Friday, June 12, 2009
I've complained a lot about the rudimentary cooking facilities I have at my disposal but what I haven't told you is how we are eating. I've complained about shitty markets but I haven't shared much about what I am actually able to buy.
Things fall into two camps here: it's either locally produced, organic and fresh or it's shipped from a million miles away and it's total crap. (think vienna sausages, macaroni and cheese, velveeta, tang and cheetos). Yes. Really. I was all set to carry on about US imperialism until I realized that someone on this end is actually ordering all this bullshit and asking for it to be sent down here so I'll hold my tongue.
One thing that irks me beyond belief is the lack of healthy snacks for M, I've stopped snacking entirely and am better for it but kids or at least my kid, she likes to eat. A lot. And snacks here are for shit unless it's fruit and a kid will only eat so much of that. Everything and I mean everything has high fructose corn syrup in it. But on occasion and sometimes to please M we buy some of the distant crap, a hard day means we might just make a box of macaroni. But on a good day and there are happily more of those than bad I cook.
The other day we made flour tortillas by hand, I cooked and refried some dried beans I bought at a local supplier, cooked up chicken bought from the farm in town and bought produce (tomatoes, onion, cilantro, peppers) from the local market where the farmers come and sell their produce daily. Even our cheese (if you aren't hungry for velveeta) comes from less than 10 miles away.
So when we sat down to eat it suddenly hit me: every single thing on the table was locally grown, farmed or manufactured. While that means we have a lot less choices we are also finally living up to one of the ideals we'd set. We are sustaining ourselves food-wise within our living area about 80% of the time. And that's even without our own garden, something we've yet to establish because the season is wrong.
So I forgave the oven and I sat back and I smiled, M pointed to each food and asked where I got it and how far away it was and we realized we were within a 10 mile radius all the way. It's the first time in all this time I'd really thought it through and now it's a challenge every day, to see how close to 100% I can get.
Don't misunderstand, we aren't always batting a thousand here, like I said boxed mac and cheese finds it's way here sometimes but now at least it's matched with bread I've baked or gotten from the local bakery, paired with sweet tropical fruits we've either found or purchased. Simply put, it's just the way it's done here and for many folks they live their entire lives like this, living and eating and working in a small circle, eating fruit off their own trees and eggs from their chickens and their imprint on the earth is tiny and it reminds me once again how often the poor carry the rich on their backs in ways known and unknown all around the world every single day.
So when I can forget about the lack of work and the scorpion waving it's tail in my kitchen yesterday I start to think maybe, just maybe we're not entirely full of shit after all. This move has been hard in many ways, eye opening in others, stilling and refreshing and scary and adventurous and hot and wow, yes wow, kinder to the earth after all.