10 June 2010

Welcome to the kitchen revolution

Back in the day, before the invention of supermarkets, most of our food was unpackaged and much of it was fresh.  I remember a time when there were little grocery shops on suburban corners which sold a wide variety of food.  We'd go there, the shop owner knew us by our first name, and we would buy just a small amount of food that we would eat that day.  Many of the people who shopped at these little stores also had a vegetable patch at home so tomatoes, potatoes, salads and green leaves were grown and eaten fresh from the backyard garden.

When we bought meat, it wasn't an unidentifiable slice of flesh on a polystyrene tray covered with plastic wrap that was plucked from a refrigerated open case.  We walked into butcher shops onto a floor that was covered with saw dust that contained a few drops of blood fallen from the carcasses hanging in plain view in the shop.  We recognised the animal our meat came from, we knew how the animal was cut up and we knew our pork, beef, lamb and chicken cuts.  I still buy meat from a butcher who buys local meat carcasses that hang in the store in full view.  I wouldn't buy anything from a butcher who buys meat in boxes and vacuum packs - that food has been processed in an unseen location.  Choice has been taken away from me.

Take back control of what you eat.  YOU be the person who chooses every part of your meal - stop buying fast food or convenience.  These foods take away that choice - if someone else is cooking your food then someone else is making important decisions that you should be making.

I really love the advice given by Michael Pollin and I heartily agree with it:
  • Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognise as food.
  • Shop are the farmers' or growers' market - it's all fresh food straight from the grower.
  • Stay out of the middle of the supermarket - meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables are all on the outside aisle of every supermarket.  The processed stuff is in the centre.

It's quite a complicated process to unwind yourself from supermarket shopping.  Buying all your processed and pre-made favourites makes shopping a breeze - you know what you want, you don't have to think about ingredients, you buy and off you go.  But as you're unwinding yourself from the quagmire of supermarket food you should be reading labels, cutting out anything that has preservatives, artificial colourings and flavourings and buying food that is as unprocessed  and fresh as possible.  For instance, you'd think that buying oats for your porridge would be easy and straight forward.  Nope!  Rolled oats or oatmeal have been processed - or rolled and steamed to make them easier to cook.  That is acceptable to me, but quick oats aren't.  They've been further processed and if you apply the great grandma rule, you'd steer clear of quick oats but keep eating rolled oats.

Of course, all this depends on time and inclination.  If you're working outside the home, you might not be able to make your own bread every day, but if you bought a bread machine and set it to have the bread ready when you wake up, you're fine.  If you're someone who works in your home you might be prepared to make tomato sauce but are you going to make tomato paste?  It's all a question of time and whether you want to do it.  The reason you pay so much for processed food is that you're paying for someone else's time and energy to prepare the ingredients or an entire meal for you.

I tend to go with what I know.  I make similar meals to those I had when I was a child.  I change things around at times, I substitute ingredients that I don't have on hand, but basically it's similar food.  We eat butter not margarine, full cream  not low fat, sugar or honey not sweeteners.  If you're still buying lots of snack foods or prepared foods, stop buying them and replace them with home baking.  If you can afford organic ingredients for your baking, that's great. If you can't, it's still much better than the supermarket versions of that food.

If you're not a cook now, I want to encourage you to learn how to cook good, simple food. And when I say 'cook' I mean a wide variety of uncooked food as well, like salads and good dressings. If you are cooking, I encourage you to go back to basics, get rid of processed food and regain the choice of what you eat.  Part of the process of cooking should be learning how to select good food and for some, to start growing it as well.  Nothing will teach you more about fruit and vegetables than growing them yourself.

I am happy to share more recipes and to write about the process of cooking.  If you need help, ask.  We might be able to get a few  more people cooking at home.  This is part of the revolution was was writing about here.  This is important and empowering. Welcome to the revolution!



  1. Hi, Rhonda. I was looking forward to this post, and you have not failed to deliver, as usual. ;-) Very enjoyable and thought provoking. Thanks also for the links and have a good day,
    Tracy (Brisbane)

  2. I think Michael Pollen is brilliant. Great post. I am weaning myself and my family off of packaged foods. It's so much easier to peruse our garden and figure out what's for dinner that way!


  3. I'm going to have my dad read this. I made homemade bread finally...in a bread maker, but still homemade nonetheless :) :) It had a total of seven ingredients...all of which I could pronounce :) :) I'm working on slowly making everything at home.

    Thanks for sharing this. I can remember my grandmother sharing stories of going to different little shops for food etc...Then again, she also cooked just about everything at home...and NEVER allowed fried food of any kind in her home...store bought or done at home...no way :) :) :)

    Michael Pollan is great. I saw him interview on tv awhile back. He also had another great quote which is important "Don't eat something with ingredients that a third grader can't prounounce"...true words :) :)

    Have a lovely week, Rhonda.
    Greetings from Oregon, Heather :)

  4. In my case its quite small steps to eating better and taking control. My partner and I have always loved ordering pizza on a Friday night from our local Godfather pizza house. It taste nice but two pizza's and garlic bread are really expensive (£15.00). Now on a fridaY, I get home from work have a brew, take the dog out then come back to make fresh pizza dough from scratch. Although I don't often make the passata but the chilly topping comes from my lovely chilli plant that I've had about a year and a half. What a prolific plant, so worth the effort of growing. It makes me laugh when people say... You make your own dough, really... like its rocket science

  5. Re: Processed meat. I took processed (i.e. I don't know where it comes from or what process it took to get to me) meat out of my diet completely about a year ago. I've been eating only grassfed, pastured meat and eggs since then and cannot describe the positive difference it has made to my health and immune system. Without all those hormones, antibiotics, excrement, and heaven knows what else in my meat, but just clean healthy meat from happy animals eating what they're built to eat,and butchered right on the farm, my body is much happier and healthier, and my mind is at ease too. This kind of meat is much more expensive in the U.S., so I eat meat only about once a week, but it's quality and it's worth it to me.

  6. This is such a good post, a topic that has been discussed frequently in our home as of late.
    We wholeheartedly agree w/ shopping at local markets or growing it yourself...the question was asked, "Why do we shop at major stores and buy packaged food?" For us, it was because of not planning ahead of time and "impulse" buying...but when time is managed, we're able to know exactly when and where to purchase organic, instead of 'making a quick stop by the grocery to pick up ____'.
    For my family, having fresh veggies/fruit to munch on while in the car (carrots/celery/apples etc) or homemade snacks has been the answer to avoiding fast food.


  7. For those who like me are always reading the label on products there is a great little book I found called 'Read the Label' by Judy Davie. It is a comprehensive guide for Australian shoppers and she explains how to interpret the lists of ingredients and know the various aliases used for the additives that people know are bad such as MSG. It is very informative. She says that if you were to visit a meat processing plant you would be unlikely to ever eat processed meat again!
    We cut out all products with artificial ingredients quite some time ago along with all the processed meats such as ham, bacon and salami. I think people believe because they are buying them at the deli they are 'real' ingredients but they are just as processed as those in the plastic vacuum pack! Most people I know think we are slightly strange when we say we do not buy the sausage sandwiches from fund raising stalls. Same thing with margarine which we stopped using about 12 years ago but people are convinced that 'marg' must be better for you because it is polyunsaturated and a 'plant spread'. There are still a few processed items I find useful to have in the pantry or fridge such as curry paste.Once I find a brand that is additive free I make that my preferential item. Some products are hard to find without preservative - coconut for example, so I buy organic and use it less often. Non-sulphured apricots though are a pantry staple. Chop a few up finely and add to scones and you use less sugar!
    We have joined the kitchen revolution and each step further on the journey has brought benefits. I was without my flour mill for 3 weeks when it was being repaired and had to buy refined flour(organic) which was 3 times the price of wheat grain In that time most of my children came down with colds - I am now convinced that the less refined the better.
    Great post Rhonda - hope it encourages more people to get on board and return to cooking with real ingredients.

  8. I am trying to switch to cooking from scratch so enjoyed this post, a minor point that I don't understand is the distinction between rolled and quick oats. From http://homecooking.about.com/od/howtocookvegetables/a/oatmealtypes.htm:

    "Rolled Oats: Oat groats that are steamed, pressed with a roller, then dried. Rolled oats are also known as old-fashioned oats. These will take about 15 minutes to cook.

    Quick-cooking oats: Rolled oats have been cut into smaller pieces and rolled thinner, thus they cook more quickly (about 5 minutes). Instant oatmeal: Oatmeal that has been pre-cooked and dried. These days, instant oatmeal usually comes with flavor additives. Do not use in place of rolled or quick-cooking oatmeal. "

    I can see the additives in instant oats aren't good but just being chopped finer (quick vs rolled) doesn't seem a big change although I suppose nutrient loss might be faster/higher? Just wondering as since I cook on bottled gas I've been using quick oats to save on fuel.


  9. Clare, thanks for your question and well done for learning to cook from scratch. The continued processing of quick oats removes a lot of the nutrition. That is the pitfall of much of the convenience food. It appears to be the same but it's not.

    To cut down the time you need to cook oats, simply soak rolled oats in water or milk overnight, then cook the oats in the same water or milk as usual. In the old days we used to always soak our oats overnight. It was common practice. Please read this, it explains why:

  10. i went on a naturopathic diet for a while to cleanse myself. i couldn't have wheat, dairy and sugar. basically i couldn't have anything that was processed because nearly everything you buy in a jar or packet has sugar in it. it's been a great experience and i'm back eating whatever i like, but i'm more aware of what i use now because i believe if you have to have sugar, it's better to have a piece of cake or a biscuit than have it in your jars of sauces. this diet has also improved my cooking - so it's been a blessing all round! and i have to say that there is nothing more satisfying for me than going to the garden and getting fresh veggies and fresh eggs from my very happy chickens :)

  11. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I'm almost embarrased to ask this, as I do cook mostly for my family from scratch using our own vegetables etc, but I have never learned how to make soup from scratch. Just the real basics of it. So many people I know whip up soup in a matter of minutes and seem to have heaps left over. When I make soup, scrutinising a recipe while I do it, it takes me ages to prepare, and we always eat it up in the first meal. It's just something I never learned to do properly. Like how do you make a good vege soup - how much water do you add, stock, split peas, etc? I would really like to learn how to make it, as I think it would save us a bit of money and my family do enjoy soup nights (when other people have cooked it), or I've gone to some effort to do it for us.
    Anyway, maybe it's a bit basic for your readers, but I would love it if you did a tutorial or posting on the basics of how to make soup.
    Hope you're having a good day. It's sunny over here, but cold!
    Rachel L from NZ

  12. I came to your blog from Margy's at Powell River books.She and I have met for coffee and a goodie at our local bakery they make every thing fresh there.
    I really enjoy your blog. I try to eat healthy food. I don't like to go out to eat. I like home cooking.
    I will visit you again.

  13. Hello everyone!

    Rachel, it's a great question. There are quick soups and slow soups, I'll share some recipes for both and I'll do a soup tutorial later in the week.

  14. Good morning Rhonda, I hear you and I am up on the bandwagon with you. What irks me most with packaged food is where it says "all natural ingredients" and then you read the ingredient list and can't pronounce half the words. Some people don't understand that the natural ingredients are torn apart, processed and then rebuilt. And why oh why must food be fortified with vitamin D, iron etc. If it needs to be fortified it isn't much good in the first place.
    I don't see too many ads these days but how about those little pots of yoghurt milk which are meant to replace 47 tubs of yoghurt? Aaaah.
    Stepping off my soap box...

  15. I couldn't agree more Rhonda, I have read 4 of Michael Pollen's books and they certainly change the way you think about food. Avoiding supermarkets, shopping at farmer's markets, growing as much as possible, only eating grass fed meat and cooking from scratch are so important. I think all the highly processed low fat and low sugar foods are exacerbating the problem of obesity and ill health. Beating unsalted butter with good olive oil is tasty healthy and spreadable. I am horrified by the ingredients in bought bread and think it could contribute to the rise in glucose intolerance. Your blog is so inspiring and I really enjoyed your interview with Richard Aedy on Life Matters.
    Helen (Brisbane)

  16. I love every bit of this advice. Steel cut oats are excellent, and just as quick to cook as rolled oats if you soak them overnight.

  17. Michael Pollen was/is so huge for the food world. His books really opened eyes that were completely ignorant about their food.
    Nice post! I totally agree with everything you have said and I am striving to do all I can to make sure that my family knows where our food comes from.
    I feel like it's insanly important in this day..almost like life or death to know how to be self sufficient.

  18. This is what I strive for in my kitchen, unprocessed, homemade food.

    These are the memories I have of my childhood growing up on the farm, raising animals for meat and a garden for vegetables.

    Even though we do not live on a farm we do have the garden and can, freeze or dehydrate vegetables and we buy local meat from farmers we know.

    I work fulltime, it can be done. Thank you for the encouragement to continue.


  19. I remember the local grocer and butcher from my childhood. Flour, salt, rice and similar lines were scooped out of a big sack and put into a brown paper bag and weighed. We used to walk to the shop each day and once a month, Mum would go into "The City Supermarket" which was always a mystery because she used to do it while we were at school.

    The local butcher used to cut the meat as you asked for it and I remember how he used to brandish a huge knife about, asking us children whether we wanted our fingernails trimmed! Used to scare the living suitcase out of me! Later, we used to gather papers and sell them to the butcher to wrap the meat in and looking back, I can't help but wonder how much of that paper he actually used or whether it was just his way of giving the neighbourhood kids a few pennies to spend. What lovely memories you have brought back!

    And just quickly on the note of home cooking, I truly believe that one of the greatest losses to our society was when schools took away compulsory cooking lessons. Have to go now and wash up the bowl I had my rolled oats in!

  20. I have been reading your blog for quite a while now but don't think I've commented before. In the last two years, I have had a stronger desire to learn more homemaking skills and go back to basics. I still have a long way to go, but I find your posts very inspiring and educational. Thanks for being so generous with your gifts and knowledge.

  21. Great post! I work full-time outside of the home, but its important to me to cook our meals using simple, whole ingredients. I shop our local farmers market for grass-fed & pastured meats and eggs and organically grown fruits and veggies. We've also got a small garden going in our backyard.

    Mary Ellen

  22. Hi Rhonda, I agree and loved the post ,so true, it sad that so few young people seem to know how to cook from scratch.I have one thing to ask or add.The slow cooked food in my cast iron glazed pot taste better than any other of the post ,makes beautiful gravy too.Why?Or is it just beacause I like my pot?

  23. Rhonda! I loved your words and encouragement! I hope many heed them! My inlaws own their own meat market...so I know where all my meat comes from and I am so happy for that! I can't imagine it any other way! I,too, make my own bread for our family! :) Canning food is a wonderful way to have lots of food, all year long! I am praying that more people wake up to this, the *best* way of cooking/eating! :)
    I hope you are having a lovely week!

  24. I'm laughing so hard right now, my belly hurts.

    So, I've been craving vanilla pudding all evening. (I'm entitled to cravings, being pregnant & all...)

    I decided to go check out my blogroll to get distracted from my cravings...

    ... and each & every blog has a food theme it seems.

    So now, I'm imagining my vanilla pudding with rhubarb sauce & raspberry scones.

    This is NOT fair! :-)

    Now, after reading your blog, I'm craving a chocolate chip cookie to go with all of it...

    Well, on to the next blog.

    Wonder what's on their menu. :-)

    Much love,

  25. It really feeds my soul when I look over the table and every scrap of food I have made from scratch. Its so satisfying. The more people talk about it, the more others will be encouraged to make things for them selves.
    I have recently made my own sourdough starter, and it's great not to have to rely on commercial yeast any longer let alone shop bought bread with 50 ingredients in it. With all the money we have saved from that lets us spend more on things like free range ham, organic meats and locally made cheeses.
    I really really hope more people jump on the bandwagon, as they realise it just tastes so much better than bought stuff.

  26. I'd disagree on buying fruit & vegetables from the supermarket at all, because IME they are lower quality, higher priced and keep noticeably worse than those bought at a proper greengrocer!
    What amazes me are how useless some of those supermarket products are. I was recently given a freebie packet of Masterfoods Creamy Herb and Garlic Potato Bake. You had to supply the potato, onion cream and cheese yourself. Um... that's what potato bake is made from in the recipes I've read! So you can pay $2 for basically nothing! Insane!

  27. Beats me why people want to eat so much processed food....but, when you look at ads on television that discourage the drinking of full cream milk, and show a mound of butter that your child eats, just on toast each morning as 'bad' I can see how mothers these days are confused with choices...and probably see packaged as having the choice made for them.
    Great advice Rhonda, do with what you grew up with...I do for my three possums, we grow vegies, we have chooks, we eat butter ( mind you it is the MOST expensive spread in the isle, why is that??????????) We drink FULL cream milk, shock horror!!! and I make most of our meals each night and lunch box snacks from scratch when I can...Its not hard, and I think your blog is encouraging and helpful to those who may not realise that some of these steps , only small, but are so worthwhile, thank you Rhonda, Suzanne.

  28. Just a question, I would love to convert to butter from marg. However, I find butter just rips my bread into pieces when I spread it??? I was told to leave it in a small container in the cupboard, not fridge, but then in Summer it goes too soft? Please help me anyone! How do you store and use your butter for bread? Thank you - sorry if this simple question has you shaking your heads :/ From Cassie

  29. Just taking a break from making wholemeal bread. I have made my own for 35 years just using a Kenwood Chef and a traditional oven. Although now retired I still made all through my working life as well. I make a batch of 6-15 loaves and freeze them. We always have fresh bread. And guess what is the most popular meal at our house fresh bread and homemade pate.
    Through all the years when it was unfashionable we grew our own vegetables even in an urban garden they taste sooooo good. The potatoes are now growing well and we are drooling at the thought of the first ones in a couple of weeks time with a drizzle of butter over them and a bit of chopped chives or parsley..
    We don't eat much meat as we have plenty of veggies but I need to make more effort on that side of things
    Keep up the good work on the blog I love reading it

  30. Hi Rhonda. We transitioned to butter about 12 months ago, after realising that the packaging was vastly reduced for butter, and thinking for years that the supposed health benefits of margarine are being found to be untrue (trans-fats which make the naturally liquid fats remain solid are probably worse than saturated fat). We've recently started trying to get to the farmers markets more regularly, and I have always hated buying meat and fruit & veg from the supermarket! The quality is generally poor, even if you ignore that it's overpackaged and overprocessed!

    Anyway, I agree :-) I would love to bake more, but one step at a time. I'll get there eventually!

  31. Hi Rhonda, a very timely post as we also have converted to this way of eating in the last few years and I love hearing about others doing the same. If I can comment on Cassie's comment about butter, Cassie when I use butter as a spread I get a 250g packet of butter and blend it up in the food processor then mix in enough extra virgin olive oil to make it smooth usually around 1/2 cup, put it in a butter container and keep it in the fridge as you normally would. Hope this helps.


  32. Hi Rhonda, great post as usual. That loaf of bread is amazing looking! For anon with the butter question-try this link for spreadable butter. http://esmaa.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/how-to-have-your-butter-cake-too/
    Karen from CT

  33. Thank you for this post Rhonda. I was only thinking today how much my children complain that they don't get all the typical processed foods that their friends get in their lunchboxes. I never ever buy pre packaged chips, musli bars, etc and my two girls aged 7 and 4 are always complaining. I constantly tell them I am not paying for them because they are expensive and I don't want them to eat food like that with all the preservatives and artificial colours and flavours. They do understand however only today was I thinking I did feel bad they weren't keeping up with their friends.
    Your post has now made me realise why I work so hard to cook from scratch and provide them with a wholesome and healthy lunchbox each day. That fleeting thought that my children were missing out on these foods has now be replaced with a feeling of accomplishment that they will grow up and not craving pre packaged foods.
    I can only hope that they too will pass on their knowledge of foods and avoiding artificial colours, flavours nad preservative foods to their children.

  34. So warmly encouraging, as always. :)

    I've been training my children, especially my "entering the teens with a ravenous appetite" eldest, to make the best choices re: their food.

    We were working outside for a while, so prior to donning the boots, I cut a whole heap of new potatoes into wedges and popped them in the oven to bake. An hour later, we were tucking in to lovely hot 'chips' for afternoon tea ~ much better than store bought biscuits and the like.

  35. Rhonda--Could you post the bread recipe that is in the photo of this post? It looks great and I'd love to make that this weekend. Since there isn't a name near the photo I don't know what it is. Thanks.

  36. Just a question about butter and margarine. Do people that have stopped using margarine use butter for baking? I find my baking is different when I have used butter (sponges denser?) and as I bake for a family of 8 using butter the whole time works out expensive,more than I can manage at the moment.

  37. I really enjoy cooking from scratch, most of the time. And it is, I think, the best of going about feeding ourselves. To add a perspective... I lived in SW China for several years. There, we bought fresh fruit, veggies, meat and all other food items at an outdoor, fresh air market. You knew the animal had been butchered that morning (for pork and beef), and you could pick out your chicken and have them butcher and clean it for you if you wanted. However, we had to deal with lots of dirt and other "uncleanliness"... We had to wash all veggies, fruit and the like in an iodine solution b/c you never knew what was on it. Meat was scary.... you saw the flies on it and no refrigeration. I was very happy to be able to buy my meat from a refrigerated case upon my return. I was also very happy to not fear the parasites that might be living on or in food items, nor fear what bugs I was bringing home in my freshly ground flour. I surely love my fresh food and don't purchase much from the middle of the store... but I like my modern supermarket, too!

    Thanks for your thought provoking posts, Rhonda. Its good to think through my own inclinations to see what I really believe.

  38. Great topic!

    I'd like to share some incredibly valuable educational materials about the topic of our industrial/factory food system from which so much of our food now comes (at least in the USA and many other 1st world countries):

    "The Meat You Eat, How Corporate Farming Has Endangered America's Food Supply" by Ken Midkiff

    The film, "Food, Inc."

    Another author, Wendell Berry, has been writing about the industrialization of our food supply, amont many other related issues, for decades and he has a book out, "Bringing It To the Table" which contains an introduction by Michael Pollan. Pollan admits that Berry's ideas preceded him (Pollan) by decades and was an influence on his own thinking about food policy, but we never listened to Berry and are now paying the price.

    Individuals can take back control over what they eat! Your website is a wonderful contribution to this movement, thank you!


  39. I remember the corner grocery store days and milk delivered to the house. All pleasant thoughts.Time magazine April 12, 2010 has a lengthy article of plastics and what it does to humans.Combine that and the food in the center of the store, chemicals sprays of foods, antibiotics given to animals, why wouldn't we take back and produce our own? Wonderful post as always.


  40. I enjoyed this post. Any recipes or cooking process instructions you could provide would be appreciated. Even simple/uncomplicated meal ideas or meals that freeze/reheat well would be great.

  41. Oh I remember the days fondly too of going to the butcher {we had two in our little town} and to the dairy and also the small grocery store when needed. There were also bakerys. I have heard some in England too mention their butchers and am envious. We have been buying and growing local more now too and rethinking what we do buy. Great inspiring read Rhonda!! Thanks!! Sarah

  42. lindano, I love my cast iron cookware too. I use the enamel coated pots. I have a frying pan and a dutch oven. I think it's so good because it spreads the heat evenly over the entire pan. It also holds heat well so searing meat is a breeze. I make my best casseroles in the cast iron dutch oven. Nothing else comes close to it.

    Hi Melanie, thanks for your comment.

    Cassie, some ladies have given you a tips about blending olive oil with the butter, that works well. I keep my butter in the fridge but get it out for breakfast a couple of hours before we eat, then the butter stays on the bench all day. And no, it doesn't spoil and is fine right down to the last spread.

    Justyce, you're doing the right thing. Never stop, never back down. It's difficult swimming against the tide, but keep going. {{Hugs}}

    Alice, if you search for Bread recipe on my blog you'll find the basic recipes I use. If you can't find them, let me know.

    Kim, try whipping some olive oil into your butter and keep that for cooking. It will give you a lighter result.

  43. I use a butter bell for spreadable butter. It's a little crock you put your butter into, then you add cold water to keep the butter cool, but not so cold that it doesn't spread. It also keeps air out of it. Change the cold water out every couple of days.

    When I quit my job 11 years ago, I discovered cooking. I really do enjoy most of the time, although I do go through periods of hating it since it has to be done every single day. I suspect that the cleanup is the #1 deterrent that people have to cooking at home. I listen to audio books while I work in the kitchen, so I actually look forward to time washing up if it means the next segment in a good story. :-)

    I'm not sure if I've commented before, but I really enjoy reading your blog.

  44. What I have found eye opening is that when I try to stay away from the supermarket how much it cuts down on our portion sizing. When I or we have to make/grow it all it seems to just naturally lead to not eating as much.

  45. Hi rhonda, great post.I am a from scratch cooker most days.I love caring for my family this way.
    I do have some reservations about grower's markets, i want to know are they regulated as far as chemicals are concerned? Who is checking that they are fertilising/spraying at the appropriate time etc.
    Why I say this is, the local olive grower near me, not organic, also has fruit trees and I asked him when was the best time to spray for fruit fly, and he sprayed the flower just as it was turning into the fruit, so the poison was encapsulated *inside* the fruit. So, he is using commercial sprays(which I wouldn't use) and I am totally unsure if his practices are sound! I steer clear of farmers markets so far, until I find answers. I reckon organic, homegrown,or regulated by the industry ie supermarkets, is for me until I know!!!

  46. I'd like to throw a spanner in the works. Love your website Rhonda and have been 'lurking ' for some time. Agree wholeheartedly with the greenie sentiments and the simple life. To me the 'elephant in the room 'is the use of animal products. My daughter was diagnosed with MS a few months ago and I have been on a very steep learning curve since then. Turns out MS is one of the Western degenerative diseases like cardiovascular disorders totally attributable to the consumpion of animal fats ( and a lack of sunshine ie Vitamin D). I am currently reading 'The China Study ' by Colin Campbell and I am convinced that we all need to give up our addiction to dairy and meat and eat a plant based diet. Great for the environment too! Would love to know if there are any vvegetarians / vegans out there who agree ?

  47. Love the blog!! I was at a excursion with my 6yr old daughter and we visited a nearly 200 yr old homestead. Part of the day was spent in the kitchen where we were told how they use to collect the vegies and fruit from the garden and use eggs and meat they had grown themselves and how so much had changed. I was waiting for my daughter to pipe up with 'we do all that now!!' but she told me later she didn't want to be rude. I love that our farm life, in part, is like they use live.

  48. I'm a Michael pollan fan too - but I think he has one thing wrong. One of his food rules in his new book is 'eat all the junk food you wnat so long as you make it from scratch'. That's what got me into this mess in the first place:)

  49. Hi Rhonda;

    Thank you for another great post!

    My challenge is to come up with simple foods that I can cook from scratch and feed to the kids (they are under 4yrs of age) and my partner (whom luckily eats pretty much anything!). I run out of ideas or think that I should cook and provide lots of variety all the time.

    Are there books or recipes that you recommend using to start the cooking-from-scratch process with?
    Do you have lots of different recipes or cook with the seasons?

    Where do people find the time to cook from scratch on a daily?! I would like to be better organised to do this - do you use a menu plan? have certain things in the pantry constantly?

    Thanks again!
    M (Perth WA)

  50. Hi Rhonda,
    i have given you an award..please check it out my blog!
    You continue to inspire!!
    Have a great day,Donna

  51. I don't eat mostly what I ate as a child, because I live in a completely different climate and what I ate then simply isn't available, nor sustainable, without being trucked in hundreds or thousands of miles. I do look to places with similar climates to my own, buy as locally as I can get it, and prepare meals that reflect the realities of the hot, dry climate we now live in. Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean meals are the 'meat and potatoes' of our house now. And it helps that I can grow the majority of the produce that those meals require, along with much of the spices.

    We also eat much less meat that we did when I was growing up.

    So, we don't eat stuff my great grandmother would recognize, but *somebody's* great grandmother would :)

  52. I have just borrowed a breadmaker from a fried who does not use it. I made my first wholemeal loaf a couple of days ago, and I have another loaf baking right now.

    I may never return to a supermarket bought loaf again!

  53. Hi Rhonda,

    I stumbled across your site trying to trackdown food blogs based in Queensland where I now live.

    I totally agree with your thought processes, especially with a need to get back to cooking from scratch.

    I myself am doing everything I can to build up a knowledge base so that when I have children I can pass it onto them. Which you can see from my blog http://www.breadandsniffit.com.

    I will definitely be back for more, because what will we do when our grandmother's generation isn't here to show us what real food should be like.


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