Hope Love and Humanity in an Omelette…

It’s a lazy Saturday morning, one of the types that I love the best. We don’t have anywhere to rush off to, the ‘have-to-do activities on the afternoon horizon are negotiable and so everybody, with the exception of my son who had to be on the water to row at 5:30am, has space for themselves.
Blissful, unadulterated freedom to just do what matters most in the moment, which feels especially luxurious coming off the back of a week that was about getting back to school, to work, to the treadmill of our modern day lives. It’s one luxury we’re quite good at giving ourselves in this family, when there is space for mornings like this, we’ll be in our pyjamas until the last second before we need to get dressed. It’s true leisure and I’m in a great mood.
My husband is still in bed with his nose stuck in a book, his ultimate way to unwind, my daughter is ferreting around the house in all her 6 year old glory, she’s flitting between playing with our Jack Russell, her dolls and the television and wherever you are in the house, you can hear her singing and talking to herself, warms the cockles of my heart. It does.
After lying in bed late with my latest cooking magazine – bliss – I ventured into the kitchen with a growling belly to make omelettes. This has been the first meal I have made with Organic Emporium’s food this year and I was excited. If I had to say what I missed most over December – it would be a close toss-up between Mandy’s eggs and the Kalahari 100% Grass Fed Beef. I did not enjoy being unable to find wholly grass-fed beef on holiday, in fact it made me miserable.
I also didn’t appreciate having no eggs whatsoever for over a week because the town we were staying in only had eggs from battery chickens. I will not eat them and I’m a firm believer in the place of eggs in our diet so it annoyed me intensely. So the sense of anticipation at knowing that finally I’ve got Mandy’s eggs back in my house again was heart-felt, even before I started planning what to put in them and pulled out the yellow and red cocktail tomatoes from Monaghan that we had, the sublimely fresh watercress from Aloe Dale, a ripened avocado, some fresh basil from the garden, a bit of goat’s cheese and I knew it was going to get even better.
So I made what Andrew described as ‘the best omelette’ he’s ever tasted.’ While I was making them, I became aware of feeling filled with real joy. I’ve realized that ‘joy’ isn’t actually the same experience for all people; I mean felt the same way. For me, joy is a feeling of being filled with meaning and the sense of light completeness this brings. Moments when my life makes sense, I’m conscious of being in the most perfect place for me in that moment and it also contains a sense of anticipation about the future, trust and feeling connected to a grander meaning of life is part of how I experience ‘joy’.
While I was making these omelettes feeling full of gratitude for the fact that I know I’m feeding my family a meal from the best organic ingredients from the best farms, I thought a bit deeper about why this is such a huge deal and compared the difference in what I’m about to feed my family to the ‘conventional’ option.
First off, I toss a knob of butter into the pan. At Alpha Farm this weekend, I skimmed off the cream from a large pail of fresh milk from Lisa’s wholly pastured and grass fed cows – what an honour. She gave it to me as a leaving present and I came home and churned it into butter. Farmers love to do this – I have yet to meet a farmer that isn’t naturally generous.
So into my pan goes butter made from the cream of wholly grass-fed cows. It’s rich in yellow from carotene in the grass rather than colorants in conventional butter. Unlike the butter made from cows that have grain in their diet, I know that this contains a more favourable ratio of omega 3 fatty acids from the grass fed cows than they would get from milk from a cow eating the grain given in conventional farms which is way higher in omega 6’s which isn’t favourable for our diet. I also know that the butter contains higher amounts of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) – a potent anti-carcinogen that also lowers bad cholesterol in the body
So I get to feel great about that and this is just from the butter. I also know that there are no fillers, additives or colorants in my butter and yes butter ‘manufacturers’ do add colorants to conventional butter. You don’t get the rich yellow from the milk of cows that aren’t eating grass – so this knowledge fills me up and then there’s the fact that it tastes so beautiful and linksme to my recentheavenly memories of time spent at Alpha Farm the week-end prior.
Then there’s the fact that this butter contains no growth hormones and antibiotics. This also feels great. I don’t have to worry about my daughter starting puberty at 10. It makes me think of something Lisa from Alpha Farms said over the week–end, she was telling me that the average age of puberty in her area from friends whose children are also being raised on their own farm food is between 14 and 16! As opposed to around 12 and lower that is becoming the norm in the western world! So I get to feel good that there aren’t any steroids in my families breakfast and specifically oestrogen messing with my daughters  young and sensitive hormonal system.
The fact that it’s from Lisa’s cows who are treated so well and live on pasture just like normal cows should with no abuse or over milking or feedlots adds to my growing sense of joy in the process. All I have so far is butter sizzling in my omelette pan and while I’m consciously thinking about where the food comes from, I’m getting more and more filled up with a blissful sense of content.
I crack open 3 of Mandy’s eggs into the jug I use to beat eggs for omelettes and into that I pour a splash of the milk from Mandy’s free-range cows and mostly grass-fed cows and I’m thinking of Mandy. It generally puts me in a good mood to think about Mandy, she is a really special lady that just loves the value of farming right and fair. Her standards for animal welfare are better than some organic standards; she gets filled up with excitement that palpably affects you when she speaks about every improvement she can make to the lives and diets of her chickens and cows that will make their food even more great.
I beat the eggs with the milk, spike the mixture with some salt and pepper and pour it into the pan. It bubbles in with the butter and it’s a gorgeous yellow liquid that I know is yellow all from nature – it feels good. In my mind’s eye – I see a picture of Mandy’s Boschvelders scratching around in a sand patch looking for worms and I smile. I’m also thinking about the fact that from February, she will be the only farmer I know of whose feed for her chickens and cows contains no supplement feed whatsoever. By February, she can say that there is no GM input into animal feed on her plot whatsoever. I know the lengths she has gone to learn how to get it right that they can live off the diet they are naturally adapted to eat. She has to get the worm and insect population supported just right so that there’s enough for them to live off together with her own organically grown sprouts. To get the right amount of calcium in their diets for the shells and so that they can produce the perfect egg without the science contained in the supplement feeds that most farmers are dependent on, is no easy feat and she has persevered with the experiment because she, like most of us, is horrified at our reliance on genetically modified crops. Animal feed is mostly made from GM crops; it’s difficult for farmers to get their hands on non-GM grain nowadays, if not almost impossible.
So I get to know that my family will be eating eggs from content and respected hardy indigenous Boschvelders who live like chickens should, and that their diet is superb. I also know that these eggs will have higher levels of omega 3’s – a fatty acid that is in great decline in the modern western diet – than the battery fed counterparts. I know too that this egg has higher levels of zinc because Compassion in World Farming did a comparative study between a battery egg and Mandy’s egg and Mandy’s had a higher level of zinc in it.
I turn the heat down, pop a lid over it and relax into my growing great mood. I’ve just linked- through my food – to memories of Lisa’s farm and to Mandy’s boschvelders and I feel great.
Next up, I start cutting the yellow and red cocktail tomatoes from Monaghan Farm into halves and I’m marvelling at the colour in them and the taste and I feel a sense of pride that I’ve got something to do with getting produce of this calibre into Jozi homes. I think of Monaghan Farm and their organic fields and how fertile and rich the soil there is. The quality of produce from Monaghan is also the best. We have some work to do to get packaging right with them, their packaging isn’t always the easiest to survive transport to your homes but we’re working on that. Fact is, you can rest assured that anything from Monaghan is coming from what has been described as soil that is as valuable as ‘gold’ in Joburg. I think about how rich in nutrition these tomatoes will be, I think about the pesticides I don’t have to worry about that won’t be going into my families bodies and again I find myself breaking out into a smile that comes from deep within. It’s an honour to work with food this clean and this right. I think about the soil at Monaghan that won’t be eroding in its deadness and blowing off and altering the landscape, the top soil erosion that won’t be happening there and the fact that the soil will be rich for generations to come with no pesticides and artificial fertilizers running off into our soil and polluting our water. I feel good.
I also know that Mandy’s farm and Monaghan Farm are local so the carbon footprint of this meal so far is low. It’s also so fresh, we don’t have a week’s worth of electricity in refrigeration involved in this meal nor do we have to suffer the lack of taste such a meal incurs.
I take out a chunk of cottage cheese from Goat Peter and again feel great that I know there are no antibiotics or growth hormones in this dairy that I have to worry about. The cheese is from Magaliesburg, again, it’s local comparatively, and the goats are free-range. No cruelty or rubbish to worry about.
I go to my kitchen garden and pick some fresh basil. I’m aware that I feel ready to burst with content. Content is generally such a grounded feeling, it’s not a feeling that bursts, but mine keeps inflating at every conscious connection to what I’m cooking so much so that it’s actually ballooning into elation!
I haul out my fresh packet of watercress from Aloe Dale and marvel at the freshness of it – I bite off a leaf and taste earth. I love that taste of earth specific to green leafy vegetables. I love how different that ‘earthiness’ manifests in different herbs.
I slice open an avocado and realize that it’s store brought from a retailer and my mood dips temporarily, I don’t know where it comes from, I don’t know how it was farmed and I can’t connect to anything other than an anonymous supermarket aisle with fluorescent lighting by thinking of it. I make a note to lecture my husband again about buying food out of season from a retailer that can’t talk to me about the farm that grew it!
A bubble of irritation threatens my mood and I realize I need to leave the supermarket aisle that has connected me to soullessness. Now I’m ready to finish off the first omelette, I’m arranging the tomato slices on one side of it, tossing over the hunks of goat’s cottage cheese, the layers of avocado, tearing little bites of basil into it, sprinkling over some rock salt and pepper and I fold the glorious omelette over.
It’s golden and it’s beautiful and as I garnish it with watercress and dollop over a splob of the home-made pepper dew chutney my husband worships and his breakfast is ready.  I am consciously connected to the values I have endorsed by supporting these farms, I am conscious that I have hope for the future because this meal reminded me of the food heroes like Mandy, Lisa and Monaghan that we do have in our midst. I am connected to part of me that loves to nourish my family and gets pleasure out of feeding them the most nutritious food I can get my hands on. I am conscious that this meal contains no man-made chemicals, does not support the agri-chemical industries and contains no pesticides, additives, colorants or utter rubbish. It’s just full of the might of fertile soil, it is full of the commitment of real farmers, it is full of the divine intelligence behind nature’s cycles, it is a promise that we can live out our true values in our modern day worlds and partner with farms rather than conveyor belts and corporations. It’s an omelette of true nourishment and hope for the future. It connects me to the wisdom of nature’s cycles and farmers that are prepared to serve nature as stewards of the land rather than dominate and destroy her in a misguided belief in human superiority.
I finish my daughter’s omelette and I feel a pang of missing my son and regret that he’s not home for breakfast so that I can fill him up with nutrition too. I make their plates look beautiful and as I’m about to bellow ‘breakfast’s ready’, I stop in my tracks and decide that this time I don’t want to command everyone to the table. I want to let this food enhance the spaciousness of the freedom in our Saturday morning recognizing that this is another vital form of nourishment. I find my daughter in her space and take her breakfast to her; she looks up at me, smiles and says ‘I’m so hungry Mum, this looks great’! . I walk upstairs and take my husband his omelette to him in bed. He’s delighted and probably a bit startled realizing that I’ve walked this up to him rather than yell everybody to the table. Ater savouring the first few mouthfuls he looks at me and says ‘this is the best omelette I’ve ever tasted’.
I’m not surprised.
I smile inwardly, that sense of content starting to effervesce into elation again because I know it’s an omelette filled with love, hope, the divine intelligence of nature and humanity.
This is real food.
This is conscious eating.
These are the meals that will change the world.
This is Jozi’s Real Food Revolution.
What a way to start a Saturday…
I grabbed my husband’s laptop to write this to you while I was bubbling over with it all, my omelette plate still next to me before the memory of this fades, only to be recreated with the next meal.
It’s now 11am and I’m still in my pyjamas and it’s ok.
I have a 10km run planned for the afternoon, coffee with a friend and the joy of a spacious week-end with family, at home. Life is good and I am grateful for the nature and wisdom in my omelette.
2013 is going to be a great year…..
Please share any experiences you have of how eating great food consciously connects you to the beauty, sense and value in life. I think it makes for sacred dialogue.
We’ve spent so much time talking about how industrialization, mechanization and modernization disconnected us from nature and from value and from life. Let’s focus now rather on the future and celebrate the farmers that are still there, that are prepared to do it properly and that are in our midst and my omelette reminded me that they are.
Have a wonderful week-end everyone.

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