Simple. Fresh. Local

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." JRR Tolken

Month: October, 2010

Figs, Persimmons and Pumpkins

Every season is marked by some key foods for me. I hand over half of my food money per month on fruit that only appears once a year. If only there were fig and persimmon trees in my neighborhood… Firm fuyu persimmons and the green figs with the deep red inside are the most delightful sensations of my fall. Also I’ve been roasting a lot of pumpkins and have learned that pumpkin goes in everything. I mean everything, lentil soups, spoon bread, cookies, muffins, loafs, and anywhere else my imagination takes me. I told my friend recently that I’ve had too much serious writing business on this forum and it’s time to focus on what’s important: food.

Morning happiness. Thanks to my beloved vita mix. I don't know what I would do without it.

Dear cast iron skillet, you are irreplaceable. All I need is some garlic, mushrooms, kale, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Sauteed a little on the stove top then baked in the oven. So delightful.

This salad is the epitome of salads. Arugula and spring greens from work, figs, persimmons, currants, avocado, raw sheep cheese, bariani olive oil, and vincent de arroyo balsalmic. Perfection.

Sweet potato, pumpkin, goat cheese spoon bread

Roasted pumpkin, fresh cranberry, and currant loaf

Some of the other things I made: oatmeal, dark chocolate chip, coconut cookies; pumpkin, cornmeal, spelt, sunflower seed muffins

I haven’t been making anything too complicated for myself to eat lately. Some great soups, salads and vegetables in the skillet are the regular. I really haven’t  had time for too many projects but I’ve been completely delighted eating simple foods.

I have to start preparing some camping foods and get ready to be a Tortuga this weekend with some of my favorite people.

Looking Forward to The Worst

My mom sent me a link to blog that in detail helps you understand what it means to survive in a post-oil economy. This is extreme dooms day type stuff, but I have this sick excitement that I’ve never really admitted before now when it comes to this end of oil, end of the world, back to the land, survival type of talk. I mean, I don’t want civil war or a lot of people to die, this is not the reality that I want to be a part of. Instead I get this idealistic excitement about the pressure to conform to a “normal” job, “normal” lifestyle, released and the options being a little bit reduced and simplified. I understand that this is the exact issue with post-oil survival. Our lives become insanely harder, more dangerous, there are less options, and so on. But sometimes I get in this imaginative dream like state where it becomes okay for our whole reality to be turned inside out, where the things that actually keep us alive become primarily important. Maybe you don’t believe in any of this and think it’s all a hoax. But that’s just it, whether you believe or not there is a possibility of it happening. If we really do need to learn how to survive it doesn’t matter if you believed the day would come when we ran out of oil or not because well, it happened. So my approach is not to get overexcited (about the negatives or positives) but instead work towards learning how to survive and creating my own abundance because this is what I want to do. And whether or not the day comes when this information becomes pertinent to my real survival I will have gained useful information.

Anyways, check out this blog if you want to learn how to prepare for the end of oil with me.

On another note my dear friend sent me a link to a documentary about the terrible disappearance of honey-bees. The film is cleverly named Silence of the Bees (after the grossly terrifying Silence of the Lambs). Alert yourself to information that has everything to do with our food production, in fact about 1/3 of our food production relies on bees.

Silence of the Bees

In the theme of bees I still have honey from the very noisy bees that lived on our ranch this summer. Get in touch with me if you want some! ($16 for 3lbs)

I’ll leave you with some quotes I enjoyed from Sherman Alexie, a Native American writer who really challenges our view of reality and stereotypes:

“Imagination is the politics of dreams; imagination turns every word into a bottle rocket”

“But those arguments were just as damaging as a fist. Words can be like that, you know?”

“How do you talk to the real person whose ghost has haunted you? How do you tell the difference between the two?”

Against Homework

From Scientific America:

Against Homework

“A child who has been boxed up six hours in school might spend the next four hours in study, but it is impossible to develop the child’s intellect in this way. The laws of nature are inexorable. By dint of great and painful labor, the child may succeed in repeating a lot of words, like a parrot, but, with the power of its brain all exhausted, it is out of the question for it to really master and comprehend its lessons. The effect of the system is to enfeeble the intellect even more than the body. We never see a little girl staggering home under a load of books, or knitting her brow over them at eight o’clock in the evening, without wondering that our citizens do not arm themselves at once with carving knives, pokers, clubs, paving stones or any weapons at hand, and chase out the managers of our common schools, as they would wild beasts that were devouring their children.”

At the Very Heart of it

I learned something extremely important today. Or I should say, rather, that something I have always believed in and think is extremely important, but have never expressed in writing, was written eloquently and impactfully, by wouldn’t you know it, an eloquent and impactful writer. In Sherman Alexie’s introduction to Percival Everett’s novel Watershed Alexie discusses the representation of Native American’s by non natives. As a rule Alexie is opposed to non native representation, that is until he reads Everett’s novel. The introduction and novel are more than worth reading in their entirety but the part that motivated me was when Alexie touched on the importance for writers to challenge and examine their subjects in an effort to find some version of authentic ‘truth’. I put truth in quotations here because truth is so often subjective and personal.

“Percival Everett interrogates me. He makes me doubt my most closely held beliefs and forces me to look at the world in new ways, and damn it, at the very heart of it, isn’t that exactly what we want our very best writers to do?”

Not all writing is interrogatory. But when we write and are arguing something aren’t we trying to challenge people to see something in a different way? In fact aren’t we trying to get them to see it our way? In this introduction Alexie asked some questions that I have not previously given any thought:

“Why do we admire the liberal radical who leaves his family to fight for freedom, but denigrate the conservative business man who leaves his family to make money?”

I guess we all feel the need to chose a side sometimes without considering some dualities and hypocrisies. Another tortuously true statement made by Alexie is the moral nature of human beings:

“Percival Everett understands that every individual human is morally ambivalent, that every human action has negative and positive reactions. Everett knows that the worst of us and the best of us are only separated by the thinnest of moral margins.”

This Native American literature class offers endless food for thought. One of the most important lessons so far is to approach talking about people from other cultures in a real or authentic way with humility and respect but also with some challenge and examination.

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