Monday, August 9, 2010

Sisterspeak: A Few Clarifications

Hello Internet. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Chef Nick’s sister – of the title “Stuff My Sister Can Cook.” When he asked me to help him set up his blog, perhaps he wasn’t aware I would keep posting rights for myself also? Haha. As if I’d let him malign my cooking abilities to all and sundry without right to defence. (It was only canned corn! The way he’s going on – fainting et al -- you’d think I’d ordered a well-done steak in Peter Luger's. On a Friday.)

But I digress…

So a few things you should know about me before we go any further:

(1) I live in Ireland. This has no real bearing on food or cooking, but might help explain references in future posts.

(2) I like cooking and am actually not that bad at it. But I will allow that I am sluttishly lazy overall when it comes to the vast majority of domestic arts (dusting, mopping, polishing silver, scrubbing toilets and yes… cooking. Sorry Mom.) So yes, I occasionally slip and use tinned corn, not the golden, sweet, freshly-shucked niblets hewn directly from husks bought off the local farm stand. But! I agree the fresh is far superior to the tinned. So I’m glad of my brother (my little brother), in his infinite foodie wisdom, pushing me in this direction. I have no excuse not to eat fresh – all it takes is a bit of planning, a good recipe and a proper food shop twice a week.

(3) My Flexitarian-ism: I’ve come to my discomfort over what I eat and how it made it to my plate, slowly but surely. I’ll continue my journey, most likely, in the same manner. The thing that complicates this road is that…I don’t hate meat. You know how there are some vegetarians, who can’t stand the taste or texture of “flesh?” Well, I’m not one of those. I’m also not entirely convinced (depending on the day) that it’s “wrong” to eat meat. What I do think is wrong is the way we’ve created huge factory farm apparatus, with true crimes against animal humanity, to get those chicken breasts to our table at the cheapest price. But I’m not the best informed on this front, so I’ll leave it to the Michael Pollans and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls of this world to make more convincing and fact-backed arguments, for and against, than I could ever make. My personal rules, in flux and subject to improvement, are as follows:

  • I eat meat sparingly (once a week/every 2 weeks)
  • When I eat meat, I buy only organic (I know it’s not the perfect guarantee, but I choose to leave it to trust on some level)
  • When I eat fish (again sparingly), I eat Marine Stewardship Council-certified or sustainably farmed specimens. Again, I’m aware there are arguments for and against both these measures, but…as above
  • I try to buy organic and/or locally farmed produce as often as I can. But most of all, I really try not to buy vegetables shrink-wrapped in plastic or arriving in Styrofoam/thick plastic trays. WOW! Veggies in plastic really annoys me. More on that later…
  • If I’m over at someone’s house and they’ve lovingly prepared something I wouldn’t normally eat, I don’t ask questions about provenance – I just go ahead and eat it

And yeah, so that’s about it. Me in a nutshell (pun intended.) I’m game to try it all and report back. Looking forward to the food journey. Chef Nick – get posting!

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