Before meeting hubs I was at a turning point in my life. I had left a relationship that wasn’t working for me, and took with me a car full of personal belongings, 2 cats and more debt than I could handle. Bankruptcy and depression soon followed, but then so did an overwhelming sense of relief, independence and freedom that I had been longing for.
With this new found sense of self came the want to treat myself better. No more take-out night after night (as if I could afford it with no more credit), no more junk food breakfasts. I started simple, using frozen mixed vegetables mixed with noodles and some spices… but I soon found myself wanting to be more experimental. I had always cooked growing up at home, so I wasn’t a complete stranger to the process, but having to also buy the food I wanted to cook was. I was living just a block away from a local farmer’s market and found myself attending weekly, stocking up on as much healthy food as I could afford and then scouring the internet during the evenings looking for inspiration. I may not have had two cents left at the end of the week to spare, but I was eating well, feeling better in many different ways and proud that I was doing it on my own.
Let me now go back and add a caveat to the title of this post. Healthy Food Is Accessible To Everyone when they have the skills to know what to do with it. Convenience healthy foods are not cheap, trust me, there were no packages of pre-peeled and chopped butternut squash in my past… I was a regular at the ‘reduced to clear’ rack at the supermarket.
Community kitchens fill the gap between the raw product and turning it into a delicious, wholesome meal. Community kitchens are not ‘soup kitchens’ but a place where people come together to learn food skills, to work together to turn simple, healthy ingredients into healthy meals for their families… a place to learn that cooking can be more than just putting a plate on the table, but a time to learn, to teach and to be connecting with others.
The inspiration for this post came from the ‘iogo, supporting goodness’ event that I was invited to this week. I don’t want to turn this post into an advertorial, so I will direct you to their website to learn more about this program… this appears to be the same spirit in which they created this program… not as a marketing or PR burst, but to select a cause to support continuously that holds the same values as they do.
I do wish to thank the organizers for inviting me to this event at the North Dartmouth Community Centre, it really brought me back to my roots… to my love of cooking and the art of transforming inexpensive food into something priceless. We didn’t just come listen to a press release, we donned our aprons, peeled, chopped, mixed, rolled and stirred and created a healthy meal together and then got to package it up to take home to our own families. I wish nothing but the best for the Dartmouth Community Food Centre when it officially opens in it’s own location in 2014. For more information on this particular community kitchen, please connect with them on their website. To locate one near you, visit the Community Food Centres Canada website.
I realize that the subject of affordable food is a touchy one, but one that needs to be discussed. I hope to keep the conversation going in comments… just please be respectful of each other’s opinions.