Thinking about food security

Canned cherries

Modern so-called civilization has created a global food system. Most of the food on supermarket shelves is trucked in from hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Of more concern, millions of people live their lives without engaging in any type of food production activity.

In essence, most people depend on restocking their pantries with frequent trips to stores that are supplied from far away. When you think about it, this is extremely odd behavior for an animal. Most animals live near their food supply and concern themselves with food-gathering activities. Granted, we humans have higher pursuits like filling out insurance paperwork or playing games on smartphones, but, essentially, we’re dismissing our natural instinct to see after our own basic needs.

This does not set well with everyone, myself included. Although I’m still largely dependent on the global food system, primarily for flour and oil and luxuries like coffee and chocolate, I have taken many steps over the years to produce food at home. I grow fruit and vegetables and source local produce, meat, and eggs from local farmers markets. I keep a store of food that would feed my family for a few weeks. It’s not a food hoard, but I certainly won’t be desperate in under a week.

I believe that more people should engage in food production activities in order to supplement the supply of food distributed by giant companies. When more people take responsibility for feeding themselves, society as a whole is more resilient and protected from food shortages and price spikes.

Starting in 2006, I began learning how to preserve food with home canning. This skill is easy to master and incorporate into your lifestyle. Food preservation is an essential element in food security because it allows you to build up a small stockpile of shelf-stable food. As a bonus, the food you preserve at home will be tastier and higher quality than anything you can buy in a can at the store.

My humble attempt to encourage and enable people to educate themselves about food storage is The Home Canning Guide for Everyone Who Eats. The guide quickly explains the basics and provides a few recipes to get you started.

As a 99-cent ebook, it makes the information accessible. You can even print out the PDF version I sell at this website.

To read more about the guide visit the Home Canning page.

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Start researching recipes for your holiday baking

Since publishing My Grandma’s Vintage Recipes: Old Standards for a New Age in 2013, I’ve really benefited from putting together this memorial project. After salvaging over 60 recipes from a tattered notebook handwritten by my late grandmother since the 1920s, I’ve deepened my connection with my family heritage.

Other people have simply bought the book because the vintage recipes interested them. The recipes in this book hearken back to 1920s Ontario, Canada, where my grandmother grew up. Most of the recipes are quite simple and require few ingredients. They were written in a time before supermarkets when people cooked from scratch with pantry staples. This is good information these days as food budgets tighten, and people want to get away from processed snacks in wrappers.

This cookbook has a whole chapter on fruitcakes. I know they are a much-maligned and made-fun-of baked good, but they really don’t deserve their reputation, at least if you make one yourself.

Personally, I have not felt the need to age a fruitcake and soak it in brandy, as tradition holds, because a fruitcake is so delicious on day one!

Fruitcakes are super sweet treats. Make one, and you’ll add to the mood-altering festivities with each nibble.

If you’re curious about baking a fruitcake, this cookbook has a recipe that I heartily endorse. It has become a holiday tradition in my family. And last year, I discovered that they freeze well too.

To see ordering information for the ebook or paperback visit the Vintage Recipes page.

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