What Drives Us (Our Culinary Genre)

There are so many genres of food out there:  "real," vegan,  raw,  shameless decadence, gluten-free, low carb, and so forth.

Where do we fit? Sometimes I feel like I am walking into the high school cafeteria with my home-packed lunch, trying to decide on a table. I look in my lunch box, and see a cheese sandwich on homemade bread, an apple and some carrot sticks. I have a cup of coffee in my lug-a-mug. My meal is not vegan or gluten free. The carrot sticks are organic, but the apple is not because our local grocery store has a limited organic section. Coffee? That cannot be heathy...

Instead of trying to identify the Stealthy Kitchen by comparing ourselves to others, I can tell you what drives us:

Specific Dietary Needs. We need a low sodium diet and, like every mom, I try to get our kids to eat as many vegetables as possible. I have food allergies so certain ingredients are out. We avoid food additives like MSG, artificial flavourings, preservatives and colours. 

Kindness to the Earth. We are aware that how we eat affects the earth: Meat takes a lot of energy to produce. Pesticides, chemical fertilizers and GMOs are contaminating our rivers and food supply. By supporting organic farmers and limiting our meat consumption, we help a little bit. Cutting back on processed foods cuts back on packaging waste, and helps a little, as does composting and recycling. Leading by example may show others how to help a little, and if our kids learn from us, we help the next generation, if only a little.

Shopping Locally. This one is tricky. We live in rural Iowa, and our local grocery store carries more brands of frozen pizza than varieties of organic food. To meet the growing demand (YAY!) for organic and whole foods they are stocking organic milk, some produce and bulk items. There is a local farmers' market in the summertime where we can find fresh fruits and veggies. We buy what we can locally and pick up a monthly shipment from Azure Standard for most of the rest. 

Money. Did I mention that I am a stay-at-home mom with two little kids? Quinoa flour costs five bucks a pound, while I can still get a five-pound bag of whole wheat flour for three. As much as I would like to cook with only organic produce and ancient grains, we eat on the cheap and mix in the good stuff. Scratch cooking allows us to eat as naturally as possible.

Animal Welfare. Factory farming is just wrong to me. I could go on and on about the food safety and food quality issues that arise from squeezing hens into crates to lay eggs onto conveyor belts or cramming sows into farrowing crates. Feedlot farming has been empirically linked to a deadly strain of E coli, one that gets into the water table and can cause outbreaks via municipal drinking water

I would rather my family do without eggs than buy factory farmed ones. Thankfully, there is a guy down the street who sells fresh duck eggs for a dollar-and-a-half a dozen. We have gone years without pork until we found a local, old fashioned farmer who sells us an annual hog. Our local grocery store is willing to get organic, grass-fed beef. 

Again, where do we fit? We do not belong to any one crowd, so I will share what I have brought with everybody.  If I happen to have a recipe that is meat and dairy free, I tag it as Vegan, and always tag the Gluten Free recipes to make them easy to find.

Come on in and see what I have to share. You might just find something to take away with you!

- Stealthy Mom, January 2012

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