I was about 11 years old when my parents got divorced, and I lived with my father until I left for university. When my Mom left, she gave my father a binder with seven recipes in it. My brother, father and I ate those seven recipes for the next seven years of my life.
Because I know you’re wondering, the recipes were for hamburger soup, pork chops, Shake ‘N’ Bake chicken, spaghetti, pizza and the much-hated sole. His seventh meal was flank steak, reserved for special occasions.
I went off to university, and cooked for myself for the next few years.
So, for some critical formative years, I ate in a kind of culinary desert.
The result? As an adult, I’m ambivalent, if not downright anhedonic about food. There are foods I moderately prefer to other foods, but, beyond health concerns, I’m not somebody who really cares about what I eat.
I used to not eat red meat for ethical reasons. Now I don’t do it because it simplifies my eating decisions. When my wife is away, I’m happy eating the same food for two or three meals in a row. When faced with a restaurant menu, I scan it until I find something that appeals, and I stop there. I also don’t drink alcohol, coffee or tea.
I’m not critical of people who find great joy or comfort in preparing and eating food. Well, I do think a subsection of foodies has a misbegotten sense of moral righteousness around their eating habits, but they’re the exception.
But now I have to constantly think about food. I have to rigorously contemplate my every buying and eating decision. And you know what? It sucks.
With this in mind, will I miss anything over the next four months? I do drink Coke quite often, so that’s a non-starter. And who doesn’t like chocolate? I’ll also miss the convenience of grabbing some sushi (or nearly anything, for that matter) for lunch.
If I eat it at home, it has to be sourced in Canada. That’s everything, from cooking oil to sugar to any processed food. I’ve been hosting some informative discussions on the One Year, One Canadian Facebook page which has helped me discover promising sources of Canadian bread, sugar and flour.
I’ve also been spending a lot of time at farmer’s markets, asking irritating questions about Colin the chicken. I’ll also spend some time this fall going right to the source to get food. I went snorkeling with a friend to catch the red rock crabs you see in the photo.
I don’t plan to eat out that much, but when I do, I’m going to require that the main ingredients be sourced in Canada.
If you had to eat all-Canadian for a year, what would you miss most?