Why passing the tradition of real food to our children is important?
Our generation has been bombarded by fake food for long enough that we have stopped questioning what we see in the supermarkets or restaurants.
We never think about when the food was harvested or made as we are only told about the expiry date (are the vitamins still there in the apples which have been on a tree over 10 months ago?)
We forgot about natural colour of the food (like apple juice colour is never bright) or remembering what is in season (we have grapes and strawberries all year around at our house).
We stop realising how much sugar and salt we are consuming as it is added to all savory and sweet processed food for flavour (like in tomatoes sauce which is made out of tasteless tomatoes and sugar is added for flavour). Have a look at a terrifying book Fat Chance by Dr Lustig.
Some things are more hidden and one really has to know how the food is made to understand. For example cheese makers can use animal or vegetable rennet to make cheese, which makes a difference for vegetarians.
So I am on a quest to educate myself and my children about the food to increase their chances to stay healthy. I am trying as much as possible to buy seasonal, organic and locally produced food (thanks to well spread home delivery services from farmers as well as farmers markets). But more importantly, I am trying to learn from farmers, nutritionists and food makers as much as I can.
One of such inspirational discussions I had was with Vittorio Beltrami, an Italian farmer who produces pecorino (goat cheese) and olive oil.
His simple wisdom remained with me and with my children long after the trip. He talks about seasonal eating is not only about eating seasonal produce but also about food you choose in terms of calories we need depending on the season. One should eat fresh cheese in the summer (as it has more water and less caloric) and more mature cheese in the winter (like Parmesan) as we need more calories. My children and I learnt about what it takes to produce olive oil that keeps all the vitamins (cold mechanical press of olives), how different cheese is made and how farming can be compassionate and respectful to animals.
The sad reality is that real food competes with fake food and is loosing the battle. It costs to produce in a traditional way but as Mr Beltrami preaches it is better to eat less but better.
PS I was so inspired by Beltrami’s family that I helped them to set up their English language site to spread the word about them.