Monday, September 18, 2006

Epiphany in a Terry Cloth Robe

Saturday night we had some friends over for dinner. Mark and Carla have a little girl just a couple months younger than our oldest son (who's four and a half), and they're finally at an age where we can let them have the run of the backyard and we can have a martini and finish sentences. It's nice.

Carla, who is very involved in organic, slow, local food, suggested we have a slow food meal -- she and I would both take a look at what was being offered at local farmer's markets and make a great meal. She had just bought some local meat, so offered to bring some huge t-bones that Phil would grill.

It was really fun going through the farmer's market Saturday morning, thinking through what would work. Here's what we ended up with:

* Cheese from two local dairies/cheese artisans
* Crostini made from a baguette from a local bakery
* T-bone steaks Phil grilled to perfection
* Bacon from the same local butcher; it was amazing and my four-year-old ate about 3 pounds of it
* Cherry tomatoes mixed with salt and pepper and olive oil, then broiled for about 20 minutes
* Stir-fried pattypan squash, zucchini squash, summer squash, and okra
* A greens salad made with some special dark greens I'd never even heard of -- with a light balsamic vinagrette
* An apple crisp made with four varieties of apples from a local orchard

We ate well.

Sunday morning I made my coffee and stumbled to our pantry to get the boys their morning PopTarts and, staring at the shelves of processed, micro-packaged food, had an epiphany: We can do better. I can take better care of my family. I can slowly make a difference in what goes into our bodies and the impact it has on our environment.

So I'm adding to the millions of blogs with my own. I hope this will help me be honest. Help me not feel guilty because I can't do it all at once. Help me remember that with a teensy bit of planning I can:

* Make more homemade meals
* Stop supporting McDonald's (added bonus: all those plastic crappy toys that end up between the couch cushions will eventually disappear)
* Eat local, organic, and fair
* Maybe steer ourselves toward having a simpler life

I'm a VP at a major publisher. I regularly carry a cell phone, iPod, and Blackberry in my Coach purse. I subscribe to Netflix and drink premium gin. I'm not a 60s hippie throwback. But I'm one person who knows that my actions can change things for my family and myself and can help to break the cycle of bad, homogenous, tasteless, over-packaged, unhealthy, bad-for-the-environment food.

Party on, little blog.


Blogger Carla Hall said...

I misted up! I love the epiphany, and I'm so happy for you. As you well know, I know exactly what it means to make a life-changing decision. Hurrah, Hurrah for you and Phil and the boys! Seflishly, I love that now I'll have someplace to go to get my inspiration that's local and personal. I love the Blog title "Slowish Food"! It makes me think of Jewish Food and Slavish Food (it's terrible when you're American White Bread like me and have no ethnic inspiration for cooking). I love you taking steps that make sense! I love the garlic soup, and I love that I helped (hopefully without being too preachy!) a little.

Now it's my turn to create a blog and keep myself honest as well. You've inspired me to get rid of the baby fat I still carry that's now well over four years old! You've also inspired me to work on the journaling which is a life-long ambition of mine. It must be in a good moon cycle 'cause the karmic inspiration feels pretty good today.

p.s. Carky McCarkle is a nod to my dad who used to call me "Carky" long after my sister learned to say her L's. (Real name is Carla to those who don't know.)

8:11 AM  
Blogger Carla Hall said...

Oh, the carky thing doesn't show up. Disregard the p.s.

Also, speaking of inspiration. I recall that you would buy lentils from Wild Oats back in the day when I was FT momma and PT cashier. Do you have a great lentil recipe. I've always been afraid of them and was actually thinking about asking you about a lentil recipe this morning.

8:14 AM  
Blogger amyzeats said...

My dear Cindy Morrow Kitchel --

Yippie! Great, great, great. I think one of the things I find most heartening about this is the closing-of-gap aspect between so-called gourmet and people-who-cook and, ohhh, that awful word I hate so very much (foooooodies -- ew) and those who feel they don't know where to begin in the kitchen. The latter have been sold a bill of pre-packaged goods. Cooking takes effort, sure; but so does opening a frozen or dehydrated box of who's-ee-whats, adding water, punching buttons, waiting. And the result is awful on myriad levels. No matter a person's level in the kitchen, we all do this -- reach for something easy. An old stand-by. I think one of mine is pre-packaged rice mixes, with those mysterious-o powders and dried "vegetables" in them. Honestly, why do I do that? Is it really that much easier? I've never once bothered to read the ingredients. I think I will today.

The other day at my made-up internship (Cindy knows about this, and for anyone who cares, I work one day a week at the restaurant of a friend). I saw turmeric, live and in its funny-looking flesh, for the first time. Of course, I've seen it in spice jars; it's somewhere mixed up in the jumble of mine, but I'd never seen it in its normal state -- kind of like mini-ginger, but bright orange on the inside when you peel away the skin, like a tiny carrot. When you cut it, your fingers turn golden yellow. So that's where the color comes from. It was wonderful.

5:22 AM  
Blogger Cindy K said...

Okay, Amy. In honor of your internship, I'm going to find and try a recipe with real live turmeric. If it's fabulous, I'll post it. That's so cool! I had no idea it didn't grow dried and ground up in little tins from Dean & Deluca.

6:11 AM  
Blogger amyzeats said...

My chef buddy had a James Beard dinner he was cooking last night, so I had yesterday off, but I have an assignment from him -- I have to use one of the new spices I've learned about in his kitchen (nigella, fenugreek, shimchimi, amchoor, urfa biber, horipito, kokum -- it's sound like an incantation all strung together like that, and there's more!) in a dish, and I have to go to this neat spice shop on Lexington and talk to the owner and bring something new home, of course, to complete the project. If it turns out okay, I'll post... :)

8:09 AM  
Blogger amyzeats said...

p.s. i love, love, love the photo of the boys. :)

8:22 AM  
Blogger Carla Hall said...

I want to say, "what are all those bottles next to bopper Max?" but I won't 'cause that would sound preachy.

I know not what tumeric looks like in its natural state, so I now have a mission too. I did a stint at waiting tables at a bistro in Colorado back in 2001. The chef was amazing. He made me fall in love with sauces of all kinds. I shied away (ran away screaming, I'm embarrassed to say) from fish before him, but it didn't take me long to understand that properly cooked and treated fish wasn't anything like the overfried stuff cooked in my house growing up. At the bistro in Colorado everything was made from scratch, but everything was simple and nothing was overwhelmed with a flavor but instead perfectly complimented--somehow I had never experienced or appreciated that melding of perfect ingredients before. I regret that I was so busy eating everything and having fun that summer (and conceiving Emily, as it turned out ;) that I didn't bother to learn how to cook. Now I cannot find the chef and I wrack my brain trying to remember the ingredients I saw them using.

In my next life as a waitress, I'll definitely pay more attention and get that never-before-matched recipe for Caesar dressing, with real anchovies.

12:59 PM  

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