This guest blog post comes from Darcy Higgins. Darcy is the Executive Director of Food Forward. He cannot vouch for the factual accuracy of this piece, as it is based upon his recollection of his father’s truthiness.
I didn’t always eat as I do now with all the vegetables, the local sustainable, and culturally diverse dishes. And neither did my dad.
Allow me to share a few anecdotes of his – sans permission – that explore some of the origins of his, and perhaps my food culture.
As a child growing up in rural New York, his father took him hunting, not for sport but for food. And nothing extravagant at that, but rabbit, bird, and other small mammals. Pretty far from my own existence as a small-city grocery store kid. A few years ago before his death, my tough former boxer/cop grandfather surprised us both by recanting hunting entirely as ethically wrong and unnecessary. But in those days it was food.
Later as as a student he’s recalled putting on his first extra pounds or two working in the school cafeteria after the lunch ladies took a liking to him. They would heap extra piles of food on his plate, surely the most wholesome of delights, that he would happily accept. By the end of that term, well maybe that was the beginning of his motivation to become a life-long runner, allowing calorie consumption to never be a big problem.
In college he must have felt a little embarrassed one day when he opened the fridge and found that a girlfriend, feeling sorry for his financial and/or gustatory state, had left food for him without saying a word. I guess there’d been no care package of squirrel from home that week.
My dad was never the strongest of cooks, and therefore I greatly enjoyed helpings of hot dogs and ice cream as a child. But his teaching work levelled off and my mom’s picked up around the time that I started becoming interested in where food comes from and began to eat my veggies. He spent more time in the kitchen, doing the primary amount of cooking in the family, and picked up a variety of skills.
He may not realize of his supportiveness in my becoming vegetarian/vegan. And though still skeptical about the more recent definition of the word “organic”, he enjoys cooking vegetarian and culturally diverse foods and visiting some of Toronto’s little gems when in town.
Since rabbit is also a big part of my mom’s Maltese background, I thought I’d include a recipe of how my dad may have eaten it after the hunt (but really I don’t think they were quite that hillbilly). I continue to enjoy my rabbits in the park, or hopping in the house. And here’s a modern dad recipe he’s been doing for a few years – give it a try.