Many moons ago I would have described myself as a foodie. In college, I studied in Uganda. I witnessed an immense amount of hunger and poverty and committed myself to a vegetarian lifestyle. I learned the impact meat production was having on the world and it felt like something I could feasibly do to address the problem. I ate lots of pasta and got fat, but I was steadfast in my belief that my vegetarianism was a small step in the direction of addressing world hunger.
Upon graduation, I volunteered for a year with a community garden initiative through the AmeriCorps program. I developed a green thumb and got to help other low-income folks develop theirs. I grew my own herbs, lettuces, and tomatoes, and started to become more committed to "growing my own" and incorporating homegrown veggies into my cooking.
After AmeriCorps, I moved to Pittsburgh to obtain my Masters in Food Studies. I wanted to learn the ins and outs of the American food system in hopes that it might inform how I could better fight to end both global and domestic hunger. Of course, we all know how that ended and I was left with more questions than answers. But it was during my graduate year that I began cooking more as a part of my curriculum, and truly grew to love it.
Fast forward a few more years and I am working for a food bank doing work that I am crazy passionate about. However, I have a one hour commute and a baby to care for. I long ago abandoned my vegetarianism in the name of convenience and take-out has become our way of life as we were both too exhausted from the work day, and have approximately 20 minutes to throw a meal together before we have to start Charlie's bedtime routine. Or at least that was until I went on maternity leave.
Being home with two babies is a lot of things- tiring, busy, messy, and loud. But the one thing I didn't anticipate was how much being home would allow me the opportunity to renew my love of food. And not just food, but actually cooking my own food. When I was working full-time, cooking was nothing but a burden. But actually having time at home during the day to spend preparing meals for my family has brought me so much joy. I've never ever had the desire to be a homemaker. My career matters too much to me. And as much as it feels like some kind of failure to my inner feminist, I genuinely love to cook!
All this is to say, my relationship with food and cooking goes way back, and I am so happy to have unearthed this long since forgotten fragment of my identity. My kitchen has probably seen more action in the last week than it has since we moved in. Expect more recipe and food-centric posts to come. Meanwhile, I'm going to go whip up some muffins!