Food Literacy 101

Food literacy means being proficient in food related skills and knowledge.

And at a time when food prices are spiking and many people feel confused about food in general, developing food-related skills and knowledge is more important than ever.

My (extensive) food literacy is a result of a lifetime of experimentation and many mistakes (my first ill-fated lasagna was made with an entire bud of garlic because I didn’t know the difference between a bud and a clove) but knowledge is power and I figure we can all use a little more of that. 

So buckle up …

Here’s a simple food related skill:  Instead of buying processed and overly sweet (and salty) bottled pasta sauce COOK YOUR OWN.  Sweat a diced onion in some olive oil until its soft, add some tomato paste, a coupel of cans of diced tomatoes, bring to a boil and then let it simmer and cook down a bit. Seasons with salt and pepper, and a dash of vinegar (for brightness).  Zizz it up with a hand blender if you want it smooth or leave it a bit chunky.


Food literacy fact: Vinegar is made from alcohol.

Food literacy fact:  Butter is made from cream.

Food related skill: If you have some whipping cream that is starting to reach its best before date, the process to turn it into butter could not be simpler.  Just throw it in your mixer and (duh) whip it.  Whipped cream will start to break and become more solid and the butter will cling to the beater.  This is the process of separating buttermilk from liquid.  Pour off the buttermilk, rinse the butter with ice water until the water runs clear and now you’ve got butter.

Bonus vinegar-related food literacy fact:  If you need buttermilk for baking and didn’t just happen to MAKE YOUR OWN BUTTER, a tablespoon of vinegar in milk turns it into buttermilk.

The great thing about food is that there is always something new to learn.  


  1. Lynn

    Oh! I like this. Remind me to tell you about my cream and chocolate fiasco. Knowing your point above, I might have eaten it!

  2. Karen Topping

    Great blog Janet, funny thing… I just watched a video earlier about making butter using a whisk – so it must be a sign!

    I also use the milk and white vinegar tip to make buttermilk for my muffins, though I prefer using lemon juice if I’ve got that in.

    Will be keeping an eye out for more food facts and 101’s.


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Wild Mother Provisions - Janet Harron Bio Pic


Founder, Wild Mother Provisions