30 Days at Home
I invite you and yours to have 30 days of home-cooked meals, to be curious about where your food comes from, and connect with your community. Starting January 2nd, 2018, my wife, our 6 and 4 year olds, and I are going to do exactly this for 30 days and the more people that do it, the more fun it is. Come on!
Here is why we do this… it all started 7.5 years ago. My wife, lathered up from watching No Impact Man, made the horrifying suggestion that we, just like No Impact Man, use t-shirts for toilet paper and stop using electricity (and therefor A/C) for 1 year. I am firmly attached to my recycled toilet paper and our A/C. So, in the moment of toilet paper and A/C scarcity, I threw out an alternative challenge: how about we make everything we eat from locally sourced food, for a year, and we don’t buy clothes? Please, please, please. And she said yes. Phew.
I was was teaching people how to make the most out of locally harvested food at the time, so this felt like an opportunity for me to sharpen my commitment to what I preached. So, there we were, the beginning of August, 2010, ready to jump off the cliff. We figured we would save some money, do some good for the environment, and commit more completely to our values.
It started off exciting and easy and the farmer’s market glittered with all of the beautiful produce. There were treasures around every corner! Going to four stores to source food for a meal I wanted to make was hella fun. And then it got really regular and the dishes were endless and my refried beans tasted like dirty water and not the ones that haunted my dreams from the taco window down the street. There might have been one whole week that we ate quesadillas and talked obsessively about aforementioned tacos.
Around December, I was back in love with the seasonal produce, thanks to the bounty of a Texas winter, with citrus and cabbage and cauliflower and beets. The world was new again and I didn’t have to eat any more zuccini. We had also gotten into the rhythm of having our friends over and I loved the intimacy of feeding people in my house and moving to the porch, leaving the mess in the kitchen. But, mostly, the middle part was hard and a little monotonous. This helped me appreciate the farmers who show up week after week at the farmers market after the grueling back-breaking work of farming.
In January, I decided I was going to start selling a meatless burger that I had been making: The Hot Dang. I joined the vendors at the market. Something about the quiet focus, and monotony, of the year-long home challenge gave me access to creativity and confidence. I got unstuck from years of dreaming and moved into actually doing. There was room, now that I was solidly rooted to my home and the community around my table, to finally build a business. The support our nurtured dynamic, supportive community also help.
In the last month of the challenge, we found out that we would get to be parents to a unicorn. Four days after we finished our year long challenge, we were parents to the most beautiful, perfect, magical baby boy in the world.
It took me four years and our first 30-day challenge in January of 2015, to realize that our year-long challenge was the universe getting us ready for our son. We saved money, we spent time and energy in our house, we learned to be a hell of a team, and we nurtured our community. This same community filled our house with diapers, a year worth of baby clothes, and our fridge with food and everything we would need, while we were meeting our son for the first time.
Will you join us for 30 days of home cooking? I promise it will be hard. I promise you will do a mountain of dishes. And I promise there is transformation in this. The challenge is made lighter by sharing with your community: feeding them, being fed by them, and for heaven’s sake sharing in the mountain of dirty dishes. Worst case scenario, you save some money and feel better. Best case scenario, you know your food, self, and community better. You’ve got nothing to lose! Let’s do this!