Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tips for increasing your variety of foods.

In todays news it is stated that the British housewife only use 9 different meals to feed her family. Now apart from the sexism that it is the women who cooks the meals got me thinking about what we eat. I was asked by a good friend the other day what is our typical dinner. He said he cooks some chicken thing and listed of a couple of recipes that he cooks, so what were my/our recipes. I really struggled to answer this question. We do not have a collection of recipes that we regularly eat. Without trying we have quite a large variety of food/meals.

Let me say that our diet has significant gaps, the one we are currently workings on is quick dinners. Often come dinner time neither Tiffany of me feel like cooking. So we through some nutritionally poor meal together like cheese toasties, 2 minute noodles or some pasta (our kids love pasta), and at worse case some takeaway food. This would happen about 2 types a week - so we have food issues! However lack of variety is not one.

So thinking about why we have a wide variety of foods I come up with this list:
  • Local in season fruit. Most of our fruit intake comes from locally sourced fruit trees. This is because we love fruit and buying 10kg of fruit at the supermarket is not going to happen. This means when cooking we will change pudding dishes with season. Traditional puddings are a rarity. However like tonight we had grapefruit for pudding. When apples are in season we have lots of baked and crumble apple based desert etc 
  • Home grown vege's. We do purchase a large amount of vege's from the shop. However when ever it is my turn to cook I go for a wonder through the vege patches and figure out what we could have. We only have cabbage/cauliflower etc over cooler months so don't have problems with caterpillars. So at the moment we are having cauliflower, cabbage and broad beans (there nice young, if get old and leathery we don't eat them!). Thus we are always changing the vege's we have. 
  • Home grown fruit. As time goes on we will have more home grown fruit.... at the moment we have wild strawberries and typical strawberries. So we have had fresh berries once / twice a week. Soon other fruits will be coming into season as the years go by and the planted trees start producing. 
  • Purchase meat on special. We tend to purchase meats that are on special. This means that we have a variety. This forces us to try different things. For example we have had lots of salmon since moving to Huntly as this is regularly on special at our local supermarket. We also have adventures when friends and acquaintances have home kill. For example we have some mutton in the freezer along with turkey breasts. Had a friend who shot turkeys as they are a pest on the local farms. So what do you do with 90 turkey breasts that you have collected in a day?! Give them away. 
  • Lastly I do like variety. I am into new stuff, so when I cook I often at the internet for a new recipe. Fortunately Tiffany doesn't mind when the innovations don't turn out as expected. (Once I made a chilli with tablespoons instead of tea spoons of chilli. tsp and tb look really similar to a dyslexic) 
So after reflection it is the habits that we had developed, more to do with having fresh food on a small budget, than consciously cultivating a culture of new and different foods.

Hopefully you can adopt one or more of these ideas into your families food.I am told that farmers markets are a great way to get good value fresh local in season produce. We don't really have a local farmers market so I wouldn't know.

No comments:

Post a Comment