Saturday, July 27, 2013

A brief history of why we eat the way we do.....

I have to feed two boys, a husband, myself, and a dog every day.  More than once.  And as much as I give them, they tend to keep coming back.   (Sort of like the alligator that my father in law threw a chicken neck to - to make him go away - it didn't work....)

Back when Michael and I first got married, we ate very well, though there was not what I would call a movement around what we did.  We loved the weird, healthy stuff, like tabouli and couscous.   Michael had lived in Japan after college and had gotten used to eating unusual dishes, fresh from wherever.  My Dad had made the odd things for me growing up while my Mom taught me how to make the more traditional, practical dishes for day to day family cooking.  So Michael and I always ate well, no matter which one of us fixed the food.

Another element to our food choices has always been that Michael has type 1 diabetes, and his mother read lots and lots of labels and measured lots and lots of food to make sure her baby boy grew up well.  So when we got serious, she did too, making sure I knew what Michael needed .... and what he did not need.   The Japanese diet he ate while overseas was actually a great one all around.  Good for him, yummy for me.  We tended to fall back on fish and rice and greens a lot early on.  When there have been times in our marriage where his diet has needed adjustments, it has thrown me into a tail spin for at least three weeks.  I have to go back to reading labels, which makes grocery trips long ordeals, until I settle into our new routine.  Honestly, I cannot remember really reading a food label - ever - until I had to cook for Michael.

Early in our marriage our first boy came along.  I made his baby food from scratch out of leftovers because it seemed like the thing to do.  My friends called me hippie.  When our second child came along, I did the same thing.  Between both boys, they have eaten exactly one jar of baby food.  It was at Jeannie Simmon's house in Aiken.  It was organic and orange colored. I do not know why my brain has chosen to use up space remembering this.  She had it left over because her kids hated it.  Mine didn't know better.

Shortly after the second child, I developed gastroparesis and I was sick.  For a year and a half.  Our hippie food gave way to whatever I could boil quickly to get the people fed.  End of story.

When I was finally well, what I could digest had changed dramatically and it did not match Michael's diabetes and that made every meal complicated.  We handled it okay for awhile, but it was at this time I began paying closer attention to the details on all those pesky little labels....not the sodium content or the grams of sugar, but the actual ingredients.

So here we are....six years later..... we eat whole foods, together, and we can all handle them.  I digest them.  Michael controls sugars with them.  The kids eat them.  They make sense and they have brought our family back on common ground.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Peach Jam Recipe

I am going to make peach jam.  I have to make peach jam.  I have peaches still frozen from last year in the freezer, freshly picked peaches in the refrigerator, and no chicken broth.  I need to cook a chicken so that I can make my own stock.  But I don't have room in the freezer to store the stock because I have been collecting and freezing freshly picked fruit like any good foodie hoarder would do living five minutes from a plethora of  pick your own farms.

So to make room for chicken stock, I must make peach jam.

And because I am not completely staisfied with any recipes I see, I am going to make up my own.

Two, actually.

Small batches, maybe.  Maybe not.

These are the ingredients I am going to experiment with in large batch measurements, though I may halve these if I feel eight to ten jars of rosemary compote could be a bit excessive.  Foodie hoarders, be proud.

10 to 11 cups of chopped peaches - The ones in my freezer still have skins, so I am going to use those for this particular batch, but skinning peaches is always a move in the positive direction.

6 cups organic, raw sugar

Two liquid packets or one box of liquid pectin - No judging, you whole food organic critics.  I like to use my liquid pectin.

One lemon, juiced and zested

A good, healthy bunch of fresh rosemary twigs off the little plant on my front porch.

Cook down everything.  Then add the pectin.  Boil/ simmer for another fifteen minutes. - I read that you can add up to a half teaspoon of butter to reduce foaming, and I might try it if I remember.  Add that before the pectin.

Put the whole cooked yumminess in your jars, stick a lid and screw on 'em, and boil the jars for fifteen minutes.  I am sure the CDC would love it if I boiled them for twenty minutes, but I have never found it to be necessary to go that long.

For the second batch, I will do everything the same, but I will use half brown sugar, take out the rosemary and lemon and throw in a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a tiny half teaspoon of vanilla.


I'll let you know how this goes...

I am thinking the first recipe for meat and salmon, and the second for breakfast.

Wish me luck!