Why are some people so fanatically passionate about cooking as their life’s purpose?
Food at its most basic is for everyone. Without it and air and water, we would not survive. Cooking is not to everyone’s taste but contrast staying in a cooking competition to experiencing poverty, malnutrition and/or hunger.
For the former, being eliminated from a televised cooking program seems like the end of the world whereas for the latter it’s a matter of life and death. Shouldn’t those who are impoverished with little if any food security be the ones in tears rather than those who have the privilege to continue cooking and eating long after the cameras stop rolling?
Passion and one’s expression of it is personal and indeed imperative for the wellness of the soul but the bigger picture of food security seems to get lost in the context of televised entertainment.
While I am currently enjoying Top Chef Canada, Masterchef Australia and Next Food Network Star, I am reminded of the rock star status attributed to top chefs and the amateur cooks who aspire to the same.
Though they don’t have rockstar status nor get much airtime here are a few organizations that address the issue of food security.
Bread for the world – Have faith, end hunger
Food Share – Demonstrating a sustainable & accessible food system for all
Community food centres Canada – Good food is just the beginning
Canadian feed the children
“For the food we are about to receive, may we be truly thankful.”
Once again Meatless Monday and Thanksgiving collide. The modern-day cornucopia of treats and sanctioned gluttony are in stark contrast to the world of Montgomery’s Inn where I took a wood fired oven workshop this weekend.
In the late 1800s and beyond, people ate seasonally. All scraps of food were used and nothing was wasted. If food went bad, the spoiled part was cut off and the remainder eaten. Vinegar was mixed with leftover bits of vegetables and used to mask the ‘off’ taste of meat. Relish condiments were born. Beer was also mixed with water as the water in those days was ‘suspect’. This I learned from the tour guide at the Inn where the workshop was held.
Today there are a gamut of diet related illnesses ranging from obesity to malnutrition. Some places have abundant food supplies but much food waste while other areas struggle with food availability and affordability. The one common thread in food security today is…the meat industry.
Large plots of land are being used to grow mono crops (eg soy, corn) that provide animal feed for the current industrial agriculture system. A growing global population who demands more meat and larger portions of it are credited for driving this industry. With concern over health and a sustainable food system that doesn’t rely on chemicals and technology, Meatless Monday and vegetarianism have never been more popular!
Celebrate Thanksgiving and honour this time of year by eating a moderate amount of seasonal produce and canning and/or freezing the rest for winter. And if you have a hankering for a more traditional meal on this holiday, I highly recommend Gardein’s ‘stuffed turk’y’.
There are two servings per package along with two generously filled packets of gravy. Steam some organic russet potatoes and mash with some vegan mayonnaise, nutritional yeast, mustard, vegan spread and rice milk. Throw in a side of greens and some roast carrots and brussel sprouts et voila, instant meatless ‘turkey’ meal. Sodium content is 21% (not ideal but not too outrageous for an indulgent meal) with a 23g protein count per serving. For a light dessert, try hot chocolate made with pumpkin pie spices and vegan pumpkin flavoured marshmallows if you can find them.
Save the bees!
Morgan Freeman converts his ranch to bee haven
Without bees, we would be without many of the foods we take for granted ie fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs. These foods have become staples in our diet and we are used to them always being available.
Besides a dearth of bees, other threats to our food security are: affordability, accessibility, and politics.
While there are government subsidies for unhealthy foods, healthy foods such as produce or organic items are out of reach for many people on tight budgets and limited job security.
In an interesting twist on politics and food security, the city of Toronto is taking initiatives in being a bee-friendly city.
Besides becoming a bee-keeper, lobbying for an affordable and accessible food supply and voting for government officials committed to making this happen, fostering a bee-friendly environment will help to ensure food security of the foods pollinated by bees.