Remember Eva Gabor yelping, “Goodbye City Life!” Well, I’m having my Eva Gabor moment. There
was a time in my life when I wore red fingernail polish, uh, actually had
finger nails, kept high heels under my desk for those special times and had
more suits than pairs of jeans.
Life has changed and I’m not complaining, as we made some conscious life
changes and living the way we do requires time and effort. We’ve gone through
our first full orto season and as I clean the canning pot yet again, it leads
me to wonder when the backlash to local, slow, seasonal eating is going to
It’s wonderful to plant a garden in the spring; the little plants
are so full of the promise of good things to come. Then summer comes and you
eat tomatoes until you burst. Then fall blows in…and by now, you are flummoxed
about what to do with yet another large batch of produce. I’ve canned tomatoes until my fingers
shriveled, figs are embedded in my shoes and my rugs, and I even ground my own
grape skin flour! And this morning, I’ve got liters of limoncello waiting to be
I’m not complaining, but I do wonder how many other people
would do this. People who eat local for a year get a book deal! OK people, this
is not Everyman stuff if you get a book deal.
I think its high time for the media to stop taking the easy
way out and publish every word that falls out of Michael Pollen’s mouth, and
I’m taking the easy way out here by making him the fall guy for what I perceive
as an over-simplification. I’m thrilled that Michelle Obama has a garden at the
White House, but not for a second do I think she’s loosing sleep over what to
do with the green tomatoes that are still on the vine.
There has been a huge disconnect from our food source, and
I’m completely in favor of acknowledging that chickens actually die to make
Chicken McNuggets, but expecting people to grow their own, eat only in season
or not eat any food that’s traveled more than 50 miles, is just plain nuts. It’s
also not going to solve the problem of e.coli in frozen hamburger patties or
spinach, because the bulk of the population uses bagged spinach and stashes
frozen hamburger in the freezer. Its time to open up the discussion to reality:
food will need to be mass grown to feed the masses, it will need to go through
distribution centers, but that doesn’t’ mean that we shouldn’t take a good hard
look at what’s going on and fix it.
Ask yourself some questions:
Are you willing to wash your own spinach, cut up your
Are you willing to travel to find a good, responsible
butcher, pay more for your meat, and probably eat less of it?
Are you willing to eat fish that hasn’t been filleted and
still looks like a fish?
Are you willing to give up coffee or olive oil, because not
that many of us live close to coffee growers or olive groves?
Or what about that gorgeous Australian syrah you recently
tasted. Willing to give that up?
Are you willing to give up sleeping in on a Saturday morning
so that you can weed the garden?
None of us are saints; everyone has something they don’t
want to do without and I’m not advocate of paralyzing food guilt. Not all of us
are cut out for the Little House on the Prairie routine and I’m absolutely
certain that if a woman from the mythical Old West Prairie was to drop down
into a 21st century kitchen she would sink down on her knees in
tears of gratitude.
So, let’s step up the discussion and stop damning all that
is mass produced or shipped, stop feeling guilty for buying potato chips
instead of growing the potatoes, and start getting creative in our thinking
about how to fix what is wrong with our food distribution systems. We should
move beyond sound bytes and media slogans to truly, honestly debate how to
develop a sustainable food model.