Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thoughts | Busy Lives vs. Slow Food

When I explain to people that I am making all my food from scratch (usually as I'm feeding them crackers or muffins. I'm a compulsive feeder...I'm channeling my Mennonite grandmother at an early age here.) they usually wonder how I make the time. Well the nice ones ask how I do it. Some people just say "Oh it must be nice to have time to bake your own bread!". This makes me craaaazy. I work full time, it's often 6 days a week. I do freelance illustration and graphic design at home. I don't just sit around cooking because I'm bored! But before I give you any time management things, here's two things you should know about me.

- Making good food is a priority for me. There is not a whole lot in my life that is more important to me than food. I love to eat it, and it is the fuel that makes my body run well. It makes my husband happy. When I end up working a ton I sometimes don't vacuum...or get to the laundry mat as soon as I'd like, but I do cook. It's just more important to me.

- I love to cook. Even when I'm tired, I just love to create food and eat it. I like the challenge. It's like being crafty/artistic...and it tastes good (99% of the time anyway).

Okay, so here's some tips:

- Meal plan. For me this helps a lot because I work funny hours. Sometimes I need a supper that I can make in 20 minutes. Sometimes I have all day. Sometimes I can prep in the morning. Often I make supper to take to work and leave Craig's in the fridge. You get the picture.

- When you have some free time, use it. If you know you have a day off (my days off are not the same every week) or a few hours at home, plan to bake your bread or roast a chicken or something else that will help you make it through to the next day off. Yes I often go a month or two without two days off in a row.

- Plan for leftovers. If you are making something that reheats well make 2 or 3 times what you need. I am all over left over stir fry (but I haaaate leftover pasta...uck) and I always make a ton. I serve us and at the same time put up to 4 servings in the fridge in containers. It's the same amount of work and you don't have to cook the next day. Ditto for pizza, steel cut oats...lots of things.

- Multi-task. I'm baking bread right now. I shower while I'm cooking steel cut oats. Most slow food in not labour intensive, you just need to kind of be hanging around.

- Have a few really fast meals tucked up your sleeve. There are meals that I can make in just a few minutes, with whole ingredients. I'll try and post some soon. Find a couple you like and keep the ingredients around for emergencies. My favourite right now is sausage and cabbage stir fry. Yum yum.

It's really just about being moderatly organize and just deciding that you're going to do it. Sometimes we are eating toast at 5:30 because supper just isn't happening until 8:00. But to us, real food is worth having to be flexible. I'm lucky to have a husband who is excellently supportive in my foodie endevours. :)

Do you guys have any tips on time management and speedy whole food cooking?