I read an interesting article in the August 8, 2010 edition of the New York Times about consumption (food and goods) and whether our increased consumption will make us any happier.
The article explored the activity of people who have made changes in their lives including jobs, where they live, the size of their home/apartment and the amount of possessions they own. These individuals have become more minimalistic and are much happier. The article covered some research that showed how we spend our money, the frequency and what we choose to spend it on and its emotional efficiency. Or in other words, how we reap the most happiness for our dollar. They also looked at different categories of consumption and its correlation to happiness. The category most correlated to happiness was leisure - from trips to entertainment to sports. Companies who want us to buy their products actively monitor this research.
One of the interesting stories in this article was about a couple who downsized and are now living in a 400 square foot studio apartment in Portland Oregon. Tammy Strobel, profiled in this article, has created a blog site called rowdy kittens and it is about living simply http://Rowdykittens.com/ One of her recent postings had a link to a story about a friend of hers who was recently featured on PBS. Tammy's friend Dee is involved in the tiny house movement and lives in a really tiny house. Her house is about the size of my kitchen. There is a link on this posting to the PBS story and it is about eight or so minutes in length. It is worth watching as other small houses are featured. I admire these people but I couldn't make their lifestyle choices in terms of how big their home is. I have to admit, I like lots of living space. The more the better and I know this issue likely has deep roots into my childhood. I don't like cluttered space either but if you were to live in a tiny house or apartment, you would have to live with minimal possessions. It is all about how much we need versus want, how much we collect and our over consumption of clothes, toys and other material goods. This is a good discussion to have with family and friends.
Tammy's site has information on minimalistic cooking and she is a fan of Michael Pollan (whom I admire and have written about in previous postings) and a blog site called the stonesoup http://thestonesoup.com/blog/ This blog site is about minimalistic home cooking and is very good. The blogger's name is Jules Clancy and she is based out of Sydney Australia. I need to spend more time on her site as there is lots of information and recipes. She has created her own cookbook and the recipes are each based on a maximum of five ingredients and take ten minutes to prepare. She believes in preparing simple, quality and wholesome food. You can download her cookbook in a pdf format.