September 2, 2008

Food and other Guilty Pleasures

I've been reading this book for the last two weeks. Barbara Kingsolver and her family made a commitment to live for a year on food they grew, or could purchase from local sources. Part memoir, part sermon, part history, it's been eye-opening and challenging. They moved from Tucson back to his family's farm in Virginia in order to make it possible.

The biggest take-away for me has been renewed commitment to go to the Farmers Market and support organic, regional growers. Of course, living in California means I have year-round access. Which is due to living in an irrigated desert . . . I'm not sure which is worse, carbon footprint or overuse of water.

I've found a market in Redwood City, just north of us. RC is as close to a 'blue-collar' town as there is in the Bay Area. The Farmer's Market is similarly utilitarian--just what I need. I found fresh fennel and English peas, then searched online and found a recipe that called for both. The Tahini dressing is really good.

For the last couple years, I've left the food exploration to Jrex; he enjoys it and I like eating the results. Reading the book and going to the market has renewed the fun of finding something new. It's also renewed some of my desire to be a little more of an Earth Mother 'like my Mom'.

Mom was a farmer's daughter, and in the midst of living in the inner-city, she maintained a garden. You've all heard of community plots of course, but ours was in the cemetery! As the second largest cemetery in the country, Spring Grove had lots of, how should we say it? Undeveloped Land. I hated gardening as a kid: hours of boredom in the sun. We couldn't tell what was a weed and what was a plant, and she couldn't figure out a way to show us, so she'd send us off to play. Then, once harvested, I didn't like the results either. Mom was from the boil it school; being forced to finish a mound of dark green, slimy spinach was my worst nightmare. I didn't eat a Spinach Salad until high school, and didn't really start eating salad as a regular thing until getting married.

I don't aspire to impatience with children or veggie murder, but I would like to be the kind of woman who gardens, who bakes, who creates feasts for family and friends. It may not be how I'm wired long-term, but Jrex is enjoying my current trend toward the Farmers Market and cooking (though I don't think he enjoys how much I spend at the grocery store! I'm always buying the cool gadget that we don't really need...).

Next weekend? Citrus Honey Scones...


bg's Little Sis said...

I enjoyed this book as well and have given as a gift. The cooking sounds great, I feel like I've been doing a lot more of it as well and I'm surprised how I enjoy it honestly, I didn't think I would so much.

Aimee said...

LOL. I mean, a HUGE lol. When I read about your mom growing a garden in your hometown, I had this mental picture of a garden in the part of town I was in and it was just a little funny. Because, you know, the part around CCHMC and RMcDH is very urban and, so on...

Thank you for telling me about this book on my blog and talking more here. I think I'll have to get it now.

Fall is a great time to explore cooking, I think, thanks to so many things being harvested. I sort of envy you and the area you're in... the Farmers Market sounds great.

Beloved said...

I also grew up with a gardening mom. She was somewhat of a fanatic and our garden was HUGE. I hated planting, weeding and just about everything related to it. And like your mom, my mom also boiled everything to death so the veggies were very unappealing.

Your year-round farmer's market sounds marvelous. I really, really hope to be somewhere by next year where I can enjoy a much longer growing season.