My leisurely reading on Sunday morning was noticeably peppered with reactions and musings about the food we eat. Because these thoughts multiplied and created such curiosity for me in such a brief period of time (in the course of only an hour) I thought I’d write them down. What struck me and why I’m writing them down is to demonstrate how much thought it takes to skillfully negotiate the world of food that we live in, how much there is to know, and how becoming conscious about the food we eat is so important.
Instead of jumping out of bed Sunday morning, I decided to finish reading The Week (a magazine with little tidbits of news from around the world). There was pretty discouraging news about our food supply. One story described the movement to produce and sell genetically modified salmon due to the fact that our fish supplies are being greatly depleted around the world. Oh, and by the way, the producers aren’t going to be required to tell us what we’re buying. After all, they are saying it isn’t harmless (even though there is no research to back this up). The other somewhat related story was about the death of the coral reefs due to the warming of the oceans and how the heat is destroying the environment in which fish can live. Not a great way to wake up in the morning for a fish lover.
I got out of bed and meditated to restore my state of mind. While eating breakfast, I was wondering what kind of food to have the rest of the day. This was going to require a trip to the grocery store because the refrigerator was a little bare. Checking in with my body and reflecting on what I’d been eating lately (something I do on a regular basis) I decided that I really wanted mainly vegetables. As a busy single woman who lives a bit on the run, it’s not that easy to get my daily desire and need for vegetables. Many restaurants tend to be protein and grain abundant and lacking in good vegetables. While we have all probably been taught that you need to get your daily allowance of vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins, I have found that every day is not that balanced but I can get a good balance over a few days.
Shortly after that decision was made I was reading about the pumpkin festival in Hartsburg this weekend. What a wonderful way to get some fresh air and what a beautiful weekend to be in the country. One could buy fresh pumpkin and. while a little challenging to cook because of the preparation it takes, pumpkin is a wonderful food to cook in the fall. My mother just tried cutting her pumpkin in pieces and baking it in a slow oven in a pan with a little water and it turned out great in the pie and pumpkin bread that she brought over to me this weekend. I love anything with pumpkin! My next thoughts were about going to the farmer’s market next weekend to get some and make my traditional fall pumpkin soup. (Recipe to follow in my next blog about pumpkin recipes, so stay tuned).
But wait! The part about the pumpkin festival which really got my attention was reading about the food that people were eating there. I can tell you I won’t be running down to the festival to have the fried Twinkies. First of all, my stomach has been refined not to really care for fried food that much and I gave up Twinkies in my teens, realizing unconsciously even before I became a “foodie” that there was much better food in the world. Seriously? People eat fried Twinkies. I’d almost go down there to look at it. (Note: I did later make it down to Hartsburg and looked everywhere for a fried Twinkie to take a picture of for the blog and didn’t find them anywhere!)
Next I pick up a catalog from a nearby producer of the “other white meat.” Now, I love pork as much as the next person, but what I usually have bought from this catalog is a turkey of some kind when I have been too lazy to cook my own for Thanksgiving. Actually it is as much due to the lack of oven space as being lazy. Anyway, because of what I know about turkey production, I just can’t let myself eat it anymore unless it is raised humanely. I looked through every page hoping to find out that this company had moved into the world of organic food production. I am willing to pay the price to know the kind of food I’m putting into my body. Unfortunately there was no organic option available so I will have to turn on the oven this year and do my own cooking it seems. That’s not a bad option, but I’d like to know I have more ways to get healthy food.
Lastly, I read a piece in the Columbia Daily Tribune in the Literary Links column having to do with food. This article suggested books such as “Fast Food Nation” and “Diet for a Hot Planet” and every book by Michael Pollan (one of my favorite authors about food). The one that intrigued me the most was “Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food” a book that has collected writings from Wendell Berry (one of my favorite poets). Of course the article mentioned the film, Food Inc. (a must see for anyone who cares at all about their food). That film will be playing at 7:00 p.m. on October 27 at the Columbia Public Library in conjunction with the “Food and Society Series” that has been organized this fall by the University of Missouri. I hope you have a chance to go see it (or rent it).
News about food is everywhere. The more conscious you become the more challenging it is to negotiate this part of your life. But the consequences of not paying attention are huge.
Stay tuned for future blogs about pumpkin recipes and Wendell Berry poetry. Maybe those will be a little more upbeat.