For those who know me well, Thursday is my day of devotion. Devoted that is to stocking up on fresh food and making something particularly yummy for dinner. It begins with a visit to the organic stalls at Vic Market and ends with some pottering in the kitchen. There are some perks to being self-employed and having a day off mid-week to catch up with domestic duties is one of them. Though I still made the pilgrimage during full time work, leaping out of bed early on Saturday mornings whenever it was my turn to do the weekly market run. There’s a certain camaraderie amongst those weekend shoppers especially the early birds, which I’ve never encountered in a supermarket.
Today I stocked up on autumnal fruit and vegetables. Amongst the goodies I bought home were deep green cavolo nero, locally grown Dutch cream potatoes, lots of different alliums (onions, spring onions, shallots and leeks) to ward off winter ills, a mountain of mandarins, crispy royal gala apples, golden kiwis and passionfruit. The later are added to my breakfast of rolled oats soaked in soymilk, served with some ground almonds and Tasmanian walnuts (they are mind-blowingly good right now if you can get them).
Speaking of seasonal food, I revisited a post from two years ago from my archives to share on twitter today. If you would like to explore what produce is freshest in Melbourne at the moment check it out. There’s also a swag of good ideas on what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the cooler months. It’d be a pity for all those words to go to waste, unvisited.
Out of interest, what routines ground you? How much of a priority is food shopping and cooking in your life? One reason I ask is the response on twitter to a provocative article by Michael Ruhlman about being too busy to cook. The food writer takes no prisoners when he mocked the myth of our busy lives getting in the way of home cooking.
Maybe you don’t like to cook, maybe you’re too lazy to cook, maybe you’d rather watch television or garden, I don’t know and I don’t care, but don’t tell me you’re too busy to cook. We all have the same hours every day, and we all choose how to use them. Working 12-hour days is a choice.
I loved that last sentence working 12-hour days is a choice, though some tweeters thought that rather classist, arguing the working poor have fewer choices. However, in reality, the readers of Huffington Post claiming the long working day excuse would largely fall into the higher income group, staying back late at night to catch up on emails and other outstanding work from the day. So this week I asked some clients who when they first consulted me would have met Ruhlman’s hypothesis. Months or years down the track I got them to reflect on their work and domestic choices now. They all make it a priority to cook a healthy meal at home more often than not, while still toiling in demanding jobs. One reflected that it was a matter of priorities and excuses. She’d use work as an excuse to not cook but now made eating well a priority.
We all make choices, though at times we don’t realise our full range of options. Sometimes it takes a bit of intervention to see the whole spectrum. I choose a simpler life, which for me means a trade off between a higher income and free time/better health. Though admittedly when I took the plunge to give up a “bread and butter” second job teaching, it was a massive leap of faith. Just as others I know have made their choices: supporting State education to make it better for everyone, over private schools for their children or increasing the family debt. Or someone who has a music lessons on Saturday night rather than a more active social life. Or those who choose travel over a stable career. It is all about priorities. What are yours?