As I browsed through VegeAtlas—Jacqueline Donaldson’s blog—I sensed a caring soul. She takes the time to explain the seasons, demystify an edible weed and share delicious vegetarian fare. And as I read, I find myself thinking…yum. Which is very pleasant indeed!
Describe your dish
This is a take on the classic Spanish dish—garbanzos con espinacas (spinach with chickpeas). Homemade breadcrumbs have been toasted with garlic and walnuts, and balsamic vinegar has been added along with Tuscan kale and chickpeas. Once the kale has slightly wilted, it’s ready. I’ve served it on a bed of biodynamic brown rice along with a healthy glug of olive oil and sea salt and pepper to taste. Simple, nourishing (protein, iron and calcium for the veggies), delicious and adaptable to whatever you have in the fridge (I’ve made this dish with spinach, mushrooms, olives, capsicum etc.).
How does your dish portray your relationship with food?
I believe food should excite you with aroma, flavour, texture and colour, should be enlivening for your body (and soul) and should come from a place of love and respect. I always cook from scratch, buy the majority of my food at farmers’ markets or small stores and make sure most of it is organic or biodynamic—whether certified or not. In this way, I not only get more nutrients and dynamism from my food but often a relationship with the people who are kind enough to spend their energy producing it—and it takes so much better! I also cringe at the amount of chemicals, preservatives and additives in processed foods and know that my food choices impact the environment less if I avoid supermarket food.
What inspired your food behaviour?
My family imparted a love of good food to me and we always had vegetables growing in the garden and everything was cooked from scratch. But what changed my relationship with food forever was when I stayed at a friend’s farm when I was 10. There was a pet sheep in the front yard and one afternoon she escaped. We made a frantic dash in the car to the other side of the farm where at a shed, sheep were being slaughtered. As the adults searched the waiting sheep, I watched the process and was deeply shocked—firstly by what I saw, then by the thought of how one sheep could be so loved and the rest not considered at all. At 12 I stated I wanted to be a vegetarian but due to massive opposition, I had to slowly stop eating meat. I left home to go overseas at 19 and as soon as I got on the plane I became a dedicated vegetarian (no fish, no chicken). Ultimately my food choices have been an evolution over time, but since an early age I’ve drifted towards whole, organic, meat-free food because it intrinsically feels right.
What do you wish for the future of food?
Every Saturday when I go to the farmers’ market my heart just lifts—I hope that it won’t take long for everyone to realise how special it is to know the people who grow our food, and that if we want dynamic, nourishing food to eat, it is important to support them. I would also dearly love to see an end to factory farming and see all producers of meat, eggs and dairy raising their animals with respect for their sacrifice and with love.
If you’d like to tell your food story, hit me up @flavourcrusader or email me at info AT flavourcrusader DOT com