What is a foodie?
Mathea Tanner, 33, was raised with a strong interest in food. Her father was from the South and her mother was Greek. Dinner time was a fusion of foods from their two cultures. Her upbringing played a role on why she is a foodie, today. For Mathea, one of the first things she thinks about in the morning is, “What am I going to eat and prepare today?”
“I think being a food lover, you start to think about where your food comes from and that naturally starts to impact; what you think about as far as who you are; what it means for your health and what it means for everyone around you,” Tanner said.
Mathea has a food blog called littlefigblog.com. She posts seasonal recipes with a focus on how she eats. Her diet is gluten light with a focus on creating vegetarian dishes during the week and meat-centered entrees on the weekend. Her blog has not always been so health conscious, previously she had one focused on fun food and baking. Then she had an eye-opening moment when both of her parents passed away before their 60th birthdays. Her father passed away from a heart attack, and her mother lost the battle against breast cancer. She started to realize, for better or for worse, a lot of their health issues could have arguably been prevented or improved if their diet had been better.
“I was going through all of my dad’s things, and I found his final bank statement, which was filled with charges from fast food restaurants. He had gotten into a bad habit of picking up fast food on his way home from work,” Tanner said.
One thing you will not find on Mathea’s blog is a recipe with pineapple in the middle of winter. She has a lot of recipes she would like to be posting right now, but she said it almost feels inappropriate — “like wearing white after labor day.”
“Not only is food more nutritional when you eat it in season, but it is hugely better for the environment. Much more energy goes into producing a fruit or vegetable that is grown in a hot house and shipped to you, than grown in the middle of the summer a couple miles from your house. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be eating locally when we are surrounded by farm land,” Tanner said.
Mathea moved to Terre Haute two years ago via Chicago. Her favorite place to buy food, even in the winter, is the Downtown Terre Haute Farmers Market. She recommends that everyone to go to the Farmers Market. Talk to a producer and it will change your mind how you feel about the vegetables you bring home.
“We have local growers that I can go and have dinner with tonight, who I have gotten to know as friends, that would never happen in the city of Chicago. This is a huge advantage. When you can sit down to a meal and know the person who grew the food with their own two hands, is your friend, that takes it to a completely different level that has nothing to do with nourishment,” Tanner said.
When Mathea does head into a grocery store she looks at what is fresh, in season and organic. She does not plan dinner by a recipe, instead she fixes dinner around what she finds most appealing at the grocery store. For example if spaghetti squash is in season, she will focus a meal around the squash. If one is unsure how to create a recipe using spaghetti squash on the fly, she suggests searching the Internet for sources. It is a two second process that will provide thousands of recipes.
The Organic Argument
There is no doubt that organic food can cost double or triple that of its rivaled processed counterpart. One may not be able to taste the difference between organic produce and if there is actually more nutrition, but for Mathea she has two reasons why she heads to the organic aisle first.
1) There is an environmental impact that people may not even think about when it comes to pesticides and how your food is treated.
2) She feels there are some health risks to long term exposure to certain pesticides that she can’t put a price on.
“I feel it is incredibly urgent that people take a close look at what they do with their food every day because it has made a huge difference in my life. In the time I have changed how I eat, I have seen a huge difference in how I think, how I am motivated in every part of my life. I have a clearer head, I am more energetic. I can’t really put a price on that. How much of a price can you put on feeling better?” Tanner said.
Thee Steps to
Becoming a Foodie
1) Forget what you think you know about preparing vegetables. Search for a new way. For example trying roasting Brussels sprouts with olive oil, pepper and salt instead of steaming them.
2) Try a new ingredient or cuisine every week/month.
3) Invest a little in your kitchen equipment. Every kitchen should have a chef’s knife; one cutting board for vegetables and another for meat; a large, heavy-bottomed stainless steel or cast iron skillet; a sheet pan with a rim and a large soup pot.
Jane Santucci is an environmental freelance writer for the Tribune-Star. Santucci is a volunteer with TREES Inc. and Our Green Valley. She also sits on the Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries Board of Directors. Share your environmental stories and tips with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a foodie?
- Valley Life
ENGAGEMENTS: Published April 20, 2014
BIRTHDAY: Published April 20, 2014
Anna Ruth Long will observe her 90th birthday
Rockville native remembers ride through Pacers’ last championship season
The star player greeted the rookie with a bold promise.
It revealed the caliber of the team that surrounded Bill “Fig” Newton, a 22-year-old center, fresh out of Louisiana State University. He found himself in training camp with a virtual all-star squad.
YOUR GREEN VALLEY: Make the conscious decision to vote with your food dollar
Voting has begun in the primary election. If you think change only comes from the top and voting only happens at the polls, think again. Every time you buy food, you are in essence, voting for the company that produced, packaged and marketed it. You are voting for every product you put into your body.
TRIED 'N' TRUE: A sweet doughnut for an after-school snack
When we were young, mother would fix doughnuts for an after-school snack. I’ve made this one and another that takes yeast and takes a while to rise.
‘Passion in the Park’ re-enacts birth, trial, crucifixion, resurrection of Jesus
Many say it is a life-changing experience that brings the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus to life. It is certainly a community effort driven by a desire of many volunteer Christians who come together to express their passion for the passion of Jesus Christ.
Anniversary listings: April 13, 2014
Mr. and Mrs. John Berry
Engagement listings: April 13, 2014
Providence Food Pantry going strong after year at new location
The setup inside the building makes it feel like you’re walking into a “mom-and-pop” grocery store, with a check-in area, and aisles for patrons to walk through and eye all the food set up perfectly on tables.
YOUR GREEN VALLEY: Time to take next step toward Wabash Valley Food Hub
I hope a few years from now we can look back and have a fantastic story to tell about how the Wabash Valley Food Hub was born and be an inspiration for communities across our great nation.
TRIED ’N’ TRUE: Use this sauce on ribs, pork chops, hamburgers and more
A friend of mine from church invited us to her home to celebrate her son, Nick’s graduation.
She had made so much food I couldn’t believe it. Her husband can’t eat a lot of different food.
She made a barbecue chicken — but you can use this on ribs, pork chops, hamburgers, etc.
ENGAGEMENTS: April 6, 2014
ANNIVERSARY: April 6, 2014
Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Hardesty
Engagement listing: March 30, 2014
Shape of an Idea: Inspiration flows from 19th-century songwriter to modern-day sculpture in his honor
As a child, Teresa Clark played near a river. A century earlier, young Paul Dresser did the same.
Their memories inspired artwork. A song Dresser wrote in 1897 flows through a sculpture Clark is now creating.
GRAPE SENSE: Winemakers, grape growers anxious to educate public at state fair
Indiana winemakers are anxious to pour their wines at the Indiana State Fair, and Hoosier grape growers are ready to stand alongside Indiana’s other agricultural producers.
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: You won’t believe these cookies are made with soda crackers
This is one of those recipes that when you taste them you want the recipe, but you don’t believe they are made with a certain ingredient.
Vigo parks offer spring programs
Throughout 2014, the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department will offer fun, educational programs that will engage participants through hands-on learning. Programs are designed to convey knowledge regarding nature, conservation and environment.
Anniversary listing: March 30, 2014
Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Jackson
CHRIS DAVIES: Important cornerstones to fitness and longevity
Weight loss secrets they don’t want you to know about: genius marketing. Fraudulent? Yes. Genius, nonetheless. Look at the droves of people who were betting their weight loss hopes on a quick fix. It happens all the time.
Miss Crossroads, Miss Banks to be crowned March 29 and 30
Forty-four young women will compete March 29 and 30 for spots in June’s Miss Indiana Scholarship pageant.
Exhibit showcases history of churches in Terre Haute
This summer everyone is invited to an old fashioned, interdenominational church summer picnic celebrating that “Old Time Religion,” as part of the Vigo County Historical Society Museum’s opening exhibit for 2014. The exhibit and associated events will take a look back at how religion has shaped the development of the Wabash Valley.
Author visits birthplace of Calvin Coolidge
Editor’s Note: Today, in this seventh and final installment of Mike Lunsford’s “New England Journal,” the writer visits a small town in south central Vermont, birthplace of the nation’s 30th President, Calvin Coolidge. Be sure to look for Mike’s regular column in Monday’s edition of the Tribune-Star.
GRAPE SENSE: Unoaked Chard the perfect complement to a dish like Chicken Lyon
Everyone has heard the old wine/food pairing advice of red wine with red meat and white wine with fish or chicken.
For the most part, that’s not a bad guideline which will work more often than not. But as you really get into wine and start referring to yourself as a “foodie,” the simplistic advice just won’t work.
TRIED ’N’ TRUE: A recipe for a family who loves onions
In our family, we love onions. My sister, Pam, sent me this recipe.
When Gene and I were first married I made everything with onions (his mother didn’t flavor her meals). They were good old country meals — meat, potatoes, gravy and desserts.
ENGAGEMENT: Published March 16, 2014
Guiding Star: Inspired by family, Terre Haute native rallies famous names to fund cancer research
Famous people filled the Riviera Country Club, a scenic golf resort in affluent Pacific Palisades, Calif.
A city block away, Sunset Boulevard runs toward the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Monica Mountains overlook it all. Inside the Riviera, during a 2009 fundraising dinner, Terre Haute attorney Tony Tanoos found himself surrounded by a who’s who of celebrities — actors such as Ray Romano, Mark Wahlberg, Don Cheadle and others, and golfing greats like Gary Player, Johnny Miller and Rocco Mediate. Soon, the crowd of notables heard the words of main speaker Lisa Paulsen, the president of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
CHRIS DAVIES: Exercising with no ‘bells and whistles’
Recently at Fitness Solutions the joke has been “treadmills and cardio equipment are broken.” The truth is we don’t have any exercise machines that require electricity. This is for good reason.
MIKE LUNSFORD: The long goodbye to winter
I have no idea what the weather is to bring to us on the morning this story runs, but on the day I write most of it, the sun is shining, and we have just come off a weekend of pleasant warmth and cloudless skies.
GRAPE SENSE: News from the world’s wine regions can affect future prices
News from the world’s wine regions can affect even the average wine drinker. There is a lot going on, particularly in California, which can affect future wine prices.
- More Valley Life Headlines
- ENGAGEMENTS: Published April 20, 2014