Monday, November 10, 2008

Food Post 1: The Farmers' Market Is My New Church

There have been a few books I've read, in my adult life, that I can legitimately say changed the way I think about the world:

The Gulag Archipelago.
The English Patient.
Your Money Or Your Life.
Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?

And now, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Probably I should give more credit to Michael Pollan than I should to Barbara Kingsolver, since it was Pollan's infamous NYT article that first started me on the path towards what became a vegetarian lifestyle, but truth be told I read both An Omnivore's Manifesto and In Defense of Food and found them both... boring, when they weren't being polemic. Even In Defense of Food wasn't so much "in defense of food" and was much more "don't eat this, don't eat that, chickens get their beaks torn off at birth."

Barbara Kingsolver's book, on the other hand, made every part of me ache to give up my usual staples of imported bananas and oranges in favor of following nature's divine plan of eating asparagus in March, apples in October, and root vegetables in January. She has the ability, like my favorite cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey, to turn a recipe into a story. And Kingsolver weaves her central theme: eat seasonally and eat locally, into every page of her book.

With that in mind, I hauled myself out of bed early enough to make it to the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Farmers' Market this Sunday. (This in itself was no easy feat, since I -- of course -- had to make time to roll out the yoga mat beforehand.)

The Farmers' Market is going to be my new church. If I combine the fruits and vegetables I can buy at the Farmers' Market with the grains and rice I can get at the Ethiopian grocery down the street, I may never have to go back to the Safeway again. ^__^

Since I already still had plenty of aviyal in the freezer from when I bought all of these vegetables,
I spent my time loading up on my favorite fruit: apples. I bought four different varieties of apples, none of which I had tried before, and none of whose names I can remember at the moment! Next week I'm going to branch out and try some different kinds of squash. I also want to make a window box for herbs, although I'm not exactly sure how to do it and I've never been able to successfully keep a plant alive, not since I was in third grade and we all planted beans in paper cups and mine never, ever, sprouted.

I don't have a good ending for this post, but consider it a precursor to the two food posts which will follow. ^__^ (And read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, if you haven't already.)

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