And so begins our 9 week traditional food jaunt through Europe. Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland. The purpose is three-fold: to introduce the newest young member of the clan to his European elders; to sample as many nose-to-tail delights as possible and to broaden our knowledge of traditional foods in general. My feeble attempt to address the enormous void that exists on the traditional foods front in Australia.
It’s taken us a few days to get used to the new timezone and lingering Winter temps (1 degree on our *very brisk* walk the other morning, eeeek!), but we’re now settled into our new life and loving every minute.
It’s not TOO much of a stretch, when my mother-in-law (our host for the next couple of weeks) is a talented German housewife whose lifelong dream was to own a bed-and-breakfast. A master illusionist, is she. You never really spy her working, but our perfectly pressed clothes appear on the stairs each morning and the dining table is always immaculately set. The aroma of traditional cooking is constant.
Above: another day, another huge spread of nourishing traditional food, made with love. (That forgotten and very legitimate ingredient.) And just when I was impressed with the stained and faded cookbook from the early 70’s, Oma pulls out another from 1875! So much gold in there. Tonnes of nose-to-tail recipes. I’ve been pestering hubby to translate so that we can get these age-old techniques into my workshops.
Embracing traditional food & simplicity
One thing that is always so immediately apparent when we’re over here is the firmly established traditions. Something few Australians have ties to, unless they’ve been lucky enough to grow up within a tight-knit ethnic community.
Jude Blereau refers to traditional food awareness and kitchen know-how as ‘Food Culture’. It’s that deep-seated knowledge we absorb by osmosis, whenever our families prepare food from scratch. We talk to Jude in the What To Eat program about the disintegration of food culture in Australia and how it’s impacting this generation of children. (And us as well – making us gullible prey for the food and fad diet industries!)
I left our interview even more passionate about enlightening fellow mums about just how empowering it can be to rekindle this abandoned wisdom. Once you’ve learnt the ropes, it saves you time, a great deal of money and in a nutshell: creates a simpler, sweeter life. Something we’re all craving – especially our children.
I’d really like to see the reintegration of traditional food culture in Australia, so that we can enjoy what the Europeans take for granted. I’m looking forward to absorbing everything I can and sharing what I learn along the way.
And I wont pretend for a moment that this is a purely altruistic mission. Let’s be honest. As a dedicated foodie, this might just be the best 9 weeks of my life.
Any and all recommendations welcome – leave me a comment below! x