Food, an inspiration
There’s no ‘about Rochelle’ if there’s no food inspiration. Because for me, food is my inspiration. Food is the center soul in most of our lives, at least in my life. We grow up with it, form memories with it, and tend to pass “it” on to the next generation. Yes, it’s a huge part of our existence.
Subsequently, it has become a personal goal of mine to become a food advocate. That is to say the important job of passing knowledge and culture of food to my children is being honored. The results are young children being exposed to the order of food which simply is, “Garden to table”.
The struggles with kids eating balanced meals diminishes. The fight with kids eating their vegetables is almost extinct. Feeding kids a bland neutral processed food option no longer exists. Nothing but good, positive results comes from involving your kids in the kitchen. Invite and expect your kids to cook in the kitchen, to help and participate in the vegetable garden, or to participate in setting a table. Involving kids in every aspect of food prep is a golden gift. Simple as it may seem, this all translates to diversity. Like, same, uniform, identical, are all words we’ve grown up to identify with. Diversity is the opposite here, and a word we should all learn from. In this case, diversity stems from someone stepping out of the box of ‘normal’ and pushing for more, and greater options.
However all is well does not always end well. Traditions of food are under attack. Corporate food, fast food and cheap processed food have all been working for over a half century to change our ancestral roots with food. As a result, there has been a huge divide between the source of food (where/how we grow combined with season) and it’s user, “us”. It’s not unusual today to find our children totally detached from food. Do kids really think vegetables originate from a grocery store shelf? Do they really think cakes come from a box? Or that chocolate is really milky soft brown or even white! Yes, I’m afraid they do, and that’s because we believe that too.
Find a local farm
When we lived on our organic farm in California, our farmer would host “you-pick’s”. Such events hosted by the farmer to come out and pick fresh. Attendees were mostly city dwellers (San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, etc..) flocking to the farm fields with kids in tow. They would arrive early with all their sun gear on, and leave well into the late afternoon. The result: kids were calmer, the parents were calmer, and the kids received a huge lesson on where our food comes from. Many pickers would pick crate-fulls of tomatoes to go home and spend the rest of the weekend canning! It was great to see.
Find your inspiration
I think the important thing to remember is, that we all need inspiration. Find a person, a place, a thing that draws huge inspiration to your lives. In my case, my inspiration drew from a lovely woman named Alice Waters. Our farmer passed the name by me once and from there I was hooked. If you don’t know Alice Waters, she is huge in the food world, and has a wonderful restaurant in Berkley. But most importantly she introduced vegetable gardening to inner-city schools by launching the Edible Schoolyard garden projects.
Many years ago, I happened to have the opportunity to reactivate a school garden program that had been left to the weeds. The infrastructure at our children’s school was luckily in place. All was needed was guidance and planning. If anything, the end result of this garden project was not about the volume of vegetables it would produce, but it was about forging a bond between us and nature. Our successes and failures were all huge learning curves for the entire school (parents and kids) to endure. As a result, it was the most powerful tool we had in bringing the school together as one community.
The idea from Alice Waters to push such an elementary idea was genius, and it continues to thrive in cities and states across the U.S. If this site can do one thing for you, I hope it is to encourage you to be your own and best individual that you can.
Our kids look to us for the best nutrition, love and safety. We’ve so comfortably handed over those roles to the corporations that are dying to run us. Get out and start your own garden, become a part of a gardening co-op. Get in to composting or starting a worm farm, or erecting an insect house. Do whatever it takes to make sure your kids hands get dirty from being in the garden. Prepare a family meal together, and oh yea, fight with all your might to re-establish the forgotten “family meal”.
Fresh cooked meals
In conclusion, what Julia Child began in the mid 1900’s, we can for sure continue. I’ve watched her old food shows from PBS, and it’s just amazing how apologetic she is when she’s cooking vegetables. I know she was transitioning from her French years, to trying to appeal to the mid-century American households. It seems vegetables were a stigma. They were either cooked to the point of baby food, or they were heavily sauced so that the actual taste of the vegetable was hidden. I can say that we’ve come a long way in 70 years.
Julia was the pioneer for home, fresh cooked meals for many American households. Now, with so many celebrity chef’s, we have our fare share and fare amounts of inspiration to be found. Just remember-our vegetables are simple, they grow in rather meager settings. They require only a little bit of work from beginning to end. There’s nothing more rewarding than sitting down to a meal not only prepared by yourself or your family, but grown by yourself.