Editor’s Note: You’ve met Erika T, Britin F, and Jillian E. To rap up this “new-contributor-meet-n-greet” is Christine H from Unspeakable Visions. She will be joining us as our token 20-something non-mom foodie (score!) We were dying for a slightly larger spectrum of viewpoints, and Christine’s humor, wit, D.I.Y. knowledge, urban design sense and social justice policy bent (and current non-mom foodie lifestyle) is a most perfect fit for FSC. Welcome Christine! -Christina
Hello lovely readers! My name is Christine and I’m here representing the non-mom foodie population. I’d also like to give a shout-out to the tiny urban apartment-dwellers, the 20-somethings, those with a hyperactive sweet tooth, the unapologetic bookworms and the slow-but-steady runners out there. What up!?
From nine-to-five, I work in the non-profit world of affordable housing and community development. I am committed to building vibrant communities that are connected to healthy, sustainable food sources and I think From Scratch Club is the perfect place to figure out how to do it. My boyfriend and I live in downtown Albany on the cozy third floor of a historic brownstone. We get by with a miniature stove, 16 sq. ft. of walkable kitchen floor space, less than 2 sq. ft. of counter space and without a single kitchen drawer, but we are luckier than a lot of people out there and we always have bellies full of great food. Last Halloween, we dressed up as organic veggies (it’s true, ask me about it). I write about my efforts to create meaningful traditions and experiences as part of the handmade, homegrown movement over at Unspeakable Visions.
Small-space cooking? We’ve got that down. I’ve also made a few brave attempts at urban gardening: tiny pots of herbs and salad veggies resting precariously on our window ledge and a terrifically unsuccessful attempt at growing tomatoes in a Topsy-Turvy on the back of our bathroom door. In the absence of our own productive acreage, we’ve signed up for our first CSA this season and I am beyond excited to receive a delivery of fresh produce and eggs every week. After my delicious experience as a member of a community-supported bakery this year, I’m looking forward to continuing to invest in quality local food suppliers.
I’m of the opinion that a revival of home cooking would go a long way towards repairing our broken food system. Once you start cooking your own meals, you start looking more closely at your ingredients and where they come from. You start relying less on heavily-processed, pre-packaged foods and begin to realize that you can conjure up delicious and decadent meals from scratch. After you’ve been cooking awhile, you become a bit more adventurous and start exploring weirdo ingredients like rutabagas, broccoli rabe and nutritional yeast (don’t knock it ’til you try it). In fact, you might even realize that you can build complete and satisfying meals without the standard fall-back of a meaty main dish.
To quote Mark Bittman…
By becoming a cook, you can leave processed foods behind, creating more healthful, less expensive and better-tasting food that requires less energy, water and land per calorie and reduces our carbon footprint. Not a bad result for us — or the planet.
For me, it was a simple transition: I liked food, so I learned how to cook it. I wanted to be healthy, so I gave vegetables a shot and concentrated on whole foods. The earth is a nice place to live and I’d like it to be around for future generations, so I began thinking more about where my food comes from, how it is produced, and its impact on the environment. And I’m a policy wonk by training, so I also got to wondering about the role that food plays in community development, the quest for social justice and in the frameworks of equality. Healthy, natural food choices shouldn’t be the exclusive domain of the upper-class; they should be available to people in every neighborhood and of every background. I’m so excited to be part of this community of outspoken women that cook awesome food for themselves and their families. I look forward to joining in the conversation and becoming part of the growing movement of food consciousness in our area.