in a Mexican-American household, and have a soft spot (called my stomach) for the flavors of Mexico.
My dream is for sustainability to become convenient. I want to be able to walk into any grocery store or restaurant, pick up an item and not worry about how much fertilizer and pesticide ran off into river to make it, how terribly it was slaughtered to feed me, how many gallons of CO2 it put into the atmosphere to get to me, whether it will make me obese and diabetic, and whether its creation and consumption will give me and my fellow eaters (i.e. everyone) cancer. I also don’t want to eat boring, expensive, less-than-average food. And I don’t want to have to be a rich activist to do this. I just want all the regular old Joes and Janes of the world to have access to good food. To make this dream come true we need education, and government support. Government support comes slowly if at all, but something you can do is educate yourself on the issues, and vote with your dollars. This issues is discussed in greater depth in my “y?” section.
Finally, eating is one of the most important things we do. It keeps us alive. It mandates how we feel, how well we function, how we’ll develop, our effect on our environment, and our overall quality of life. Eating is something we all have to do. Eating right is a philosophy, and our vision of what “eating right” means is a sort of manifesto on what the world should be like. Hence the title:
therefore I yam
*Healthy: means sustainable. A healthy meal is one that gives a body what it needs in order to keep on keepin’ on. It also does not take from the earth what can’t be put back, so that we can all keep on keepin’ on. Healthy food uses organic, non-processed, plant-based, vitamin packed, filling, non-toxic, in season, non economically damaging, non agricultural worker exploiting, local (depending on your zone) ingredients.