Growing up I was a terribly fussy eater. The foods I wanted to eat came straight from the freezer. A readymade packet, potatoes in various shapes and meatballs in a tin. The notion of cooking and combining elements together from scratch was foreign to me. The train of thought was “you put A and B in the oven, on the hobs or in the microwave right?”. I had little to no real exposure or appreciation toward the world of food and all its elements. Those elements being, growing, producing, processing, transporting, policy, trade, markets, cooking it, you name it and I had little to no clue or interest. Food was on the table and it came from a packet or bought on the go, then eaten. That was the complexity of my relationship; it was sustenance, a necessity and just another commodity.
My perception and relationship to food has completely transformed. When I look back I feel shocked at how disconnected I was. There is a sense of disbelief that I could be so ignorant and could take for granted, something so vital to my existence and well-being. I had no appreciation for how food got onto my plate and how privileged I was to be in my position. This outlook I had, or lack-of, represents a vast proportion of our society.
When it comes to changing ingrained habits it often takes something extraordinary to occur in order to prompt change. In-other-words, new social influences, be it, travel, love, embarrassment, moving away. For me, my journey has been a collection of all of these. Spurred by moving home for university, where I became quickly aware that my eating habits were far from the norm. From there the interest and passion for the subject has grown.
Throughout my journey so much more has opened up to me than just new tastes. I’ve been exposed to new cultures; to new means of communication and integration in places where language barriers existed; a whole new element of science has emerged; I’ve developed an appreciation for nature, farming and the environment around and have started growing and producing my own food; I’m healthier and am sick far less often, now that I consciously think about what I put into my body; and I’ve met some incredible new people and friends. It is so much more than just something to eat. It is a part of us and it is the fuel that keeps us going. It’s unbelievable that we could become so disconnected and end up having so little respect for it.
This disparity between consuming food and awareness about food is a complex one, on one hand, there does seem to be a growing movement toward wanting to understand more about our food and reconnecting with it in its simplest form again. However, at the same time there is also a widening disconnection to food and all its components, and with growing convenience trends and diminishing cooking abilities, that gap between those wanting to be more aware and those simply consuming another commodity widens, forming two starkly different groups on very separate ends of the scale.
Reconnecting with food and bridging this gap is part of my motivation for starting up Fentons Eats again. With purpose.At first this blog served as a means of getting me through a difficult period, it gave me something positive to focus on, I enjoyed baking and it was a great way to pass time. Now, I feel compelled to try and make a change, in some shape or form. Food is huge part of our daily lives. If I can reach out to just one person and make them more aware and embrace this essential ingredient to life, then I’ve achieved something. Focusing on good food, utilising ingredients that aren’t the norm, wasting less and building up well-rounded knowledge and awareness around food. My journey as it stands today has been about reconnecting with food and that is something I want to share.