Sunday, April 01, 2007

"Old man, look at my life, 24 and there's so much more..."

(With apologies to my dad, I'm listening to the new neil young live album. He introduces that song by saying "This is a new song that I wrote about my ranch.")

Well, I still have 873645 things to say about my new culinary endeavor, and still can't seem to process those into concise blogging. So, I will just muddle through:

#1 most important lesson so far: Bauman is pronounced "bow-man", not "bough-man".

My reading list:
The Garden of Eating
Working Healthy: Certified Food Handler's Guide
Prescriptions for Dietary Wellness
Recipes & Remedies for Rejuvination
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods
Lorna Sass' Complete Vegetarian Kitchen
The New Laurel's Kitchen
The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook
Uprisings: The Whole Grain Baker's Book
(It's a pretty intimidatingly tall stack, but don't you wish YOUR homework was reading vegetarian cookbooks???)

First impressions:
After so much planning (I've been wanting to do this program since 2003!), it was so strange to just... show up at 3912 Portola Dr, Suite 10, and be in class. But it couldn't have been a better first day. I was getting all emotional listening to the instructor talk about the course, it's everything i ever wanted and more :) All the ingredients we use are organic, and it's not just some gourmet standard. It's really geared toward living the ideals in a sustainable way - composting, conserving food (we have leftovers for snack the next day, talk about making broths from juicing pulp, etc), buying afforably/in bulk/in season/local. Just offhand the instructor was talking about the school's network (I believe she used the phrase "inside the cutting edge") with all kinds of people involved with the issues of environment/food industry and agricultural reform etc. (Since I'm halfway through The Omnivore's Dilemma (yes, i'm fiiinally reading it - i found a great used copy on my first day in santa cruz :) and since our midwestern family farm is funding my tuition, the program that resonated the most was one that teaches kids from the farming belt organic farming, to keep them on the farm and out of dairy queen, and guarantees them a market.) Also, I don't have to feel bad about the half of my carload that was made up of cooking equipment - just on the first day they used 3 of my fun things that have been sitting in the closet for the last 2 years - microplane zester, bamboo steamer, and immersion blender. Oh and the best part is I don't have to feel guilty about spending loads of time/money in natural food stores - in fact, it's a necessary part of my education!!!
Other fears assauged - I was a bit skeptical of the whole Bauman factor - they recently changed the name to Bauman College after the founder, Ed Bauman, and we learn his whole Eating 4 Life philosophy. But I was happy to find it's not a guru worshipping kind of deal (one of the other students was funny and asked something like "Does Ed like yogurt?"). He's just the guy who had the vision and did lots of research. It's really as common sensical as could possibly be in this day and age - not converting you to One True Diet, but getting you to educate yourself and others about food and nutrition, and learning how to prepare/eat what's right for you. It's kind of a back to the basics approach - eat whole foods, live sustainably, except that we can't really go back anymore - we're at such a disconnect from our food sources. So you have to really work to stay ahead of the game and understand how the food has been manipulated before getting to your table (from the genetically modified seeds, to the depleted soil, to the chemical contaminants, to the processing, and on and on.) Seriously, come up with as many conspiracy theories as you want about 9/11, the war, alternative energy, and it won't compare with the evil doings of the corporate interests in the agricultural/food industry. I've always assumed it was bad, and sort of averted my eyes, and tried to make reasonably responsibly choices. But now I'm sort of professionally required to open my eyes, and eek! Prepare for lots of posts urging you to toss the microwave, the plastic, the sugar substitutes, etc etc

But it's not all about scare tactics, i swear. Just going to class everyday feels like such a positive change in our own lives, and we're all so happy to be around like-minded people, and the focus is on how we we'll be helping clients/ our families / students. Plus we eat some DAMN GOOD FOOD. We have a great snack every morning, which is some combo of hard boiled eggs / veggies / nuts / leftovers. There's an endless supply of fresh brewed herbal tea (the blends are put together in the nutrition classes next door). And everyday we prepare and eat a big lunch together that highlights the days lessons. (Right now the instructor and assistant are doing all the cooking, but starting friday we'll be in the kitchen too!) The first days's meal was:

"Cream" of asparagus soup
Wild Rice, Shitake, & Hazelnut Pilaf
garden salad w/dressing

Geez, I told you I couldn't channel my thoughts into a coherent blog form. Now that I've got that out of my system I will try to bring you more focused topics like:
-food eeeeevils - just the facts, ma'am.
-"foods that really are all they're hyped up to be"
-book/website recs


  1. Thanks, Richard, for feeding into my paranoia and making me not use microwaves since we moved to Austin!

  2. Everything just comes out like mush anyways (which is a bad thing, unless you're heating up mush).

    And "The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook"??????
    That sounds like something I need to read. Unless it's all about finding cheese-like substitutes for cheesy dishes.
    Actually, you should send me the omnivore's dilemma when you're done because I had to bring it back to the library and never finished it.

  3. kt - i love that you just posted 2 comments anti-technology comments. We don't have a microwave here either, and I'm detoxing pretty sucessfully. You guys just made me crazy since you don't have a toaster oven either! i should have left mine with you since we have a big fancy one here.

    r - It totally is about finding cheese substitutes, which means it's not particularly up my alley either. It's supposed to be amazing though - it's the one thing my vegan boss had me bring back to ecuador for him :) And you may be waiting on the omnivore's dilemma for a while, since finishing it has now slipped to last priority behind that hefty class list.

  4. "Looking" with pleasure.

  5. ps - despite your upcoming birthday, i wasn't calling you old, just referencing your burning hatred for ny :)