What’s Your Food Story?

by Grace Boyle on August 15, 2011

Post image for What’s Your Food Story?

Photo: Thanksgiving with friends and family at my house, growing up.

I’m reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and it’s a deep reminder and true account of where our food comes from, sourcing local and the history of food. Barbara and her family spend one year deliberately feeding themselves only products they grew in their garden or close to home.

Barbara’s story is inspirational and I highly recommend this book. It’s rich with facts, stories and memories of food. Furthermore, she doesn’t sugarcoat anything. Her daughter and husband have excerpts and recipes throughout the book, as well so it’s truly a family affair.

As I share this book, many friends have told me the book inspired them to start buying mostly from farmers markets or locally and to others, it opened their eyes and they’re considering living a different way.

To me, it confirms the way I’ve been raised. My mother, much like Barbara, has her own garden and her father (my Italian Grandfather) always did as well. She served food fresh and organic, far before it was trendy and the thing to do.

After a recent trip home to Iowa, I joked how my mom has her close, longtime friend and farmer, Claude on speed-dial (this is 2011 people) to hear the latest and freshest produce he just picked. For 20 years Claude and his wife Sharon have been hand-delivering fresh vegetables and fruit to my family from their local farm, only a few miles away.

Iowa corn, ready to grill from our trip back home.

When we were home, Claude brought us fresh blackberries glistening with beaded water over their almost black brightness and a handful of onions for our turkey, curry meatballs.

Now, on my own food journey. Many years out of living at home with my wonderful family, the book reminds me how to buy, what to buy and to keep my family’s values and Italian food traditions alive.

The older I get, the more important it is.

Cooking Italian Zeppole with my mom (to right of me) my Nunnie, her sisters (My Great-Aunts) and my cousin.

My food story:

Without thinking, I pick up the yellow bags at the local market and buy organic.

I’m two blocks from Boulder’s farmers market and head there after work on Wednesday and/or Saturday morning for the freshest produce.

Processed food? It’s slim to none when you open my cupboards (but, I could still do less of it).

I share and cook my family’s Italian recipes, with my Grandparents and Great-Grandparents in mind.

My footprint is small. I bike to work each day and use my car, just a few times a week.

I cook everything from scratch. You won’t find much frozen food in my freezer or pre-made meals. My mom taught us this. We had meals together as a family each week where we had to sit down at the table, talk and share from the day. We never watched TV while eating growing up, either. As a teenager, I wanted to be out with my friends, but now, I appreciate this special delight that is so rare.

If anything, this is a tribute to the healthy, progressive vision of my parents’ food decisions. Thank you mom and dad. Love you.

“Americans put almost as much fossil fuel into our refrigerators as our cars…” -Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

What’s your food story? And while you’re at it, pick up a copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It’s incredible.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • http://www.virtuallybing.com Bing Chou

    Great timing Grace – I just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a couple three weeks ago. I was already in the process of getting a little more local, a little more seasonal, but Kingsolver gave me a serious kick in the ass.

    My love of food and cooking has me naturally predisposed to learning more about quality ingredients. This was originally outside the context of what is regional, seasonal, and truly fresh. Too much Food Network, not enough kitchen time.

    The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Pollan’s other books had me reducing how much meat I eat (it is now an occasional indulgence instead of an everyday expectation) and thinking about where produce and processed foods come from. The part about Polyface Farms really resonated with me, and had me thinking about food production.

    Last year I experimented with my first garden and my first aquaponics setup (think hydroponics, but substitute pooping fish for liquid nutrients). This year we expanded, and are excited to expand again next year. We’re planning on squeezing every last bit of productivity out of our tiny townhouse.

    This weekend, my 3 year old and I baked a loaf of challah and a couple dozen chocolate chip craisin oatmeal cookies,. made a huge amount of roasted corn salsa, experimented with our first batch of ice cream (chocolate chip coffee), and cooked several wonderful meals with home grown and farmers’ market produce.

    Kingsolver inspired me to start baking a bit, had me try making mozz for the first time, and prompted family discussions about how to do it better and better. As family, we expected cooking and growing together would be fun (it is), but an unexpected bonus: feeling more self-sufficient. If the zombie apocalypse ever comes, we’ll be ready.

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      I love it! All the homemade food you made this weekend sounds delicious. Your 3 year old will have these food stories and memories engrained forever and it’s a great way to start. I love hearing parent’s perspective as I’m the child thanking my parents today.

      I was actually raised mostly vegetarian, so when/if I do eat some white meat/fish these days I’m really careful about where it came from. Thanks for sharing. Love your stories!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jr-Moreau/17901497 Jr Moreau

    I think you and your family tie food and love so closely together that there could never be any detachment from either. It makes being part of your family’s gatherings so warming and filled with love. Great piece Gracie.

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      Thanks honey :)

  • Jayboyle

    Another intelligent heartfelt post. Well done Grace.

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      Thanks Dad!

  • Eatplaylove

    Just this afternoon I was at a volunteer meeting for my daughter’s school and the Growe Foundation (they help maintain school gardens in Boulder Valley). The woman running the meeting told us that my generation (X) is the first generation to have no background knowledge in maintaining gardens or about plants. Gardening skipped my generation. Adults don’t know what is a weed and what is a plant. Gardening is so important to my family and I am grateful my Italian immigrant heritage gave me that gift! I love gardening.

    • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

      That’s wonderful! I love gardening and bringing it into schools. My family has a green thumb which I don’t as much, but I love and appreciate it so much.

  • Eatplaylove

    Just this afternoon I was at a volunteer meeting for my daughter’s school and the Growe Foundation (they help maintain school gardens in Boulder Valley). The woman running the meeting told us that my generation (X) is the first generation to have no background knowledge in maintaining gardens or about plants. Gardening skipped my generation. Adults don’t know what is a weed and what is a plant. Gardening is so important to my family and I am grateful my Italian immigrant heritage gave me that gift! I love gardening.

  • Dianedenbaum

    Wonderful Thanksgivings and memories at the Boyle’s Home. Fabulous Family!! Love Love

  • Signature Tastes of Colorado

    Fresh is the way to go! Glad you’re advocating it.

Previous post:

Next post: