Farm To Table: Cooking With Love
I’m from the Western world. Land of organic, grass fed, non-toxic, free-range etc. The place of mowed lawns and orderly lineups, and if you’re from a city, then you also really like transit systems and take out.
There is SO much information about food these days. There are people who believe that organic is the best, and people who fight for GMO foods, claiming it will solve the problem of abundance. There are literally hundreds of thousands of articles about dieting from high protein to high carb, whole foods to gluten free.
I’m not here to throw my hat in the ring for any of that. Instead, I want to talk about cooking with love. I am just one person with no scientific proof except my own body and spirit to back this up, but I think love is just as important as protein/carb/fat ratios for a healthy body.
I was on the Zone Diet in the 90s, I have been vegetarian (which means you eat eggs and milk but not meat), vegan (no animal products of any kind), even raw vegan (no cooked vegetables or fruits) and I have been these three things as a city dweller, which means I ate a lot of vegan take out. But that wasn’t the healthiest for me.
At the height of my veganism, when accidental ingestion of chicken stock would cause me to ache with stomach pain for at least 12 hours after eating it, I went to Newfoundland to visit family. My family is pretty old school which means they still hunt and fish (shhhh, my uncle Butch has been on the fishing lam for a long time) and make their own bread. The food is mostly whole, as in it comes from gardens and oceans and forests and made with the most love I’ve ever received. And when I went to visit in the winter I ate boiled potatoes, pickled beats, homemade white bread and moose steak almost exclusively. And I slept like a baby.
Eating Cod’s Tongues at my Aunt Dot’s
How is that possible? If the physical composition of food was all that matters, then I was eating a whole bunch of stuff that didn’t make any gastric sense right?
That was the beginning, but since my discovery, I’ve noticed that I can eat almost anything if it’s cooked with love and I get very little nutrition from food that is not, no matter what it is. Which means that I’m having a hard time choking down an “organic” apple flown in from Argentina that I bought at a refrigerated grocery store in Toronto, but I can eat street food in the third world made by a family that I see every day. It’s also surprising to see that food cooked and enjoyed with loved ones is a lot easier to digest than fruits and vegetables that I eat on the go or in front of a computer.
How is that possible?
The more I think of it, the more I think, how is it not? As animals, the search for, harvest of and making of meals is central to our existence. Why wouldn’t cooking with love in our community not have some affect on the physical food we consume?
Here’s some pictures of one of the most nutritional meals I ever made ever.
It’s made of vegetables from my father’s garden in Newfoundland. He uses fertilizers and generic seeds. There are organic methods to his growing process like compost, but not enough to get certified organic.
I also included some Atlantic salmon that my Dad’s neighbour dropped off at his place. The deal from the neighbour was two salmons for my Dad’s smoker, one for us and one for the neighbour. So it’s fresh fish, fresh out of the smoker.
I ate this salad almost 5 years ago and it was so good, I photographed it. It was planted and harvested with love and care, cooked, diced, and eaten with gratitude and appreciation. And it was so delicious that I actually laughed while I was eating it…by myself, standing in my Dad’s kitchen. It brought happiness to my face it was so potent.
With all the hoopla about food out there, what if love is still the answer?