Staff participant Jen Joyce is back today with her observations on the relationship with food that most of us at Green Mountain have. In a word, it’s about love.
As a former dieter who has struggled with her weight most of her adult life, I always assumed that fit people had a lot more self control than I did. Perhaps, I thought, there was a gene I was missing. Even within my friends who are fit, when we go out to eat it always seems to be about what we aren’t having rather than what we are having. When one of us has something we ‘shouldn’t’ have, then we all throw restraint to the wind and order appetizers and entrees we wouldn’t dream of getting if everyone else was having salad. My girlfriends talk about having a ‘good’ week and a ‘bad’ week, the latter meaning they ate ice cream that week.
So, it’s surprised me as a participant here to observe the love affair the staff here at Green Mountain have with food. They don’t just talk about it. They grow it in their gardens and those that don’t have garden space plant pots on whatever porch they have. They bring in their bounty and show it around as a prize and compare it with others as if Green Mountain were a state fair. When weekend plans are discussed, going to the farmers’ market is something they talk about with great excitement as if they were going to see the newest movie or try a new restaurant. Social plans are often around baking bread or making soup out of all kinds of greens.
The focus here is always on the best quality and making the best-tasting soup, entrée, or cookies possible. And in that search for the best, they naturally gravitate towards fresh, fresh, fresh. If they can grow it, they do. If they can make it from scratch, they try as much as possible. In this quest for the best of the best, things like Oreos and Doritos fall away as irrelevant. It’s not because they ‘should,’ it’s because fresh tastes so much better.
And in all this food talk you never hear ‘can’t’ or ‘shouldn’t.’ It’s more like, if I want ice cream I am going to drive across the state to find the very best or I am not going to bother to eat it at all. There’s never any discussion of calories or fat content or anything either. Staff talk about how ‘this food made me feel bloated’ or ‘this food made me feel great’ sometimes. And guess what, when you are honest with yourself, a lot of foods you classify as ‘bad’ actually don’t make anyone feel all that great.
This take on eating has inspired me. I am not ready to start a garden. But maybe some herbs in the kitchen window. And a date with my girlfriends to bake bread.