My parents brought us to Victoria, BC in 1944 and we became city dwellers. Understand that in that time there was no concept and no distinction called “organic.” Everything was – organic!
My grandmother went to the local grocery where outside in back there were pens wherein there were turkeys and chickens. She would go with the grocer to the back, point to a chicken, he would wring its neck and wrap it up for her to take home. She plucked, singed and cut up the chicken to roast it in her oven. Same day food, folks.
It was all very friendly food grown within a few miles of our place in town. Everyone grew veggies in their back yard. My dad nurtured a peach tree splayed on the south wall of the house. We went to Esquimalt to the docks Saturday afternoon to get fishes from the local men who had been out in the strait since early dawn. In my whole time at home, I was in a restaurant only twice.
Now, fast forward to these days to discover why the title of this piece.
We all have some experience in this time going to ever larger grocery stores. Food is transported sometimes half way round the world to reach our tables. The business of agriculture has not yielded us better food as the supply has increased along with the population. It may also be that a great many people and their children eat out or eat fast for several meals every week. These represent systemic alterations to the level of nourishment afforded our people. We have learned that in order to eat well, we must learn what we have not previously needed to know, and we must also change the ways that we approach the whole of our health, one corner of which is the food we choose to eat.
In restaurants, cuisine rules. There are places to eat of about every ethnicity we can name and each of them offers their version of the meals their folk eat. There are often cook books gracing our own kitchen shelves from which recipes are chosen to create meals. Then out we go to the grocery store to stock the ingredients in the recipes, make the meal and sample the version of the cuisine we have as faithfully as possible made for ourselves.
It was a combination of those very early days when I was a kid with a choice of lifestyle rather later in life that took me onto the highways, roads and byways of the western United States in a van to finally and completely change forever my relationship with cuisine. I had to be done with all the recipe duplications and resort to the simplicity of just plain natural food. It changed a lot about me and my body in quite a short order.
Immediately my relationship with the grocery store had to shift because there was no refrigerator in the van. It was necessary to buy and keep varieties of fresh food for several days following the methods of our ancestors. I learned to swaddle vegetables in cool towels to keep for a few days. Then, because simple meant many fewer difficult to digest combinations of foods, body both digested and eliminated much more efficiently with the happy result that within a couple weeks I felt a lot better and, because I was giving myself superior nutrition, over these decades, I have never been over weight. Needless to say, I never looked back.
Over the twenty years in the van and now as I approach the decade past 80 once again in a large city, I have firmly and finally completed the cycle of cuisine and recipes to become an aficionado of simple, easy, now known as slow food. I bought one of those lovely ninja blenders and make green drinks so totally nourishing and delicious that I am neither interested nor hungry for even restaurant crawling. They can’t do as well as I do with my simple habits.
There is always some kind of story and this is a story that has very broad consequences all for my betterment. I pass this idea on to you to investigate in your own place of food and eating.
Ask yourself what is most important in your life? For me, it was pretty easy: I wish to feel good, I wish to be healthy, vital and alive, well and able to live my own kind of style no matter what kind of limitations that I need to work out. You might have these goals as well. PS: none of this will work for the ‘foodies” because, bless ‘em, they are cuisine happy sensualists all the way! Go ahead sample their best and enjoy yourself.
So: if I have in any way inspired you with my digressions, now it is important to educate yourself and do a bunch of taste testing to re-educate your taste buds and your digestion. That is the purpose of this section of Raven’s Medicine. It is my observation that when I get next to what truly serves my journey here, it is simple, wholesome, and lots of fun. As we travel this road together, I will bring you more of my personal experiences that might continue to inspire you to learn more and feel better for it. Bon appetit!