Real talk about field meals
Well folks, it’s that time of year again. The time when new life is born and seeds are sown. The time for field meals is upon us.
If I am being honest – I have had a tumultuous relationship with field meals over the years. In the beginning, it was fun and exciting. The last two years, anything but fun or exciting.
In the 2020 world of living and working through a panorama – I cooked that entire year for us and the crew, minus 4ish meals, myself. We didn’t go to a restaurant, I didn’t go to a drive through – nada. I think on Justin’s birthday I got him his favourite greasy pizza as a tradition that we do every year, but that was literally it.
By the time field meals 2021 rolled around, which is typically from May (seeding) throughout the Summer to end of Harvest (end of September), I was burnt out. Having to cook large meals every night to feed people in a field is exhausting. I know there are those who cook for their large families each and every day – I applaud you.
I’m willing to admit that my 2021 meals were less than ideal; most being served in a brown paper bag. Though it was a great way to support our local economy – it was expensive, repetitive, and honestly kind of embarrassing.
The truth of the matter is – I like cooking. I like trying new recipes, adding new flavours, and eating good food. In the past, I have cooked for enjoyment, to eat with family and friends; not as a part of my job.
A swift kick to my ego
A comment was made recently that really gave me a swift kick in the ego. The mention of the numerous take-out receipts that were submitted to the Boss for field meals in 2021.At that moment, it really hurt.
My pride and ego took a sharp turn headed right towards the point of no return (unworthiness)
I took that simple observation and morphed it into that I wasn’t doing a good job.
In reality – it was said as an offer for help with feeding the crew.
Moving forward in 2022
With the approach of our 2022 growing season, I have slowly began finding a love for my kitchen again. Frankly, I am disinterested in restaurant food, sitting down or taking it out, on a regular basis. The joy I get now from going out to eat with Justin makes it feel like a special occasion after not being able to go and feel comfortable for so long.
Now the love in my kitchen isn’t an overwhelming one. I still hate the cleaning portion of it, that I don’t think will ever change. But I am trying new things. I am seeking out new recipes to try. I am baking again – something I have not done a lot of in the last two plus years.
All this to say – a simple comment about take-out receipts has brought me back to thinking about how I can bring one of my skills, back, to the farm. Then, almost immediately, my mind goes to the next thought; how can I help others?
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One of my favourite things about being a Rural Woman is the community that comes with that. The community I have is like no other and it’s something I will forever be grateful for, I know the struggles I face are struggles others have too.
So, what does that mean for us? Well, I haven’t totally nailed that down yet. I have ideas floating around of how I can take my struggle of feeding field meals 5-6 months of the year and turn it into more of a creative outlet for me.
One thing I try to do is share what’s cooking over on Instagram, but it can be difficult to make the time to do that when you’re running from the tractor, to the kitchen, packing food, and trying to keep it somewhat hot for everyone to enjoy.
A key term I have adopted is ‘make time’ vs. using ‘have time’. Because the truth is – we all have time; but it’s how we use it, right?
My current idea is sharing with you my meal planning, or lack there of. If I make time each week to get an idea of what’s happening on the farm, what to expect in terms of feeding folks, etc. then I will have an easier time getting things bought, prepped, cooked and out the door.
So here’s my ask for you: Share with me how you meal plan. Your way might sound simple or not fancy – but I promise you, it’s likely to be somewhat revolutionary to someone who has no idea what they’re doing. Your story – whether that be in the field, in an office, raising babies, or in a kitchen – matters and it’s worth sharing.
Feel free to leave your comments below on this post or head on over to The Rural Woman Podcast Community Facebook page to leave your feedback and ideas.