A Fresh Perspective from Scott

Elan's theme for January is Fresh!  Here's are some thoughts from Scott on this subject.  

As we begin our journey through 2014, we start a new year with the theme of Fresh. Like opening a new book for the first time, this year will unfold in many ways, and with luck and planning, unlike the roller coaster of 2013.

Today I want to talk about Fresh in a way that I keep coming back to in my mind. But first, let me paint a picture. It's Rome, 2010 in the fall. The weather is calm and muggy at a comfortable 24C. We wake from a dead sleep into our first jet laggy day in Italy and set off to find food. We are staying in an apartment with a full kitchen but no food other than a bottle of red wine. We are in the old section of Rome. The heart of Rome. Where Rome began. Narrow streets, plazas and courtyards. Cafes and Gelato shops every 15ft. We have been told that a local market is on until 1pm every day in the plaza just around the corner. Local butchers, farmer's markets, bakers and small mom and pop grocery shops we discover are within a 5 minute walk. True of most of Europe, towns and cities are laid out different. Easy access by foot or transit is generally at your door step. So we stock up with what we can carry and bring it back to feast. Not truck loads like we do once a week back home, but the basics: Fresh fruit, fresh eggs, fresh meat, fresh bread... None of it organic I'm sure... But sold to us by the people who know exactly their wears. Did I mention it was all fresh? These meagre supplies -- combined with the walking and being outside -- really tasted amazing to me. Same basic stuff we get at home... but made or brought in that day. Not sitting on the shelf for who knows how long. We would be set until the next day and then go out and do it again. Sometimes we could stretch it out a couple of days, but for the most part... new day, new adventure, new fresh food to cook up and enjoy. Just enough to keep us going and whatever we could carry. Purchased from small shops and from people who started to recognize us (well Scarlett really) after a couple of days.

Prague 2013: Same thing. Apartment in the heart of Praha One. Steps from the greatest Chocolate Cafe in the world and a 5 min walk from a small shop that had everything we needed. This place was a little more chain store... but we could walk there, buy what we needed fresh as they had and not have a bit of waste. We used it all up burning through massive calories on our hikes to castles and churches in the chilly Czech Easter weather. Just to get up the 110 steps to the apartment burned off whatever we had at the Chocolate Cafe across the street. Again, fresh every day or couple of days. Walking to and from in a strange land with locals who I had no idea what they were saying. It was an adventure just to buy some oranges and yogurt.

Now you are thinking, "Why is Scott on about doing the food shopping everyday? There is no way we can pull this off in Calgary! Heck, it's -20C, and if I live in the burbs I have to drive to get to the store. Thankfully it's all in one place so I don't have to drive all over this city to get the items I need for the week. Also, it takes time to shop... Tough to do on a Calgary schedule." Well, it is a difference that I felt, and I really liked about Europe. The fresh air from walking to the shops, the fresh food full of nutrients and fresh adventure of exploring in our local (at the time) environment. How do we do that here? Or maybe... How do I do that here? Can I do that here? Is it possible to bring a little Europe to Bowness and see if our work/home/lifestyle would possibly permit it? I feel a food/lifestyle challenge coming on, Josephene! I'll let you know if she goes for it.

Fresh right now in my mind means rethinking how we do a simple weekly task like shopping for food. To freshen it up with exercise, adventure and good food purchased, carried to my house by these two hands writing this crazy idea. "


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