Deep in the summer I made a decision to support my local farmers, my own health and the environment by shopping locally and eating seasonally. That’s an easy decision in July and August when the markets are overflowing with tomatoes, cucumbers, salad greens, peaches and berries. But this is December, and the end of December at that. This is where the rubber meets the road. Where there are no salad greens to be had for love or money at the farmer’s markets. There is barely any spinach.
In the few short months since I started this project it’s spiraled into other parts of my life. Last spring I was buying 3 lbs of Costco berries, not caring if they went bad because, after all, it was it was only $5. This summer that same $5 turned into a pint of berries at the farmer’s markets and just like that I learned to not only stop wasting food, but to stop taking it for granted. Food is a finite resource and I learned to be grateful for what I had.
That gratitude turned into prayer, a silent grace before each meal. Just a moment before eating that frittata to say thank you to the chickens who provided the eggs, the farmers who cultivated the spinach, raised the chickens and transported it all to me. A mental big ups to Mrs. London of Rock Hill Bakehouse for the 8 grain, 3 seed bread I’d just toasted and buttered and while I’m at it, thank you unknown cow for the milk that birthed the butter.
Instead of eating mindlessly, I was paying attention to each bite, savoring it, really getting the full pleasure of each ingredient. Being present for my food turned into eating less.
Eating less turned into dropping one size.
I’m sticking with this. I ate my first black radish, sliced, buttered and salted on 8 grain bread. My grandmother served it the same way, using chicken fat instead of butter. I like the idea of eating roots to get back to my roots.
Next winter, hopefully, I’ll have gotten the hang of planning ahead. Some time in the summer I’ll know to can some tomatoes, make some sauce and freeze it, make strawberry jam, learn how to clean and freeze spinach.
This winter I’m happy just to learn that there is more than one way to bake a squash.