Our modern lives are often missing a sense of community. We all need a community of people for support, for sharing and for learning. Creating Community is a series on VintageAmanda where we have a virtual “cup of tea and a sit down” with a kindred spirit. This week we meet Jenny from Nourished Kitchen.
Jenny is the creator of Nourished Kitchen, which is a site all about reviving traditional foods. In her own words:
“Nourished Kitchen’s goal is to promote sustainable agriculture and nutrient-dense, whole foods in everyday kitchens. The focus is on whole, unrefined foods prepared according to traditional methods that optimize nutrient density. Cherish your body, nourish your kitchen.”
Jenny shares her recipes and experiences with a traditional foods diet. She also offers online courses to learn to incorporate traditional foods into your own life! Her new How to Cook Real Food course contains over 45 videos and 100 recipes to teach you how to prepare healthy, delicious meals for your family.
If you’re not familiar with Nourished Kitchen, here are some recipes to get you started:
- Easy Roast Chicken – Just getting started with whole foods? Try this!
- Sourdough Focaccia with Grapes and Rosemary – Jenny’s personal favorite recipe.
Now let’s make a cup of tea and get to know Jenny including her Top 3 Simple Tips for having a Nourished Kitchen…
Amanda: Hi Jenny! I’m a regular reader of Nourished Kitchen, but how do you explain your site to someone who has never seen it before?
Jenny: Nourished Kitchen is devoted to traditional foods – those deeply nourishing and half-forgotten foods that nourished generation upon generation at the rustic and worn kitchen tables of the old world.
We eat butter, heavy cream, raw milk, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meats, sourdough bread and heirloom vegetables – relishing every minute of it.
Amanda: How did you get started with real, whole, traditional foods?
Jenny: I’ve always been interested in whole foods, but I found traditional foods by chance when I started looking into making my own yogurt.
Then I participated in an online cookbook swap where I landed a copy of Nourishing Traditions. I was a vegetarian at the time, so the concept of acknowledging meat and animal foods as healthy was new and a bit unsettling to me, but I fell in love with the movement.
Amanda: We’ve talked about the idea of nourishment before on VintageAmanda, what nourishes you and why is nourishment important?
Jenny: I think that many of us interpret the word nourish to mean food, or the way food interacts with our body, but for me it’s a broader term that speaks to whole body and whole spirit wellness. Nourishment extends not only to what we eat, how we prepare it and where it comes from, but also how we cherish ourselves, love our bodies (flaws and all), care for our children and give ourselves to our community.
For me, I do this by purchasing our foods direct from ethical farms practicing traditional methods of growing foods and raising animals. I do it when I prepare a supper of fresh, local real food – whether that’s feeding my tiny family of 3 or a crowd of 300 at our community’s harvest suppers.
I do it when I take my child into the woods to forage for wild mushrooms and hidden pockets of alpine strawberries.
I nourish myself when I wake up in the morning and tell my husband I love him, or when we rise early on Sundays to run our local farmes market, or stay late on Monday evenings to run our local real food bank.
That, for me, is true nourishment.
What are your top 3 tips for busy people who want to create a ‘nourished’ kitchen?
- Buy single ingredient foods. This step alone will eliminate almost all of the junk that makes it into your diet.
- Rely on your slow cooker. It’s like having someone else cook for you and it makes cooking simple, nourishing dinners so easy.
- Honor yourself. There is no one perfect diet. You don’t have to do everything perfectly all the time. Every little bit that you can manage counts. Give yourself a bit of a break.
Amanda: You’re very active in your community and promoting a healthy, whole, traditional foods diet. How can readers get involved and give back to the movement?
Jenny: I find that nourishment extends beyond ourselves to how we interact with those around us. Giving back is a fundamental part of my daily life, and a huge reason why I started Nourished Kitchen.
There are so many ways to give back and to support other people, your community and the movement as a whole.
- Consider helping a farmer to organize a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture scheme).
- Consider volunteering at a farmers market (trust me: most market managers are desperate for help!)
- Instead of giving prepackaged or canned goods to your local food bank, find out when they operate and stop by with fresh produce from your garden or the market.
- Work with local foods advocates and restaurants in your area to create a local food day.
- Give a demonstration of sprouting, yogurt making or gardening at your kid’s school.
- Get involved with your local farm-to-school program.
- Setup a real food dining cooperative or fermentation club.
- Start a community garden.
- Invite neighborhood kids over to pick strawberries or taste the herbs in your kitchen garden.
Always stay abreast of local and national legislation. Get to know your representatives and make sure they know you, too. Ask hard questions; give real results. Be a squeaky wheel. If no local foods infrastructure exists in your area, stop complaining… and start something!
Nothing will happen if you’re not taking the lead.
Amanda: What is one common confusion people have about creating a nourished kitchen?
Jenny: I really wish that, instead of seeking one perfect diet for everyone, people would take what they need from the philosophy of traditional foods, put it in place in a practical way in their lives, and just sit down and enjoy their food.
Amanda: Thanks for sharing all this great information! What’s next for you and Nourished Kitchen?
Jenny: Well, spring is gearing up. I’ll be planting my gardens soon. I’m working like crazy on our farmers market with plans to get more and more local foods into the restaurants. I’m planning a new online cooking class for the summer, and am working steadfastly on my cookbook which is due out in Spring 2014, published by Ten Speed Press.
What do you think about Jenny’s traditional food philosophy? How do you create your own Nourished Kitchen at home?