Food as a Joyful Adventure

Morning dew on a cabbage leaf. Garden magic. Is there a better way to start the day than cabbage appreciation?

Let's talk about food again. For the past few weeks/months/years I have been attempting to make more ethical choices about where my food comes from, and frankly, to make procuring food more fun than pushing a trolley around the supermarket. Not a high bar, to be sure. However, my natural laziness and general incompetence at any form of forward planning have conspired to make supermarket shopping a feature of my life. After all, supermarkets are predicated on the idea of convenience for the consumer and this has corresponded to conveniently large profits for the supermarket giants. Recently I turned 46. Not a particularly auspicious number, but every number after 40 is a reminder that there are probably less years left than have gone before. 46 really did it for me. I have decided to do whatever I want for the rest of my life. Yes, it is anarchy at Chez Blueday.

And one of the things I really want turns out to be a life of ridiculous inconvenience and a reasonable amount of chaos in order to assure a life of great food and joyous shopping. Yes, you read that right. Joyous shopping. Every time I snap on the dog's lead to walk to the butcher or the greengrocer, that is a joyful adventure. Every time I take my ridiculous blue op-shopped trolley-on-wheels to the farmers' market, that is an adventure. There are friends, dogs, fresh air, people to meet, new cheeses to try, buskers. What's not to like? Even if I leave home in a vile mood (not uncommon) it is hard not to succumb to being out in the weather and chatting to people in shops. So, apart from the lead up to Easter when we kept popping into Coles for their chocolate choc chip hot cross buns, which are indecently delicious, I have not been to either of the Big Two supermarkets for months (I have now mastered the art of home-made chocolate choc chip buns so we are all good for supermarket-free decadent treats).

So here is to the catalyst of mortality. I am not going to live forever, so the time I have left will be devoted to living deliberately and joyfully. Supermarkets and agribusiness, you are dead to me. I will buy my food from real people and help them live their dreams. I will do garden magic and make food in my own backyard, or forage it from roadsides. It has been slow in coming, but I think I can say, yes, this part of my journey is on the right track. It is a good feeling.

Winter afternoon sunlight on red chard. What about ending the day with chard appreciation? You could do worse.


Hazel said…
I turned 46 in April and I've (finally) put a vegetable garden in (we've been in this house for 2 years and the garden need a lot of work. Actually, so did the house...)
I have ambitions for more foraging, am bartering eggs for honey, I'm working on being self-sufficient in herbal teas and have great plans for my vegetable plot in a bid to reduce my supermarket visits...must be something about the age!
Let us know how you get on.
Jo said…
Hazel, hello twinny! Isn't it a great age! I'm so happy for you and your vegie garden! What are your herbal teas of choice? I like lemon verbena, but i must say my lemon verbena bush is suffering somewhat..
fran7narf said…
ALL of the good things in this post Jo!!! :)
Jo said…
Fran, yup, cabbages, red chard, no supermarkets..
Hazel said…
Jo, I love lemon verbena but haven't been very successful at keeping them alive over the winter, so mostly nettle, lemon balm (loves my garden but not as lemony as verbena) and mint, but also elderflower, thyme for colds, some vaguely medicinal ones involving yarrow and plantain (an anti-histamine tea for my son after a nasty bee sting and a 'ladies' tea for me :) ) and I keep meaning to try strawberry leaf tea which is supposed to be nice.
Linda said…
Great post. Great idea to be as self sufficient as possible. What date was your birthday, Jo? I had a big birthday on 28th May. One of those ending in a 0. So 46 sounds very young to me - add a couple of decades and a bit and you can catch me up!
Jo said…
Hazel, strawberry leaf tea! I haven't heard of that before. I could make enough strawberry leaf tea to drown in. I shall try it today! My lemon verbena struggles through winter as well, barely dragging itself into spring most years. This year I am trying regular applications of seaweed extract liquid fertiliser. It apparently strengthens the cell walls against frost.. will let you know how that goes..

Linda, I think in the city it's a better idea to try to be co-sufficient.. I can never grow everything in my garden (although I will give it a red-hot go..) but with the help of the farmers' market and friends to swap with, I think I can cover all the fruit and veg at least.. Congratulations on your big birthday! My birthday is May too, right in the middle of my favourite season, autumn..
I'm SO proud of you! Go you!

Just today, I turned something over in my head, and found something new. I have an (investment) mortgage, and some wisdom says... don't pay down an investment mortgage. So maybe I write a wish list for a HOME which would include a GARDEN and 100 other wishes, as I'm in NO hurry, and work from there... something to ponder
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Lovely post and words. Joyous shopping is a lovely idea. Like it. Don't you reckon living forever would be all rather dull and uninteresting? :-)! I'd probably get bored, it seems such a long time. Autumn reminds us that spring is just around the corner, but far out, it is cold here in the meantime...

The chard looks great. Spring was pretty ordinary for apricots (which I normally preserve for winter consumption) due to a late frost. Rhubarb has stepped up to the breakfast plate instead this winter. Do you grow any rhubarb? It is very tasty and I stew the stalks in sugar. Yum!


Jo said…
Sarah, you would be one of those millenials not buying a house then. Well, a house to live in.. some people love to be tied to a particular plot of earth. I am one of them. Others like to live footloose and fancy free. That may be you.. it's all good, it's still possible to shop at the markets from a city apartment - probably easier!

Chris, I would love to live forever, so many lives to live. I live the simplest life and am never bored for a minute. I can't imagine ever running out of things to be interested in..

Yes, I eat grow rhubarb and eat it all the time.. top rhubarb tip, add 1/4 tsp of bicarb soda to the cooking water to make it less acidic. Then you don't need so much sugar..
Anonymous said…
They sound like divine adventures. Reminds me of a slower, more connected life. Convenience seems to have come at the expense of connectedness. I just read a book I think you'd love. By Elizabeth Fair. Recommended by the Book Snob blog. Don't know if the link will work:

I escaped the fastness of modern life. But oops the convenience of online shopping, I bought the book from England as I couldn't source it here.

Another May birthday blogger here. I'm 27th. And if the 40s give you pause for thought of mortality, wait for the 50s.
Meg said…
I'm only a year or so behind you, Jo, and I do think about how there is probably less time in front of me than behind me! Nothing like that realisation to stop one from wasting minutes! I like the sound of your adventures, I bet you'll meet many interesting, real and genuine people. Meg
Jo said…
Lucinda, ooh that book sounds delicious.

Meg, it rather concentrates the mind, doesn't it, that realisation..

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