Do you know how much work goes into getting our food to us? Farm to table? So much more work than I realized and still more than I know. That's how much.
I'm a city girl. I don't often pick my own vegetables. I mean, I pick them out at the grocery store or the farmer's market, but I very rarely get the chance to actually pick something that was growing on a tree or a bush and then eat it. And let me tell you, it's an entirely different experience. I spent an afternoon this summer picking wild blueberries in New Hampshire and now I appreciate blueberries in a way I never did before.
I was pushing my way through brush, filling up my little bag of blueberries. I don't want to exaggerate -- it's not like I was out there for HOURS or anything -- but it was just remarkable to me how long it seemed to take to fill up my little bag and how delicately I had to handle the berries in order to not squish them as I picked them. And it made me think:
How many handfulls have I tossed into my mouth without a thought about how it got to my hands? How many pints have I devoured in moments without really appreciating it? I don't know.
There is so much that I take for granted. So many products that I buy so that I don't have to do the hard work of making it or growing it and picking it. And not only do I not do the hard work required, I don't even know what that hard work is. For instance, coconut oil. I'm not entirely sure how that gets separated from the milk and how all that happens. Does it take a long time? How much oil can you get out of one coconut? How long does it take for a grape to turn into a raisin? How do they make olive oil? Do they just press a bunch of olives and that pressing pushes out the oil? How many olives does it take to fill a 24-ounce bottle? To be clear, I am not going to start pressing my own olive oil. And I don't want to make my own coconut oil. I only have so much time and I want to be able to shoot and edit together fun videos for you and, you know, hang out with my friends and play ultimate frisbee. Raisins, maybe that one I could do. But to be honest, those grapes will never make it to be raisins. I'll eat them all before they have the chance to dehydrate.
I just want to have some understanding of what goes into growing, producing, and making my food, so I can make educated decisions about what I want to do and what I want to ask others to do for me. Some things I am intimidated by and then when I learn about it I realize it's actually no big deal to make. Like cashew milk or almond milk. Neither of those things are hard to make, or are particularly time consuming. So lately, I've been making my own. And then there are things that are too hard, or time consuming for me personally to want to do. And I'm blessed that I don't really have to do them.
I want to learn about this for my own education and also so that I can genuinely say "thank you" and really know what I'm thankful for. To really have a sense of the work that is entailed. And therefore have a real appreciation for the product.
Thank you for doing what I can't, wont, or don't want to. Thank you for picking my blueberries, and my apples. For growing my lettuce and tomatoes. For tending to the bees that make honey and tapping trees for maple syrup. Thank you for making wine.
What are the foods that you have taken for granted in the past? What do you want to know about it? How it's made? How long it takes? Tell me in the comments!
This post was originally published on Lillian's Test Kitchen.
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