Friday, October 23, 2009

Food for Thought

I tend to spend somewhere between 40-60 hours a week listening to audio books (or occationally reading). This means that a lot of the things I think about are inspired by the things that I read or listen to. A lot of my past blog posts have been poorly descized book reviews that have really just been my opinions on what I ever I most recently read/heard. I’ve decided that I enjoy this format and am going to keep it up.

So let’s talk about “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. In other words, let’s talk about food, where it comes from and why we eat it. In “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”, Barbara Kingsolver encourages readers to figure out where their food comes from and to eat more locally grown food. The story actually begins with her moving from Arizona (the land of giant cities and zero food production) to a small farm in Verginia.

I live in Oregon, a traditionally agricultural state. Portland is a very rainy city. That doesn’t mean that we get a huge annual rainfall, because down pours are very rare. Instead it starts drizzling every October and doesn’t stop until June. It is always gray, and the sky is constantly spitting on people. It is basically spring 9 months of the year, so things grow really well and everything is green all the time. The people are green too, meaning everyone recycles, more people bike communte than in any other US city, and the local food movement isn’t a new conversation topic.

I like vegetables and I’m not affraid to eat organic. My favorite resteraunt is Seasons and Regions (which serves only seasonal regionally grown food, and it’s always delicious). I also subscribe to Organics to You, a local home delivery organic food service. But this stems mainly from my wanting to eat a variety of produce and often being to lazy to go to the grocery store.

But the biggest step in the local food movement is the grow it yourself step, and honestly that is the part that just makes me roll my eyes. You see, my husband is a little bit OCD when it comes to food production. He loves to generate eatables on a massive scale, and spending a Saturday baking 30 pies to then stick in the freezer is just good clean fun as far as he is concerned.

So this is what I am currently living with: Two barrels of wheat that my husband threshed at an antique farming exobition last summer – we still have get it milled before we can bake our own bread with our own wheat. A freezer full of fish, mainly salmon, halibut, stergion, rock fish, crab, and clams – catching your own food may sound very economical but I know how much he spends on gas for the boat and promise you that it is a lot cheaper to buy fish at the grocery store. 75 bottle of wine needing to be bottled and another 75 bottles just starting to ferment – that’s right grapes are one of the primary crops grown in the willamette valley, we have a grape vine in our yard, and have been making 75 bottles of wine a year for the past five years, even though we drink at most 20 bottles of wine a year, and the stuff doesn’t taste very good so we never give it away to friends. About 100 tomatos rotting in my yard – we have a garden every year but the only things that we can get to grow are tomatos and green beans so we end up with way to much of both of those and nothing else. We did freeze about 20 pounds of green beens this year but the uneaten tomatos were just left to rot.

So we might not be as self sustaining as the Kingsolver family, but we aren’t bad. It is common for us to eat a meal in the summer where none of the food every touched a grocery store shelf – fish we caught and produce we grew. Who cares if we have three freezers all full and a wine rack with about 400 bottles of homemade wine on it none of which will ever be drunk. If the appocolips comes, at least we wont starve.

I enjoyed reading “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral” and would recomend it to anyone interested in where their food comes from. But I still feel a little bit fearful of the slow food movement. My brother just told me he plans to make his own butter and bring it to my house for Thanksgiving, and did I mension that I am currently living with two barrels full of wheat.

Joke of the Day
Found on the seal of a bag of bagles:
Made the old fashioned way

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kate!! We want some of your wheat. Not a whole barrel, but 10 lbs or so. You need to get your husband a grain grinder for Christmas. We borrow a friend's and it is so fast. We have flour in no time at all. You already have a breadmaker. Almost instant whole wheat bread that is delicious and easy to make. Our recipe came from a chemistry prof. Encouragingly yours, Susan S.