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.