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
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.
TRIED ’N’ TRUE: The easiest ham loaf I’ve ever made
I have been asked for a good ham loaf recipe. This is really good. It comes from a friend of mine in Morton, Ill. Eileen Knapp makes this for her kids and grandkids — we all enjoyed it.
ANNIVERSARY: March 2, 2014
Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Morris
Making Waves: Woman devotes part of rural Vigo County home to museum on hairstyling
Some studies show that women spend more than $50,000 in a lifetime and more than one month of their entire life at a beauty salon, trying to get and keep their hair just the right style. How they have accomplished this through the ages has been a fascination for local hairstylist Brenda Ellis for more than 50 years.
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: No need to knead dough much for these rolls
I know we all like homemade bread. These rolls are great.
When we used to have Christmas with Gene’s family, his uncle Bob Beard’s daughter made these Oatmeal Rolls.
YOUR GREEN VALLEY: We can help save the manatees, right here in the heartland
The year 2013 was the deadliest on record for manatees with about 829 reported deaths. This was a major jump from the 392 in 2012 and the record of 766 in 2010. While the cold weather played a role, one major attributing factor has been toxic red tide events caused by algal blooms.
Rockville Library to dedicate genealogy collection March 8
The genealogy collection at the Rockville Public Library will be named for Alberta T. Butler in a celebration at 1 p.m. on March 8. Butler was a longtime board member of the library, member of the Parke County Historical Society and member of the Wabash Valley Genealogical Society. She died July 24, 2013.
Planning Your Farm’s Future program March 4
As commercial farms grow in size and business risk becomes more magnified, farm families are thinking more and more about how the family farm will operate in future years, as well as who will provide management and who will control farm assets.
Engagement listings: Feb. 23, 2014
Wedding listing: Feb. 23, 2014
Anniversary listing: Feb. 23, 2014
Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Richey
Brenda Ellis devotes part of her rural Vigo County home to a museum on hairstyling. See story by Marjorie Hopkins and more photos by Jim Avelis in Sunday's Valley Life and on tribstar.com.
Heaven on Earth: Writer gets lost — both figuratively and literally — at Acadia National Park
Editor’s Note: Today, we continue the New England Journal as Mike Lunsford writes of a day hiking the Atlantic shoreline and the trails of Maine’s Acadia National Park.
GRAPE SENSE: The rare but exciting 100 percent Sagrantino wine
It’s easy to buy a big, expensive California Cabernet, red Bordeaux or Oregon Pinot Noir for an intimate dinner party or special gift. But to really surprise a serious wine lover or yourself, why not try something really different?
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: A nutritious, delicious after-school snack
We are always looking for something good and easy to give to the kids when they get home from school. I know I always was.
When grandkids came along they would help me make all kinds of bars. This recipe is from Pam from Sullivan Extension.
Women’s Only Wellness Weekend coming up April 4-6
The inaugural Women’s Only Wellness Weekend at Turkey Run State Park this spring offers a chance for women to hike beautiful trails, enjoy the food and accommodations of the Turkey Run Inn, and participate in workshops ranging from photography to bird-watching to wine tasting.
Anniversary listings: Feb. 16, 2014
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Blacketer
Mr. and Mrs. Richard J. Buck
Rock of Ages: Hulman Center stage has been entertaining crowds since 1974
As the stage lights came on, Sam Wellington and his cohorts gazed out at an audience of 8,060 Midwesterners.
The scene was familiar for him. Wellington and his country music quartet, The Four Guys, opened shows night after night for fellow RCA Records artists Ronnie Millsap and headliner Charley Pride on tours across North America.
CANDLES to show film on ‘British Schindler’
The film, “Nicky’s Family,” will be shown at 5:30 pm. on Feb. 20 in the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center at 1532 S. Third St. Admission is free. Pizza will be served at 5 p.m.
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: A quick pork chop recipe to throw in the oven
At this time of year we need something quick. We go to work and we want to make something for our loved ones.
You can make this for two, four, six or however many loved ones you may have.
Chris Davies: Educators take Fitness Challenge
Beginning in 2014 many made New Year’s resolutions. Ten area educators took a challenge that is having them shed weight, get fit and raise money for two great organizations.
Wearing a Legacy: Inspired by Debs, a variety of places and things beyond Terre Haute — from a town to beers — bear his name
A town and a school. Two styles of beer. A radio station, a street, a township, and a house for college students. Even a parade.
Any of those places or things named in honor of legendary labor and social activist Eugene V. Debs could theoretically exist in Terre Haute. Alas, none do.
GRAPE SENSE: Lenore Syrah, possibly the best value wine I’ve tasted in years
The past seven years this column has focused mostly on great wines under $20 that you won’t find on the grocery shelf. Every time it seems like the list is exhausted, another wine comes along to make even the wine cynic say ‘wow!’
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: An Italian chicken recipe that’s easy to make
This recipe comes from one of my readers who wanted to remain anonymous. Their grandparents made this chicken all the time, especially when family or friends dropped by their home.
Flowing forward: As Riverscape leader retires, he sees great things ahead for the Wabash River
An iconic photo of Harry Truman hangs in John Mutchner’s office.
The walls of that room and others inside Mutchner’s scenic eastside home offer glimpses of his interests, from auto racing to basketball to political history. The famous picture of a triumphant Truman, hoisting an erroneous “Dewey Defeats Truman” Chicago Tribune headline, rests neatly framed alongside a 1952 campaign button and an autographed notecard from the former president.
YOUR GREEN VALLEY: Bird feeder ignites passion for feathered friends in 15-year-old
In a dimly lit room, avid bird watchers gather for the annual Wabash Valley Audubon Society Photo Night at the Vigo County Public Library. One by one, presenters flipped through their photos to show off unique birds they saw throughout the year. When a presenter is stumped on the identification of a bird they photographed, the crowd works together to identify the bird. One photo in particular took these veteran birders longer than average to call out the identification.
TRIED ‘N’ TRUE: A really good chocolate chip cake recipe
Last September, I bought two cookbooks from Dunlap Methodist Church, one for me and one for my grandson, Tyler, who wants to be a chef. I told him the best cookbooks are ones from churches and different organizations. They have been tried.
- More Valley Life Headlines
- Guiding Star: Inspired by family, Terre Haute native rallies famous names to fund cancer research