A New Direction

3 May

When I started this blog nearly four years ago, I didn’t have many expectations. I simply wanted to have a better understanding of the food we put in our bodies. A recurring element in my recipes has been the individual histories of each dish I create; I think it’s important to know how recipes came to be, and I really adore following the culture that hides behind every dish. But to tell the truth, as of late, simply doing internet searches on food history or relying on my previous travels for culinary and cultural insights simply hasn’t been enough for me. Don’t get me wrong – I still love food history and sharing traditional/classic recipes – I just want to step it up a notch.

Consider the pizza in the picture above. It’s probably fair to say that this little pizza recipe has made a huge contribution to my current readership. Heck, I thought it was important enough to put on the cover of my cookbook, since it’s an excellent representation of classic, traditional, and modern cuisines. And while it’s cool that we can make pizza easily at home and say that we made it from scratch, the pizza above wasn’t really made “from scratch.”

Who harvested the cassava, and how was it processed into tapioca starch? How were the tomatoes grown and transformed into pizza sauce? Under what conditions was the milk produced, and how was it turned into cheese? Where did the salt, white pepper, and oregano come from? These questions aren’t easily answered, even in today’s information age. It’s much easier for me to tell you that oregano is a variety of wild marjoram native to the Mediterranean region than it is to figure out how the oregano in my spice rack actually made it into my home.

So I’m taking The Domestic Man into a new direction, partially inspired by my recent tours of The Culinary Institute of America and my local Whole Foods. Along with continuing to post new recipes every Tuesday, I’m going to start doing a little investigative work on the side. I’ll be traveling to and touring farms, manufacturers, and other organizations involved in the food industry to gain a better understanding of the processes in place to get food onto our tables. I plan on working with everyone from small, family-owned businesses to large, faceless corporations in order to better my understanding of how things work. And obviously, I’m going to share the results of my work with you.

The goal of this project isn’t to judge these food producers as being “good” or “bad”, but rather to look at the environment they are working in and how that affects us as consumers. I’m not an investigative journalist, policy maker, or food scientist; I’m simply a home chef with a nagging feeling that there’s more to what we eat than what we eat.

I should mention that if you are a farm or company involved in something related to food, send me an email so we can brainstorm some ideas. Bear in mind that these travels will be limited by my (constantly shrinking) free time and budget, but overall I’m very excited to get started. As always, thanks for sticking around.

Russ

56 Responses to “A New Direction”

  1. Lauroth1@aol.com May 3, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    Great! Looking forward to seeing where the research leads you. Love the idea and will continue to stay tuned. In the meantime, thank you for all of your wonderful recipes and the background information that goes with them. It is very satisfying to cook, eat, and understand them.

    • Russ Crandall May 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

      Thanks Laura! I really enjoy looking up the history of each recipe as I develop them, so I’m glad you like it!

  2. Pam May 3, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Very cool. If you did videos of your “investigations” as well, that would be a great thing to show kids so they know where their food comes from.

    • Russ Crandall May 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

      Pam, good idea! I need to brush up on my cinematography skills :)

  3. laura.roth@jhilburnpartner.com May 3, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Great! Looking forward to seeing where the research leads you. Love the idea and will continue to stay tuned. In the meantime, thank you for all of your wonderful recipes and the background information that goes with them. It is very satisfying to cook, eat, and understand them.

  4. chopandbrew May 3, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    I look forward to every step of your journey, Russ! Cheers to you.

  5. lisakeys64 May 3, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    one of my favorite old food network shows is called “Unwrapped”…completely fascinated by how the products are conceived, where the products come from and how they are made and how they get to the store

    • Russ Crandall May 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

      Lisa, I forgot about that show! Definitely similar to what I’m thinking.

  6. Shelah May 3, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    Russ, sounds like an amazing educational adventure and I can’t wait read of your travels and experiences!

  7. Kayla Hill May 3, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    If you’re gonna be around Chester County Pa I highly recommend checking out Wyebrook Farm located in Honey Brook Pa. Check out the website http://www.wyebrookfarm.com. We love everything they do from their Friday night dinners to their delicious market selection. Wyebrook also host chef dinners and butchering classes throughout the year. Worth checking out!! Personally not involved with the farm besides for being a loyal customer but thought I’d share with you anyway. Good luck on your new travels.

  8. Maria May 3, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    I’m excited to hear about it. I hope you give recommendations about what we can buy. Thanks

  9. Coconut Contentment May 3, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Excited to follow this new adventure you are beginning. I think it’s a wonderful direction to go! One of the things I love most about your blog is that you do share the culture and the history of dishes. I have always loved learning about other cultures – and through my own travels I gained a hunger to keep learning more. And thankfully so much can be learned through the “smallest” things – such as a recipe. Best wishes!

    • Russ Crandall May 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

      Emily – I agree! I’m pretty excited to share my adventures as well.

  10. Padaek May 3, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    Excellent! Love new chapters – and looking forward to reading more of your findings. Bon voyage! :)

  11. studiosnacks May 3, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    All the best, Russ!

  12. bimuse May 3, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    Outstanding. I am looking forward to the journey.

  13. Sam May 3, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    Sounds great Russ and I look forward to reading about what you dig up!

  14. alifemoment May 3, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    Our life is full of changes, I like new chapters. I wish you all the best :)

    • Russ Crandall May 5, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

      Alice – I agree, it’s been so long since I made any significant changes on the website that I’m looking forward to this new project!

  15. Lori H May 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    Just found you through Nom Nom Paleo. Excited to hear about your new direction and look forward to seeing where it takes you (and us!).

  16. ~JackieVB May 3, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    Very exciting news Russ, while reading this post I kept thinking about a show called “Under the Sun”, the host was Nathan LeRoy and he would travel all around the world to organic/sustainable farms to show people how much better it is when food is grown in that manner. Anyway, I really enjoyed watching it, I found it so inspirational to learn about the origins of good whole food and I’m hoping your new adventure helps you to inspire even more people than you have already.

  17. Jennifer Burke May 3, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

    What an awesome idea! Good luck and can’t wait to see what you uncover :-)

    Jennifer Burke

  18. Alison May 3, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    I can’t wait to see what you discover. One of the reasons I like your blog, is because of this background information you provide. I’m really excited for you.

  19. EllaDee May 3, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

    “These days” food encompasses a whole range of things and it’s only by knowing its provenance we can have jurisdiction over what we eat, so your new direction makes sense, as so many of us are no longer willing to just eat up what’s on offer without question.

  20. stylesocietyguyblog May 4, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    So inspired by your blog. I stumbled across it about 8 weeks ago. Keep up the good work.

  21. Elizabeth Agren May 4, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Looking forward to these posts, thanks!

  22. Matt May 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    I look forward to your new direction. While many of us in the “paleo” community try our best to buy grass-fed, etc we really don’t know much about the farms where we buy our products. I look forward to your in-depth reports. Also, I’m sure you will already do this, but please mention if/when you are being paid or receve incentives for reviewing any products. Thanks!

    • Russ Crandall May 5, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

      Matt, I agree – even in the Paleo community we know very little about where our food comes from. I’ll most definitely disclose any payments/perks (if any) that result from my adventures :)

  23. thesensitivefoodie May 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    Sounds fantastic! Great to know where your food comes from. Have fun! Looking forward to reading :)

  24. Amanda May 4, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    I love it. I think it’s a wonderful idea. It’s so important to know how our food is made and where it comes from.

  25. goatsandgreens May 5, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    Definitely looking forward to your new direction! It helps to stir things up a bit, I’m sure.

  26. gjoelfranco May 5, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    Really looking forward to the new study/research! Too few people care or pay attention to where food cokes from…videos would be awesome addition indeed! All the best!

    • Russ Crandall May 5, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      I hadn’t really thought about videos, but it’s a good point!

  27. Susan May 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    This sounds so interesting! I can’t wait to read more.

  28. mommycookforme July 19, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Great post and wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing, The Domestic Man!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A New Direction | Paleo Digest - May 3, 2014

    […] Domestic Man / Posted on: January 01, 1970The Domestic Man – When I started this blog nearly four years ago, I didn’t have many expectations. I […]

  2. A Weekend at Tendergrass Farms | The Domestic Man - June 29, 2014

    […] month, I wrote about how I wanted to take my blog in a new direction by visiting and writing about food producers around the world, in order to better understand how […]

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