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Geeky Food Trends, and Why They’re Awesome

Geeky Food Trends, and Why They’re Awesome

At the risk of sounding a little geeky, I’m going to tell you something about myself. I think canning is super cool. A few months ago, I was given a steam canner as a gift and let me tell you, it’s amazing. It lets me can high-acidity foods, like jams and jellies, faster than a hipster finds irony.

But canning isn’t just fun and games.  It’s symbolic of a much larger shift in consciousness. Around the country, people are canning, pickling, holding food swaps and learning to make use of their kitchens. So, what’s going on here?

I think it has to do with a desire to feel grounded and to live out the fullness of the human experience. Food is representative of so much more in life. It’s fundamental to life and it’s the most basic form of nourishment. If we’re not nourishing our bodies with good food, it seems likely to me that we may not be nourishing our spirits with love, compassion and all that stuff spirits like to munch on. Just go with me on this, I think I’m onto something.

In my mind (which I admit might be a little nuts), how we eat is often a metaphor for how we live. If we’re eating too fast – in the car or in front of the TV – it probably means we’re living too fast. We’re not taking the time to be mindful and present. We’re just consuming life blindly, without pausing to enjoy it or reflect upon it. And that’s not good!

Learning to cook, taking the time to can your own food, reclaiming traditional food preparation and preservation methods that were commonplace for our grandparents – these are all practices that force us to slow down and be present with the food we’re eating. And with life. I think as a culture, we’re craving that. We’re spending too much time in the ether. Too much time adrift in the virtual world, lost among all the chatter. We’re not feeling present or grounded.

And speaking of feeling grounded – food literally reminds us of our connection with the ground and the soil. Understanding where our food comes from, holding the ingredients in our hands and masterminding the super amazing alchemy that is cooking helps us to feel how deeply we are connected to nature. It brings us back to earth. It grounds us. And for a society that spends so much of its time in the intangible world of the information super highway (remember when people actually called it that?) – a world we actually refer to as “the cloud” – being grounded is crucial!

I’d love to hear from you! Have you recently learned to can, pickle, cook, bake – whatever? Does it help you feel present or grounded?

5 Ways to Preserve the Summer Harvest

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.

78 comments

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4:12AM PST on Nov 8, 2013

Thank you Sarah, for Sharing this!

4:57AM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

6:28AM PST on Feb 13, 2013

Agreed, cooking is one of my greatest pleasures in life.

2:40PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

Delightful and tasty, especially when eating one's harvest during a cold winter!

5:55AM PST on Feb 1, 2013

i atleast learned to b away from the fast foods.........

11:19AM PST on Jan 16, 2013

Thanks

10:25AM PST on Jan 16, 2013

I used to love canning. My stove is too small now. I can't get the canner under the range hood. One day, I'll have a large kitchen again with a proper stove!

6:39AM PST on Jan 16, 2013

Someone mentioned BPA on the lids ... I am not sure whether there is actually BPA used on the lids (I ALWAYS buy Kerr/Ball, never the off brands ... especially from China! ie: "Better Homes" brand) ... but consider this ... IF there is any BPA it is ONLY on the little rim of the lid which doesn't actually touch your food. It's not coated on the entire inside of the can like the metal cans. Nothing PISSES me off worse than to buy a can of vegetables or soup and open it up to find it lined!! Especially when I even have paid the extra amount for ORGANIC. I wish all canned goods were in glass jars like my home canned stuff. Then you could SEE what you were getting. But "economics" dictates metal cans are more functional and don't break. FYI the Industry says that BPA doesn't leach toxins unless it is heated ... DUH ... obviously these idiots don't understand the process -- canning food requires it to be heated.

3:48AM PST on Jan 16, 2013

Timely piece - I was about to write a blog about canning and preserving. Thank you.

12:10AM PST on Jan 16, 2013

Yes, I will definitely learn these methods! :-D

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