Thursday, October 1, 2009

Report From Tammy Tilley

Yesterday, Mike took McDonald’s cheeseburgers (probably double cheeseburgers) to school to have lunch with Cameron and Emma. Busted!!!! A few teachers noticed this slip in our journey. At breakfast, I tried to convince him (and them) to get Subway, but they were having withdrawals from their favorite fast food menu. I was a little embarrassed, but I need everyone to know that this whole changeover process will take time for my family. We have definitely decreased our drive to Friendly Shopping Center for our quick fast food meals, but we are not there yet. I also believe that too much change too fast will only make my kids less receptive to the changes. So, if you see us “being bad,” please call us on it, but know we’re going to get it all together (well, maybe close, anyway) with time.


Report from Kim Richey

The day before the ground-breaking for the Edible Schoolyard, there was a picture of Alice Waters in the News and Record. We had already prepped Lily for attending the ceremony by saying that we were going to meet a “famous chef.” We showed it to her and she said, “She doesn’t look like a famous chef!” How little does she know! Isn’t it amazing how children equate someone having “importance” with that person having a certain look about them? When Lily, my husband, and I initially arrived at the ceremony (albeit late; parking was a bear!), even I scanned the people at the front thinking, “OK. Which one is Alice Waters?” Admittedly, I was immediately able to dismiss the men, but there were a few women up front that I was watching so as to figure out who was who.

When Alice stood up and talked, I thought “What a sweet voice she has!” And then I thought, “What passion she has!” To me, it is interesting to hear someone speak about a topic that you know little about. This “farm-to-table” movement is brand new to me (almost as new to me as having met Anne-Marie)! You see, growing up, my mother worked 2nd shift. She cooked the food each morning before she left the house, which my younger sister and I would then heat up in a microwave when we got home from school. Not being around when my mother cooked limited my exposure to cooking. In addition, because of the pressure on my mom to cook a meal before leaving the house, she used canned and frozen foods (just as many women of her generation and mine were taught to do). My mother disliked cooking, though. So, when she was off work, we often went out to eat. So, even on her “off” days, my exposure to cooking was somewhat limited. Thankfully, I did observe my grandmothers cook a bit, but the point I am trying to make here is that if Anne-Marie can make a difference in my cooking perspectives and abilities, then she will have influenced me to “break the cycle” and do differently by Lily.

And this for me is connected to something I said to Tina Firesheets, “When you have a child, and they’re so young and pure, you want to do better about feeding them food that doesn’t have preservatives.” As a mother, I think about Lily’s little body: her pure lungs, her (hopefully) unclogged arteries, her little limbs that run so fast and jump so high. And then I let her eat a hamburger from McDonald’s? (She has actually only eaten 3 McDonald’s hamburgers in her entire life, but you get my point). And all of this “purity” (if you will) started as she was growing within my womb. That’s not necessarily because I was the best eater when I was expecting, but because of how I’ve come to notice how nature tends to take care of the little ones when they are still in utero. (BTW, I am a nurse and I work at the only free-standing birth center in NC. So, more references to pregnancy and birth are still to come, I’m sure).

As a wife, I feel incredibly grateful. I have been married for 10 years to the best man that I could have ever met and loved. As his wife, I want to be sure that he (as we say to one another) lives forever. What better way to do that than to change how we eat?

So, yes, Anne-Marie, if you can give me the tools to do better in the garden and in our kitchen, then you will have impacted 2 generations of our family - and not just 2 generations, but the lives of the 2 people I love most.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shrimp Industry

We had several comments about a caption, under a picture in the Greensboro News and Record article on Sunday, September 27, that referenced antibiotics in frozen shrimp from outside the United States. The reference was not made off-hand nor without a basis in fact. Here is an excellent report from The Solidarity Center on "The True Cost of Shrimp" - look for it about 3 reports down on the right. It is in a PDF format and lengthy (40 pages of big print and color photos) so please read it online and save your paper.

This is a clearly laid out article about how we in America can eat inexpensive foreign produced shrimp that is now so widely distributed. The article draws on information from many excellent sources. The report lays out the truth about the exploitation of both children and adults by many in this industry, the destruction of the environment and the use of banned antibiotics and other chemicals that permanently damage the health of the workers and cause longer term consequences for all of us. It also includes a list of grocery chains in this country that carry these shrimp and several are here in NC.

As a result of what I learned about the shrimping industry, I have committed to only buying shrimp that I know is Wild Caught (and preferably in NC waters) for use in my own home. Matt Barr, a UNCG film professor, has an excellent documentary about the NC shrimp industry called "Wild Caught" (see the trailer here.)

One of the purposes of this project is to show that while our inexpensive food may come cheap, it's often at the expense of many other lives and environments including, ultimately, our own. Unfortunately, we are often driven to poor food choices by its low cost, the immediate gratification factor and a lack of information as to the methods by which much of this cheap food is actually produced. We've put ourselves in a "pay less now, but much more later" bind that we really can't afford to ignore any longer.

We can make changes, and once informed it is hard not to. I was in the exact same place a few years back, eating the same cheap Thailand produced shrimp and thinking how great it was that I could include seafood in my diet. I can no longer eat food grown and gathered on the backs of poorly treated workers, including children, some of them the same age as my own young daughter, so I can have a "heart healthy diet." I hope once informed you will feel the same.

Eat well and be well!
Anne-Marie Scott

Monday, September 28, 2009

Report From Tammy Tilley

Tammy sent me this blog to report:

"Wow. A lot has happened since my last entry. The Edible Schoolyard ground-breaking ceremony was very interesting. I was impressed with the garden at the Children’s Museum already. Children in summer programs had worked on getting the garden started. The use of bamboo for staking running plants was interesting. Bamboo is a nuisance in my backyard, so I was glad to see an option for making it useful. We’re always looking for ways to rid ourselves of it. I got to meet Steve Tate from The Goat Lady Dairy. He talked to Kim and I about gardening and was willing to answer our questions. He will be a big help. Alice Waters was wonderful to meet. She was so excited about our project which just made me realize even more the importance of it all. I bought her book and have already started reading. It is a very practical book. Thursday was on the hot and steamy side. Cameron checked out the garden but had more fun climbing on the trees.

Mike, Cameron, and I headed to Carrboro and Chapel Hill this past weekend. I had my 20th dental school reunion and Cameron and Mike had a scout outing on Saturday night. We checked out Weaver Street Market in Carrboro. It was fascinating.

Organic was definitely the word there. I think I could have gotten plenty if I knew what to do with the food when I got it home. I did buy some granola which is delicious. I’ve shared it with the girls at the office. I also went to the local farmer’s market in Carrboro. It wasn’t as big as ours here but had plenty of fresh meat and veggies to choose from. I bought a couple of eggplants. We’ll see what I do with those. My goal is not to let anything I buy spoil before cooking it. This is a major goal. I have grown some remarkable mold in my refrigerator in the past.

Trying to be healthier,

Note: Steve Tate has offered to show us how they make their Goat Lady Granola with grains from the Lindley Mills.

Reto Biaggi of Home Cuisine

As I said last Wednesday, I met up with Reto Biaggi because he has volunteered to work with The Locavore Makeover Families a couple of times over the course of the next year. I couldn't be more ecstatic because he is a "real chef" and I am a really good cook! His input will give us all an even deeper lesson in home economics and kitchen organization. Actually that is one of his first goals, to get Kim Richey more organized in her kitchen space. In order to introduce him without missing any of the details I lifted the following from his website about his personal chef in-home service.

"Cooking is my passion, I have been involved in professional kitchens since the age of 14. At age 12 I had decided to become a chef, and my dad sent me to work in a restaurant kitchen every summer.

I was born in Bern, Switzerland, where my mother was the Service Manager for the 5 star Du Theatre hotel. She loves to entertain and always involved me in the frequent parties she hosted at our house.

My international travelling started early as well, as we moved to France when I was still a child. I was fortunate that my parents loved to travel and to eat at excellent restaurants. I was exposed to sophisticated dining around the world through my teen years, which set my standards high.

I graduated from the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland, the world's premier hospitality management school, and hold a business degree from the University of Lausanne also.

My international work experience includes, the Plaza Athenee hotel in Paris, the Bath Hotel in Bath (England), Disneyland Hotels in Paris, the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

In Greensboro, I have worked at the Green Valley Grill and the Grandover Resort.

I have been a personal chef since 2004 and without a doubt this is the happiest and most fulfilled I have ever been."

His wife is a Greenboro native (to bring it all back to local connections) and his family lives within my mythical 3 mile "zone of comfort." He's considering getting chickens and when my egg supply goes back up I will bring him a few of mine to sample.

Reto chooses much of the food he prepares for his work by going to the Curb Market downtown in addition to some other local sources and he will share all of that when we get together next.

Just wanted to introduce him and share my enthusiasm for his volunteerism with the project.