Monday, July 21, 2008

I wasn't tired when I started writing...

Nano, my friend, I don't know you very well, but it's pretty clear from your recent post that cooking like this gives you joy (I really want to know if you actually cried over pork). You cook for the sake of cooking, and you do it with style. You have the time and energy to do so, and you would probably be eating pretty similar meals without this challenge, so stick that nose up in the air and be proud of your justifiably beautiful creations.

Now, on to the heavy stuff.
I think the perceived link between elitism and sustainable living (including eating and shopping locally) stems from our consumer culture. It's easy for us to think of ourselves as simple, reasonable folks making decisions that jive with our views of the world, but the knowledge and abilities we have aren't necessarily common or even "common sense" to many in today's world. There is a huge amount of knowledge relating to food that the average person doesn't know (or care to know) and doesn't have to know because other people are happy to grow food for you (for a small fee). To invest time and energy to gain specific skills, like gardening, aren't necessary or possible for many folks, especially in the city where productive green spaces are somewhat scarce. To invest time and energy to make a beautiful meal from scratch using fresh, local ingredients isn't reasonable or economical for many folks either.

So: bridging the gap between our happy little co-op world where eating the way we do is possible because we make it work in our own ways and the world where people choose foods based on their wallets, not based on their impact on their bodies or other people or the environment. Is it possible? Yes, I think. Is it going to happen because we do this challenge? Not 100%, but primarily because there will always be people who don't want to know, who want the most bang for their buck, who don't find value in the things we find value in. And that's ok. I watched a friend eat an Arby's sandwich the other day, and I wished I could unknow what I know for just a minute and eat one too. But really, I'm glad I can't.

I'll leave you with a few non-fast food meals that have crossed my plate in the past week:

Risotto with mushrooms (not local) with freshly shelled peas and young onions (backyard local) = 25% (not my best work, but extra credit for weeding)

"Coleslaw" which started out as shredded broccoli stems (the tops went into stir fry) and kohlrabi (both backyard local) plus carrots and onions (not local) and quickly accumulated buddy beans from the deli (quasi-local, mostly just free) and walnuts (from Bergin) and the remainder of that feta cheese from Wisconsin from a few recipes back and topped off with some apple cider vinegar and olive oil (not local) = 90% due primarily to the absurd quantity of kohlrabi we grew accidentally because the seedlings look just like broccoli...


Liz said...

Ha!!! Isn't that great when you think you've got one thing growing in the garden and it ends up being something else! We planted a mix of broccoli and cauliflower last year and somehow ended up with only broccoli- ridiculous amounts.

Good observations on the local / elitism subject. And the food sounds super tasty!

nano said...

Yeah, nice post.

I reply/tag in, to some degree, above.