The Yew Tree Bakery, Cafe & Deli
In 2003, I co-created and owned an artisan bakery & café, in Oughterard, Co. Galway, where all of our foods were produced with natural and fresh ingredients. My partner and myself hand-produced the bulk of our breads and cakes and we enjoyed experimenting with different ways of producing old favorites. We then combined these with fresh local produce to serve in our café.
While it was the most exhausting time of my life, it was also one of the most fulfilling.
Our food had the capacity to bring joy, enhance our community and grant us enormous personal satisfaction.
Since I left the shop and have been producing meals for my family only, I’ve found that I take less time to produce meals in the way that I used to. There are always time constraints and sometimes fussy young eaters to contend with.
Think of how odd that is, that I took such effort to produce for customers but less with feeding my own family…
This took me down a road of exploring what food means to me, my children, our physical bodies and how it is a rather forgotten art in Western society. Eating is seen as anything from a means of discipline, entertainment and an activity to avoid boredom. Our food has been transformed into unrecognizably processed “food products” and wrapped up in colorful wrappings.
There are entire generations that have no idea where their food comes from, what real food is and how to cook fresh meals bursting with nutrition and flavor.
What is Food’s Purpose?
When was the last time you concentrated on what you were eating, explored its textures and different flavors? Have you thought about how you feel when you eat particular foods?
Do you think about where your food comes from and how it was produced? Do your children KNOW where food comes from and how it is produced?
Do you leave the dinner table feeling more than your hunger satisfied but energized and enriched?
Eating is our daily activity that is intended to enrich our bodies with necessary protein, fats, fiber, fruit & veg, vitamins & minerals which help our bodies maintain health.
Is this the intention behind your eating?
This goal can be accomplished without sacrificing the pleasure of eating delicious food!
Meals as an Experience
The first completely satisfying meal I remember having was prepared by my friend Heather. She invited my children and I for lunch and she leisurely prepared the most diversely textured, flavored and colorful meal! We joined in the preparation when we arrived and helped to knead dough and grate fresh veggies while sipping a cool glass of Riesling.
The meal consisted of home-baked whole grain pitas, hummus, falafel, grated fresh veggies (carrots, beets) and summer salad greens. I remember helping to ground the garlic in a pestal and mortar. We ate around 2pm and were so fully energized that we didn’t eat again until the next morning.
So many times when we eat, we are temporarily “full”, but are our bodies getting what they need from our meals? I’m convinced that this meal was so satisfying to my body, that it didn’t need another thing until the next day. I also can’t overstate how enjoyable the entire experience was.
Challenge of Sourcing Real Food
Sourcing foods has become more complicated, as even the foods we recently thought were healthy, have been modified, sprayed and left devoid of goodness and flavor. Some are downright dangerous.
One could go crazy trying to keep up with all the challenges, but I aim to be:
- Dilligent in sourcing the most nutritious and healthful foods
- Aware of issues with food to watch out for and to search out better alternatives
- Careful in the preparation of meals to retain nutrition
- Mindful of the effect that my food choices have on our environment, animal welfare, economies
- A parent that instills a healthy attitude toward the plethora of real food that is available to us and one that exposes her children to huge varieties of choices where real pleasure can be derived from eating again
- Take care to minimize food waste
One of the steps along my journey has been taking classes from my Naturopathic Doctor who treats patients with changes in diet rather than pharmaceuticals. I’ve learned that life-long patterns of eating a certain way can have profound effects on our health but also that improved health can be realized in as little as a few weeks, with changes in what and how we eat.
It’s just a matter of learning the correct methods of sourcing and cooking and finding what works for our own individual needs.
There are so many resources, as well, online and otherwise where you can keep on top of food issues, find new tips and recipes. See my real food and safe living resources page for some of my favorite champions of food and safe living. It’s a work in progress and I’ll be adding many more over time.
Food can be enjoyable again!
Look forward to mealtime to gain health and energy from our food; feel fully satisfied with all the beautiful natural flavors and share these times with family and friends.