At home I serve the kind of food I know the story behind.
- Michael Pollan
It has been almost two months since my last blog post…the longest break since I published my first blog post back on September 8th, 2008. There has not been any one particular reason for my caesura...maybe I just needed a thinking pause after 102 blog posts...or maybe not.
During my mini-sabbatical, I turned 47 on April 30th -as always the best day of the year. Lone and I spent the weekend in São Paulo, where she treated me to a massage at Amanary Spa at the Grand Hyatt São Paulo…awesome! We also took advantage of São Paulo's incredible culinary buffet, eating like kings and queens. And we saw ‘How Do You Know’…great company, terrible movie. I also received many, many well wishes…so thank you all! In truth, 47 does not feel any different than 46 or 45 -or 44 for that matter, perhaps other than a troubling right knee, which has as yet failed to responded to treatment, but I am optimistic that it will get sorted.
Back at Fazenda Alfheim we said goodbye to Jamie (our hearts and stomachs are in mourning, but she will be visiting again soon with her parents…how cool is that!) and Danni (on the left...we will have to get two volunteers to replace her energy and workload), so things have quieted down considerably. Julie (on the right) will be leaving later this month, and then we will take a voluntary volunteer break until we have held the Hesketh family reunion in late August. Thus far, we have confirmations from a grand total of nine family members, so with the five of us, we will be at least 14 people at the fazenda. Hopefully we will add a couple more before all is said and done. 7-9-13!
Aside from my birthday, April's biggest news would have to be the arrival of internet service at Fazenda Alfheim. This monumental breakthrough is 100% the result of the hard work and utter brilliance of my ex-colleague and friend Jefferson Zanetti.
In farming-specific news, we are working on a plan to move more aggressively down the path of self-sufficiency. We genuinely enjoy producing top-flight food for restaurants, but we also feel strongly that we could/should be producing 100% of our own food. We are regularly reminded of this fact when we more-and-more-frequently cook a meal that consists solely of ingredients from our fazenda.
Along these same lines, Lone cleaned the pantry this weekend and rightfully boasted that we have the following Alfheim-produced goodies in stock:
We are also producing all of our own eggs, milk and yogurt, and it is a rare meal indeed when our meet or poultry does not consist of an animal produced onsite, including lots and lots of sausages (follow the step-by-step tutorial here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12). In short, we are close, though there is still work to be done in our vegetable garden. Lone has a great deal of gardening experience, but she is up against a formidable foe in the leaf cutter ants.
We are also keen to explore some form of renewable energy generation, but since all of these efforts take time, we have decided to downsize our animal production over the coming 12 months.
In other news, it appears that our good friends Jeff and Suzanna will be returning to Brazil shortly…YEAH! We like to think they missed us so much that they had to return, but in truth their homecoming of sorts probably has more to do with a really interesting hotel project they will be working on in São Paulo. Either way, we are thrilled!
Finally, I recently read something by Mike Geary, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer, that both encapsulates an observation I have made since I was a pre-teen and also qualifies for the less-than-humble moniker of the #1 rule for eating healthy.
First, we need to come to the realization that food science and marketing in recent decades has crowded all of the REAL food out of our grocery stores to the point that at LEAST 90% of everything in a modern-day grocery store is NOT true food anymore.The so-called "food" that lines our grocery store shelves nowadays is better termed -- "Edible Food-Like Substances", as the highly respected nutrition journalist Michael Pollan calls it.Our food supply has become so overly processed, that it's not uncommon for a simple snack food to contain a list of 20-30 ingredients of additives, chemicals, flavorings, colorings, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial sweeteners, and more.However, it CAN be easy to avoid ALL of this junk by following my 1 simple rule of eating healthy... and that is: Eat only foods that are 1 ingredient (and follow this rule 90-95% of the time).