Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lazy Food

Nice article from BBC regarding our seemingly increasing distance from actual food preparation.

I am hopeless in the kitchen and resort to either eating ramen or laying pathetically on the couch, a slave to low blood sugar, whenever Bill isn't around to make food magically appear in front of me - so I completely get my hypocrisy in loving this article.

However, I will hedge my incompetence a little, because I think my lack of skills is largely a result of my not needing to know how to cook. I do help lots - I just need clear instructions. Shred this cheese! Chop this onion! I'm a kitchen follower, not a leader.

In general, it seems to me that the sort of distance from food described in the article is related to our distance from so many environmental processes and a general sleepwalking through life. We have such great distractions - tv, cheap stuff from China, career advancement, soccer/gymnastics/marching band - that we're spending less time living (and preparing the food we need for living) and more time doing.

Here's an added bonus hypocrisy - I know that my love of canning, for example, is one of those contemporary food luxuries that I get to *enjoy* because it is not necessary for my survival. I know that tv, cheap stuff from China, and career advancement have made my desire for a simpler life possible and...desirable.

There's got to be a middle ground, however, somewhere between a return to 1960s home economies (as described in this awesome article), and pre-peeled potatoes.
" is a bit of ritual, it's a process to start from the beginning with ingredients you prepare yourself. Preparation is an important part of cooking. You get a feel for what you are making. And food tastes better when it's made from scratch."

Friday, March 5, 2010

Popcorn dreams

This is me moments before a life-changing handful of popcorn.

We had gone to the Traders Point Farmers market early this fateful day primarily to acquire local, healthy pork for sausage-making. Turns out that wealthy hippies like their pork pre-sausaged, so we struck out. We did meet a popcorn man and spoke with him at length about real popcorn and the amazing number of people who only eat it out of a microwave. He gave us a tip on using coconut oil instead of canola for popping and we bought some of his popcorn.

What a find, we thought! Local, organic - easy to prepare - snack to feel good about. We decided to pop it that evening. On a whim, Bill pulled out our homegrown popcorn which had failed to pop at all earlier this winter. It was massive FAIL. It was tons of finger-blistering work removing the kernels from the ears and then we had to wait ages for it to dry. This was likely a project we wouldn't complete again.

But then! Then! Our homegrown popcorn popped like gangbusters! So we opted for a side-by-side taste test with the organic corn we bought earlier in the day. The popcorn man (who also teaches a beekeeping class) had given us a sample of his product at the market and it was deelish. If our popcorn was half as good, we would feel victorious.

We grabbed a handful of our very pretty yellow and red popcorn. Anticipation grew as we popped a few kernels in our mouths. All the work...would it be worth it??

O.M.G. Our little baby homegrown popcorn was ahmazing. Light, airy, crunchy. And, was that a hit of nuttyness? Could our lovely farm and soil have added a touch of terrior in our humble snack?

Yeah. It was good enough to describe it in terms usually reserved for wine. As Bill and I fought over the remaining kernels, the farmer's market popcorn - organically and lovingly grown - wimpered a little from its bowl. I don't think I'll ever be able to eat other popcorn again.

So much for the easy to prepare snack.