Every door and window in my sweet whare (house) is open and not because it’s a particularly nice day outside. I have spent much of the weekend cooking up pots of Beans and Peas and Brown Rice to freeze. Gone (for always I am hopeful of) are the days where I ate potatoes every meal or white rice every meal. I spent 3 years eating nothing else but 1kg of frozen veges chucked into a jar of Butter Chicken Sauce with x2 Drumsticks each night. These days, I have Butter Chicken maybe three times a month.
I grew up with British parents who cooked anything and basically everything using Lard. Or if we were having some standard vegetable ie Carrot, Silver Beet and/or Peas, they would be boiled practically void of colour. I remember lying to my Dad when I was 8 years old, convincing him to buy Broccoli for me. I told him that I’d eaten it before at my brothers house after Dad told me I wouldn’t like it. The truth? I’d never eaten it before however there was something oddly alluring me towards the need to eat the stuff. With the colour boiled out of it later on that evening I lost my wonderment of Broccoli.
It wasn’t hip in my household to eat anything as alternative as Broccoli or Cauliflower. Actually, almost anything other than the Lard soaked meat and 2 transparent vegetables were considered alternative.
My brothers wife was an amazing cook. She had vegetables with every evening meal and more often than not the evening meal was some mighty fine looking dish with just vegetables. One afternoon when staying with my brother and his wife, I was feeling rather ill. She made me a bowl of fish in a white sauce on a small bowl of steamed brown rice. I would have been around the age of 8. It was the best kai (food) I’d EVER had the privilege to eat. I can almost taste the dish as I write about it some 39 years later. This is a large contrast to the Porridge on Toast I was used to.
During my adolescent years I ate regular food – anything that was put before me. My twenty something and early thirty something years are still reasonably blurry. One appointment I had with Kaiwhakaora Kai I was trying to make sense of my fear surrounding vegetables and fruit so that I could relay the logic to her. The best I could come up with was I was too scared to eat healthy foods because it would mean I’d live longer. I didn’t want to live longer.
Although that still holds as truth, I’ve since come to realise that cultural influence also played a significant role in my dietary choices. I’m Māori. We eat a lot of “Boil Up” which is basically a cheap cut of meat or pork / bacon bones cooked up in a pot with Puha / Watercress or sometimes Silverbeet. Potatoes are added and then the pot is “boiled up” for a period of hours. In short, a lot of fat from the bones and meat goes into our body. We’re also stereotyped for having a sweet tooth, so we take in a lot of sugary and high fat foods. Fried chicken is another fav ie KFC as is McDonalds. Well, what I came to realise is in being Māori, I felt ashamed in some sense – like, I was better than other Māori for wanting to eat the legumes etc that I did and because “we couldn’t have that” (said in my Mothers best British accent) I made a decision as a child to simply eat what everyone else was.
I’m over that now. I feel safe now that I could and would hold my own if anyone Māori attempted to humiliate my food choices. Fucked a. On that note, I want to proudly display a photo I took after housing the remainder of the Bean and Pea shop I recently had.
The tins are a brand of chocolate powdered drink that I’ve saved for exactly the very moment I found a use for them!
I feel so proud of me each and every time I look at these photos. I learned how to prepare / soak the ones needed and cooking times from this free book / download called Full of Beans. There are a few delicious recipes in the book that I have since made. I refer through to the book regularly.
The Heart Foundation website is packed with heart healthy recipe ideas, however my favourite website is Healthy Food which has to be seen to be believed. Love the site.