I've been meaning to do this post for awhile now. For the past year or so I've been trying to heighten my basic understanding of food as well as altering some of my eating habits. Back in early 2009 I started watching the Food Network a lot, because I was in bed so much for sickness, and I got tired of watching stressful, vain, immoral TV. So I started watching people cook a lot and I realized, "Hey, I know next to nothing about food."
So I started reading some books, and trying to cook a little more often. I think that has been my number one goal for the past year or so, to make dinners and cut down on the amount of restaurant food I was eating. I've been trying especially hard since Jane was born, because it's important to me that she has a mom who knows how to cook and does it fairly frequently.
About six months ago, I was introduced to Bountiful Baskets by my sister. It's a food co-op where you go once a week and pick up a produce basket of vegetables and fruit. The food is purchased as locally as possible, or at least regionally (south western US/ a lot from California, and sometimes Mexico), and they support smaller farms. Each basket is $15.00, and their website says the amount of food you get is worth about $50, but when I compare it to Walmart I'd say what I get in each basket is worth about $25 or $30 from the store. So it really does save me some money.
The only drawback is that you don't get to choose what's in your basket. You get what's in season, and there's no warning ahead of time what you will be getting. Some people see this as a real negative, but I absolutely LOVE it. First of all, I love knowing that what I'm eating is in season and not grown on the other side of the world, picked prematurely, and ripened the rest of the way en route with polyurethane gas or whatever they use. Second, it forces me to explore food, try new things, and most importantly, learn how to cook it! A few examples of foods that I would have NEVER bought at the store, but received in my baskets and learned how to cook are: brussels sprouts, green beans, figs, blackberries, coconuts, baby bok choy, fennel, and many more.
The third reason that I love doing this is that it gives me SO MANY fruits and vegetables each week, I am forced to eat them. Rough, I know. But seriously, vegetables were not a huge part of my diet before this. But I get so many each week, and I really hate wasting things, that I try very hard to consume everything before I pick up the next week's basket.
I've been doing this almost every week since April, and it quickly became the highlight of my week. I took a few photos of what I brought home on a few occasions. Each photo is represents a different week:
Check out that sweet corn in the last couple of photos. Man, just looking at that stuff makes my mouth water. The things I get almost weekly are romaine lettuce and bananas, but they usually have six or seven fruits and six or seven vegetables.
So, for instance, today I picked up my basket, and I got a head of romaine lettuce, two heads of what are either iceberg lettuce or cabbage, and I have no idea which, celery, tomatoes, yams, prunes, nectarines, bananas, strawberries, grapes, green bell peppers, and this:
It's my MYSTERY MELON!
They said it was a watermelon, but check out what it looks like inside:
That's no watermelon, my friends. It tastes like honeydew. Any experts out there?
I plan on doing more posts in the future about other things I'm trying to do to change my food habits and learn more about food in general. If you're interested in some recipes that I've discovered with my new food loves, you can see what I've done with green beans here, or blackberries here.