Who Are You? Who? Who?

Hello, my name is: Andrea and I LOVE food!

I am a 27 year old female. My boyfriend and I reside in a two bedroom apartment in Chicago’s West side neighborhood the Ukrainian Village. I moved here from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to go to Columbia College for Fine Art and Bookbinding, and just stuck around after graduation.

I work for a paper conservation company here in Chicago. Paper conservation is art restoration, not recycling.

I’ve had a lot of people, upon hearing my job title start going off about how they always recycle the newspaper and turn off the water when they brush their teeth. As I totally support recycling and water conservation, I am always happy to hear this, however, I am more in the line of repairing torn documents and reducing stains on fine art prints to bring them back to their original glory.

I grew up in a family who put a lot of importance on food and drink.

My parents always had a huge garden and around harvest time, we would be busy canning and freezing to last through the winter.

Here is my brother next to bountiful wheel barrow of organic produce including zucchini’s as big as a 5 year old’s torso!

Every year we would enter our produce and homemade crafts in the county fair. Yes, that’s right, and along with my many talents is that of shell organization! Blue ribbon thank you!

We were always very proud of our booty! My dad went for as many blues as possible even if he was the only applicant like his annual kohlrabi entry!

Here is my mom and my brother again in front of some beautiful carrots. Now to you, they may look like regular carrots, but its not easy to grow such beautiful long root vegetables in the U.P. where the growing season is over a month shorter then in the lower latitudes!

My family is very DIY (although we never used that term). My parents are very adventurous and are never afraid to try making and producing new things. Some have been successful and others haven’t, but they always view it as a learning experience. My parents taught us to make our own sauerkraut, sausages, pickles and preserves, among other things. In our house we are loved unconditionally but if we make things from scratch we definitely get more parental cred.

Although my parents put so much work into stocking our pantry and freezer with food stuffs, it was not because they had a lot of time to spare. My parents would both squeeze the time to do all these around their full time jobs. My mother pulled from her farming background, where one always has a million chores to do, to manage her time in the most efficient way possible. I was brought up to value making things for myself, and to accomplish them within the tight constraints of a busy schedule.

Now living in the city, my life is a little different. My building goes from sidewalk to alley so I don’t do much gardening.

(Ok, so this isn’t the building i live in. This one is down the street. Our building is similar but is more straight. We have ivy on our building and a tree in front. I meant to take a picture today but when I got home from work I forgot so here is a substitute building.)

I don’t have car, so I do all my grocery shopping on a bicycle which complicates things. I don’t let these things get me down. Everyone has different challenges they have to work around. Instead of looking at these as road blocks, I want to encourage people to view the challenges of scheduling or logistics as an adventure in creative problem solving. Whatever your drawbacks, be it lack of time, money or an automobile, we can work around it. My parents taught us to increase the quality of our lives by trying new things while working around obstacles. I hope to encourage the same in my readers. Lets do it!

Related posts:

  1. Hill of Beans
  2. Canning: The Pleasure of Putting Up the Harvest