Eating Local for Urban Families. Gluten-free and Dairy-free, too!

About Dirt to Dish

When I started this blog I had a sweet toddler on my hip and a precocious three-year-old climbing my legs. I was working from home for the first time since I became a mom, and I either had one large project or a few smaller ones. My work was interesting and refreshingly predictable, which was nothing like the all-consuming venture of running a marketing design agency, which I did for five years before my second daughter was born.

For the first time in my life I had time to cook real food. I read articles and books about the emerging Eat Local Movement. I made jams and crisps in the mornings and 10-ingredient dinners in the afternoons. After dinner, we lounged in the backyard among the arugula and plums and calendula. I had time and joy. (Whoever said money buys happiness was wrong. Time buys happiness. Ask any working mother. Or any happy person.)

And then exciting work opportunities opened up and my consulting business grew. The toddler became a preschooler. I still cooked, but I didn't write about it. There was no good way to make dinner in the evening and write notes and take pictures without meltdowns. (I still don't really have that figured out.)

And more than that, I was frustrated with food. I finally got hit with the gluten-intolerance that plagues a good portion of my mother's side of the family. I went through more than a good year of hating food for making me so sick. But I got through that. And I adjusted to the rest of my family's allergy to all dairy products. I developed deep gratitude for all the other food bloggers sharing gluten-free recipes with fresh, local ingredients. Like Gluten-free Girl and the Chef, and Gluten-free Goddess. Both of these women helped me see gluten-free was not the end of food for me but simply a way to look at food from a different vantage point.

And then last year I became the (mostly) sole breadwinner in the family. I started working long hours. And there was barely time for cooking. Dinner got very, very simple. And involved a lot of crockpots and breakfast-for-dinner nights. (Or, eating out, which we really couldn't afford.)

All along I never gave up my commitment to eating locally.  I still planted my seeds (or they planted themselves) and tended the greens and squashes in my little vegetable garden. And we still went to our neighborhood farmers market; I even joined the board.

And now here I am with a thriving little business, busy little girls, and a husband juggling a dozen people's dreams. My expectations of what food can do for me, my family and the world are grounded in a deeper connection to the rhythm of seasons and an appreciation for all the flavors and textures the world has to offer. And, if it's not obvious by the recipes here, a commitment to our continued personal health via a gluten-free and dairy-free diet.

What started as an experiment with jam, then turned to something of an obsession with all we can find in our local food shed, has happily settled into a comfortable balance of delicious, healthful seasonal foods with whatever twist strikes our fancy. As long as I can get it on the table in 30 minutes, of course.