Wednesday, March 25, 2009

When did having a garden become a radical act?

The article in the Sunday NY Times titled "Is a Food Revolution Now in Season?" has been nagging at me. It describes the recent groundswell of support for organic gardening, improving the nutritional value of school lunches, and a move towards organic, nutritious, and sustainable food in general. Some of my favorite food-activists, like Michael Pollan and Alice Waters, are quoted. So why am I bothered?

I think it's because this "revolution" is not so new. Humans, of course, have grown, hunted, or foraged for their own food for almost the entire time we've been around. Organic gardening was the default for all but the last hundred or so years. If you didn't have a sustainable food system, sooner or later you'd run out of food.

Mostly, I worry that by labeling organic, sustainable food as a liberal or radical theme, we risk alienating more conservative people (who are usually the group most in need of adding more nutritious foods to their diet). They'll show us! They'll subsist on highly processed corn products!

Sometimes I think that blogs like mine are part of the problem, too. Food has become so politicized. There are good reasons for that, because the food system has inflicted great harm on animals and the planet. But nutritious, naturally produced food has an intrinsic appeal. It's much more delicious than the processed, packaged alternatives. You feel physically better after eating it. Food does not need to be so divisive.

Moving on...We planted a garden (mostly from seeds, so there's no pictures yet) last weekend for the sheer fun of playing in the dirt. I'm not sure our patio gets enough sunlight for everything to sprout, but we'll see. Truman enjoys the cat grass plant I picked up for him:

I'm sure most of you have read this article about new research on the risks of red meat. All of us vegetarians/vegans can hang out together in our old age.

Finally, the obligatory food picture, from taco nite. This is becoming a regular thing for us. This week's tacos were based on a mixture of black beans and fake hamburger meat, sauteed with tomato, garlic, onion, and chili powder. Of course avocados play a starring role, too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I am nutty (but healthy)

(I've noticed that the posts seem to get truncated in this new blog format. I think you can click on the title of the entry to see the whole thing. Anyway, this post ends with a mention of Morrissey.)

I didn't post last week because I was in the grip of the flu. 11 days later, I finally don't scare people when they hear my voice on the phone.

I've cooked a few things since last we spoke (I'm hardly ever too sick to cook):
--Lentil Soup. This was advertised as "Tibetan" but the spices are not especially exotic. Perhaps it's Tibetan because there are potatoes in it?

--Curried potato wraps. These are like samosa filling, but with tomatoes. Very tasty.

--Portobellos stuffed with a tofu/veggie/breadcrumb/walnut mixture. I've posted this before and it's one of my favorites. It reheats very well.

I'm excited today because I received my (huge) order from Nuts Online. I love our grocery store but their nut selection is spotty (probably because they only carry organic food and I imagine they're having supply problems with organic nuts). But I eat nuts every morning on oatmeal or yogurt, so I hate running out. The nuts I got in the mail are cheaper than the grocery store, and more importantly, they are large, beautiful, fresh, and so delicious. Yum. Nuts Online also sends an amusing email when your order has been delivered:

"Hip hip hooray! Hey there nutty Amy! According to the galactic delivery
powers that be (aka UPS), your order has been delivered. Yippee! We
certainly hope it deliciously smashes your expectations with enough force
to crack a macadamia nut in the shell!!!"

Moving on...has anyone read this month's issue of Mother Jones? It's food-themed and it's great. The article with Michael Pollan alone would have made me buy it. But my favorite article is about farmers' markets, and the sad trend towards overrunning them with soap makers and the like. It seems that not enough people will go to a farmers' market just to shop for produce. Sufficient crowds will come only if the market adopts a carnival-esque atmosphere, with a coffee stand and a candy maker. Also, some of the vendors can be large grocery store employees ("large" is modifying "store" here) and not actual farmers. I don't think it's wrong, on the face of it, to include non-food vendors in farmers' markets. But as the crowds swell, demand rises to a level that small farmers can't compete with. Then the grocery stores set up ersatz stands and the whole point of a farmers' market is lost. It's a complex problem without an easy answer, and I hope you'll read the article and let me know your thoughts. I feel fortunate that the (very small) farmers' market outside my office on Tuesdays only has two produce stands, but they're staffed by actual farmers who can answer any question about their produce, and tell you what they'll have next week. It should open for the season next month and I can't wait.

I roused myself from my sickbed on Saturday to see one of my favorite vegetarians ever, Morrissey. Peta had a stand at the concert and a postcard featuring Morrissey (and titled with Mr. RV's favorite Smiths album. Mine, if you are curious, is Strangeways. It's not usually as critically acclaimed, but it was the first album of theirs that I ever heard so I'll always have a sentimental attachment to it).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

And miles to go before I sleep

This is one of those weeks where blogging takes a backseat. We had a large snowstorm (for the area), and our heat pump is not nearly keeping up with the demands placed upon it. It does not help when the repair company fails to show up on the only day I can be home for them all week.

My main food-related concern this week has been how to keep my eczema in check. I was sick last week, and have still been feeling a bit weak and under the weather. I'm not sure if the illness and eczema are related (common thread=inflammation?), but I'm trying to consume as much Omega-3 as possible. This means a lot of fish and fish oil supplements. It does seem to provide some relief. I'm still trying to work out if these symptoms are all related to candida or not.

Obviously I need to get some sleep to be more coherent. See you next week!