Philosophy and approach
We have learned a lot about food from our kids. In particular, Johanna taught as about the merits of a plant based diet. In a conversation with Rachel a few years ago, she distinguished between real food and other stuff we put in our mouths. "Meal times are for real food," she said. "You can eat other stuff if you want, fast food, processed snacks etc, but it isn't real food so don't eat it at meal time." I like that.
|Rachel in her Hobart kitchen|
As far as the ethics of food, we have a few principles that determine what and how we shop.
1. We are considerate of the supply chain. We want to know where our food has come from because we care about animal welfare (when it comes to meat), about seasonality, and about food miles. This means we avoid buying meat from supermarkets, we like to shop at farmers markets when we can, and we tend to look at where produce comes from when buying in packages from the shelf. Fair trade matters.
2. We have tried hard to eliminate single use plastic from our home kitchen. We find it harder when we are in the van, but still try to get supplies from wholefood outlets when we can.
3. We don't claim to be experts, but common sense tells us organic is better. We put enough food enhancement chemicals in our bodies from 'unavoidable' sources so we choose organic where we can.
4. People who produce food tend to be passionate and skilled. We like buying from the people who grew it or made it, even if it costs us a bit more.
|We went to a farmers market with Johanna and found this massive cinnamon. It's hard to appreciate from the photo but the sticks were ~3 times larger than the stuff you find in plastic packages in supermarkets.|
Good, nourishing food, prepared by hand and shared with people you love is more than a romantic ideal. For us it is one of the fundamentals of living well. The small space of a caravan kitchen makes the whole process quite intimate. We choose not to compromise on the quality of our food or the equipment we use to prepare it. The space is constraining, but we have found that by selecting appliances and utensils carefully for quality and utility, there is very little that can't be done in a caravan kitchen.
Our daily rhythms when in the van mean that meal preparation is typically un-rushed. Whatever the activities of the day, we tend to reconvene in the caravan in the late afternoon with a flexible evening ahead of us. We have chosen not to have a TV, so there is not the interruption of someone else's schedule. The unhurried nature of evening meal preparation and eating also adds to the value of mealtimes. And when we're done, the limited space we occupy means cleaning up before we settle into dessert, tea and/or whatever we set ourselves to for the evening. Washing up together also punctuates the experience and melds it with whatever comes next.
|Maria in our Barwon Heads garden|