What is a frugavore?
‘Frugavore’ describes a ‘love of frugality’.. So in a cooking sense, a ‘frugavore’ is a person who grows much of their own food, buys local produce, wastes nothing and always eats well.
What inspired you to write "Frugavore"?
I had long been into buying organic and local produce, but the inspiration to write Frugavore started when I was teaching a group of kids in a temporary housing estate how to cook healthy food on a low budget. I wanted to show them that eating low-budget meals didn’t have to constitute eating junk food and processed food from the supermarket or fast-food outlet. You could eat good quality food on a low budget - you just needed to source and prepare it frugally.
So I started writing up weekly recipes and tips for the kids and eventually this collection of ideas became the first draft of Frugavore…
Can you tell me a little about your journey towards changing the way you shop, cook and eat?
The journey to becoming a frugavore was definitely an eventful one! It involved growing more of our own food (this meant ripping up the front lawn to start a vegie patch) we got a few chickens, built up our compost pile (so that less rubbish left our property, all of it turned into fertiliser for the garden) and also started buying more produce directly from our local farm.
Along the way, I soon realised how wasteful our previous habits of food preparation and storage had been. I think that becoming a frugavore made me a lot more conscious about the environmental implications of food and how much we had previously wasted. Now, I can’t look at produce that has excess packaging or won’t easily biodegrade easily into my compost. Once you start being a frugavore, it’s hard to stop!!
But I think the biggest benefit of being a frugavore is that it is really a lot of fun, and our lifestyles have changed all the better for it .... I have come to love waking up early in the morning just to water the garden, coming home from work to see the chickens walking up their ramp into their house. And I still get a huge amount of enjoyment out of spending a Saturday afternoon weeding and harvesting plants for the upcoming week, making stock out of chicken feet and carcasses, and preserving our food whenever I have a moment free.
What has the response from readers been like?
The response from people has been great! I’ve had plenty of people come up to me at farmer’s markets and food stores telling me about the vegetables they are growing and the chicken stock that they’re making. A lady approached me in my yoga class last week telling me about the guerrilla garden that she’s set up in front of her apartment block. I love hearing about these things!
Do you think, as a whole, the nation is becoming more conscious of the food we buy and consume?
Definitely. I think people are beginning to realise the environmental cost of our ever-expanding food waste. Our landfills are vastly overflowing, and there is an excess of chemical run-off seeping into our oceans. In Australia alone, annual food waste is estimated at 5.3billion each year. That’s a lot of money!
At the same time, people are craving a healthier food supply with more nutrient-dense produce. This can only be achieved if we connect directly to the source of our food (by growing it ourselves, or shopping directly from the farm or local seller). We need to cook more food at home and cut out processed foods from our diet.
There has also been a strong move toward connecting to local farms and supporting local food economies during the past decade. This can be seen in the increase in grass-root food movements such as Slow Food (www.slowfood.com <http://www.slowfood.com> ), The Weston A. Price Foundation (www.westonaprice.org <http://www.westonaprice.org> ), community gardens, guerrilla gardening and landshare movements. I hope that we see even more of these movements in the future!!
Can you give three simple tips for how to save money at the checkout without sacrificing quality in the trolley?
1- TIPS FOR FRESH PRODUCE: Always look for produce that is in season as it will be fresher, better for you and usually cheaper too (as it is in local abundance). If you are able to shop through local producers you will often get a better deal on fresh produce as the price will fluctuate more. You can also have the satisfaction that you are supporting the local food economy.
2- TIPS FOR CHICKEN & DUCK: Look for the best quality produce (ie organic, free-range chicken), but buy food in bulk rather than the smaller cuts.
For example – two chicken breasts cost roughly the same amount as a whole chicken (at most, they are a dollar or two cheaper). Two chicken breasts really only allow for dinner for two people. So instead, if you buy the whole bird, you can roast it or make it into chicken soup (I have an awesome recipe for this in Frugavore). If you roast it, you can collect all the scraps after the meal and make it into stock, and then use this as a base for a light soup the following night. With either dish, you can use the leftovers (chicken meat) to make an easy leftover dish such as chicken with rice.
3- TIPS FOR LAMB, BEEF & FISH: Look for the cheaper cuts of meat and fish – casserole cuts, off-cuts, bones and fish heads. These ‘off-cuts’ are often significantly cheaper than the prime cuts (steak, eye-fillet etc). If you buy the ‘off-cuts’ you can then justify spending those extra dollars on better quality meat (look for grass-fed and organic). Fish heads and bones are often given away at markets and these form a beautiful base for fish soup (which is highly nutritious).
Saturday, February 5, 2011
frugavore + book giveaway
What is a frugavore?