Annapurna is the Hindu goddess of food: The Mother Who Feeds

Annapurna is the Hindu goddess of food: The Mother Who Feeds.
"In this world, apart from our spiritual practice, there is no other place or power that we can rely on." Supreme Master Ching Hai

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


The "real food" movement is spreading. Like wildfire. And I couldn't be happier! Our foreign exchange student brought home a classmate yesterday while I was preparing dinner, and she said: "Oh, I see you're into organics too. My mom calls anything else FAKE FOOD!" I couldn't agree more. 

When I think of all of the things I've tried to do over the years for my family, including canning hundreds of quarts of fruit every year, growing a garden, and baking our bread daily from scratch, I realize it wasn't enough. I did these things because I had five children, and we lived on one income. I did them because I am of German descent, and wasting food or anything else for that matter, is genetically abhorrent to me. But had I had just a little more information about the meat and diary products I was buying on sale and in bulk, our family might have been better off.

My mom is still active in the Mormon church, and if you are familiar with this organization, you know they push their members to obtain and use food storage and become more self-reliant. However, if you don't have a damn clue how to cook with whole foods, then how in the hell do you survive on them? My mom repeatedly gets asked to come and teach the younger women in her church how to make staple items from scratch, using food storage items. Every time she does it, which is about once a year, she feels like her demonstrations fall on deaf ears. Women work, and no one wants to be spending a whole day making chicken stock, like I did today, because they can buy it for $.89 a can at Walmart. They can also buy a myriad of convenience items on the cheap, that are, in my opinion, no better than eating at McDonalds every single meal, every single day.

My friend Jackie, a survivor of breast cancer, is a huge proponent of whole, clean eating. She has taught me so much, that even though I was already doing some of the things I mentioned above, I feel like I've begun my culinary conquest anew just in the last five years of our friendship. Her idea of preventative medicine begins with what goes on your dinner plate, and she's right. This is the argument that I use when people tell me that eating organic costs too much. As Jackie says: "Pay now, or pay later." With the number of young people out there who are uninsured, this bears some consideration.

It warms my heart that some of my younger friends ask me advice about cooking, and making things from scratch. It makes me feel like I might have done something right after all. My kids are all serious about their diets, especially my oldest son Renn. He and his girlfriend are constantly experimenting with growing new foods, and turning their yard into an edible landscape. Being vegetarian, they don't need to worry about running afoul of our horrendous poultry production industry (yes, pun intended) here in the US. If it comes in a bag and is shaped like a nugget or a perfectly formed breast, it's not for human consumption. I have two vegetarians, one vegan, and two carnivores, but they all are pretty cognizant of what they eat. My sister, who recently moved to a beautiful piece of property, started her son raising chickens, free range. Not only does my nephew have a great 4-H project going, but they have learned really quickly that bartering for fresh eggs gets them some pretty cool stuff, like honey, firewood and organic grass fed beef. How fun! And good for you.

I'm so proud of all the people who are coming around to the idea that food is what really is at the heart of all of the health problems I see in our population, on a daily basis. When anyone asks me: "Why do you do surgery on so many babies with cancer? Why are there so many brain tumors?" My answer is always: "It's in the food supply."
Anyone who has read my blog, or is friends with me on Facebook, knows that I buy all my chickens from Inspiration Plantation. Matt and Jen are my farmers. They send out weekly newsletters, conduct questionnaires, and pretty much let us decide what we will buy. They listen to their clients, and they are doing fabulously. I wouldn't get my poultry or eggs anywhere else. I buy my beef from a free range ranch in Idaho, and my farmer, Pat Robertson, calls me with updates on my beef cow, and then delivers my meat to me in the back of his pickup. Yep, that's personalized service and food you can feel good about. Expensive? Not in my opinion.

People need to really take into consideration what is being put into our food supply and sold as "food." If it's in a box or comes out of the frozen section, then you probably shouldn't eat it. Explore places like New Seasons, Chucks, and Trader Joe's. I think you'll find that you aren't spending that much more. Make three of the seven nights a week vegetarian nights, or even vegan nights. Invest in some good cookbooks, and subscribe to a good cooking magazine. What a great idea to ask for from relatives for Christmas! Here are a few of my favorites:

The one without a cover is Vickie Tate's "Cooking with Home Storage." It is still available on Amazon, and I give one to everyone I care about. It's a bible of goodness. Order here: Cookin' with Home Storage, and get yours today.

If you are interested in Alice Water's method of making stock, then read my STOCK! blog here.

So, think about your food, know your farmer, invest in your body and your health, and take your daily medicine: ORGANICS!

May you "Live long, and prosper!"

Thursday, June 6, 2013

An open letter to my mother: Carole Anne Anderson

Thank you Mom.  Thank you for being the most self-sacrificing human being I’ve ever encountered. Thank you for raising four girls by yourself when your husband left you with an old car and not much else. Thank you for the work you did, and for all the activities you tried desperately to attend, even when you’d already worked 12 hours that day. Thank you for saving money in a mason jar (money saved while making less than $10 an hour) so that we could take the train to California to go to Disneyland.
Thank you for taking a decent man as your second husband, and for once in your life, having a partner with which to share your life’s burdens. Thank you for supporting an 18-year-old girl who insisted she’d found the love of her life, and for helping with my wedding even though you must have been horrified to watch me walk down that aisle at such a young age.
Thank you for the joy with which you received the addition of each of my children into your life, and for the grandparents you and Dennis were to them. Thank you for making the 850 mile trek to Utah each summer, hauling a trailer, to make sure those boys got to go camping. You didn’t have to do that, but you did.
Thank you for teaching me the meaning of being a loving daughter. You gave up your retirement to care for your parents, never leaving for more than a few days at a time because you knew how badly you were needed. Thank you for choosing to make your home in Dallas, and for all the times you jumped up and ran over to Glen Street as soon as your presence was requested. Thank you for being the one who was there, so that the rest of us could enjoy the freedom of not having to worry. No one will ever know the toll that being a caregiver took on both you and Dennis.
Thank you for quietly doing all of these things without complaint. Thank you for never asking for a single thing in return. Thank you for everything that you did for our family. I know there are deep places in your heart where you hold memories of your service dear, and those secrets will never be told because they are sacred to you.
Thank you for being a silent rock, always standing firm as the waves of life crashed over you, through good times and bad, and for weathering those storms without complaint. Thank you for being strong, while the rest of us crumpled as Grandma and Grandpa died, because you knew you’d done more than your fair share and then some. You knew you had done your very best to give them what they needed on a daily basis.

And most of all, thank you for the love that you have shown your entire family, unconditionally, even when that love was not returned. You are a hero.