Household Food

The line between foods prepared at home and commercial food sustainably processed is blurred and many foods can be made either at home or purchased from those who specialize in production, as millers or bakers, butchers and sausage makers, etc. The essential difference between these two groups is that household foods are always prepared for final consumption, immediate or delayed. Most commercially processed foods, unlike meals, don't have to be consumed right away, they have some "shelf life". Also, food processors also offer intermediate products that can be further prepared or combined at homes to make meals.

Production of foods at home may start with growing plants and even raising some small livestock. How far one can go depends on the location and the place owned. Gardening can be, at least at some scale, done by many city dwellers. Those who own houses may also have some fruit trees. There are also great chances that laying hens, rabbits, even honey bees can be kept in cities. Even more possibilities are there in rural settings. The most important thing is to take maximum control of our own food and the first step is to produce at home as much food as feasible. The Centre will help people learn how to make such steps by everyone towards securing the best foods.

The main part of claiming control of our own food is to prepare meals at home and prepare them "from scratch". Then, one knows how the food is prepared and has full control of the ingredients. This used to be a standard for all households until people relinquished their food responsibilities and trusted them to corporate food business. In the beginning this looked convenient and benign but it led to the gradual and unnoticeable industrialized change to our food, bringing us up to what we experience today. Most households have no control of their food at all – they just buy what supermarkets and chain restaurants offer. So are all people who eat food in any institutions that are at least partially funded by governments, such as hospitals, nursery homes, schools, etc. People who buy foods in the mainstream may be living under the illusion of choice, but all the choices are within the same industrialized food proposition. Some people, particularly young ones, don't even know how to prepare the simplest of meals – they can be seen as the new generation of slaves of the industrial food regime.

One cannot be healthy without eating food that gives full nutrition without any toxicity. Such toxicity may come not just from poisonous residues or unhealthy ingredients – even the best ingredients must be properly processed and eaten to give us balanced nutrition. Helping people learn how to cook sustainable, healthy meals at home is the core part of proposed programs. In the Centre we will not attempt to help people learn fancy or new trends in cooking. The programs will cover basics foods with simple natural ingredients. Surprisingly to some, such simple foods may taste best and at the same time can be most nutritious. With traditional sustainable foods there is no contradiction between taste and good nutrition.

Preservation of seasonal foods is a big part of the household food economy. In our climate, most foods only come available in certain seasons, mostly in the fall. Hence, learning what can be sustainably preserved at home is another big part of household foods. This is not just about canning, which may be one of the least healthy methods. Lacto- and other fermentations can be the most healthy methods that can be applied to many foods, particularly vegetables. Also drying, freezing, some pickling, salting and other methods can be done in most homes.

We can also try, particularly over time, to learn more complex processing techniques such as baking our own naturally leavened breads, making sausages and other processed meats that may require increasing level of processing knowledge, preparing cultured diary products such as kefir or yoghurt, making cheeses and butter, etc. The more one can learn and share within one's family and with friends, the more enjoyable it can become and our personal health should be growing along with the increasing food preparation activities. At the Centre we will offer learning programs for beginners but also for those more advanced home food makers. A lot can also be learned from other people through the new food networks that the Centre hopes to stimulate.

To be successful on the path to better health, food must again take the central place in our lives, the place it duly deserves and which it had for past generations across all different cultures. Food industrialization changed that in the last decades under the promises of giving us more free time and relieving us from the drudgery of food preparation. These promises didn't state what we would be losing. That was primarily our health and our family/community relations – a very steep price to pay for the gains offered. The process of preparing food may and should involve the whole family, at least to some extent. We need to renew our fascination and due respect for food and make our celebrations tied to the foods that we value, cherish and make ourselves. That is the foundation of the new sustainable food culture that is necessary to come to life if we hope for any deeper and wider changes of our food system. That cultural shift can only start inside our households, one person, one family at the time.

 

Nourishing Traditions

Nourishing Tradtions. The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. By Sally Fallon 

The River Cottage Cookbook. By Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages. By Stanley Marianski and Adam Marianski. 

The River Cottage Bread Handbook. By Daniel Stevens.

Making Sauerkraut and Pickled Vegetables at Home. BY Klaus Kaufmann and Annelies Schoneck 

 

The Home Creamery. By Kathy Farrell - Kingsley