Animal, Vegetable, Migraine

focusing panic
on something I can control
why not make it food?

I am probably the last person in the world to read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I’m only on page 50 or so, but already it is freaking me out. I think it’s freaking me out in a good way, but the verdict is still out on that.

So far it has me convinced that Big Corn is just as evil (if not more evil) than Big Oil. It has me feeling guilty for not having insisted that we start our garden this spring (though, admittedly, with 100-plus-degree days for most of June [ARGH!] the garden would be fried by now). It also has me kicking myself for sleeping late on Saturdays and always missing the farmer’s market down the street. Must. Start. Waking. Up. Earlier.

Around this time last year (or was it later? It was later in the summer, I think) a friend of mine and I went in together on a weekly box of locally grown fruits and veggies. We split up the box, oohed and ahhed over the fun and weird stuff and then promptly never ate anything in it. Well, I can’t speak for her, but WE didn’t eat much of it. Watermelon? Yes. Funky japanese eggplant? Nope. We stopped getting the boxes and splitting them when there was a warning about black widows hitching a ride in them. Spiders + wasting food = back to frozen Amy’s mac and cheese.

(On a completely different tangent, the splitting of the local box didn’t last, but the friendship did. Back then we were awkward book group buddies and now we are awkward best buddies! There’s nothing like uneaten red okra, a fear of deadly spiders, and crazy ass two-year-olds to bond two women instantly. And now she’s going to want me to stop blogging like this and getting publicly misty so I will quit it.)

ANYWAY, this book. This book makes me want to split the local box again,  excepting the spiders, of course. It makes me want to join a CSA and learn more about the Ark of Taste (not a religious group desperate to promote decency and ban TV, like it sounds).

It makes me want to buy a garage freezer and half of a locally pastured, grass-fed cow and have a stash of healthy meat for a year.

But then I remember I don’t really cook that much or that well. And then I notice that I am eating a bag of cool ranch Doritos (chock full of MSG, by the way. When did they start doing that?!). And then I realize I am accidentally smearing the cool ranch finger funk on the pages of the book as I hungrily read about heirloom vegetables.

And I think, who are you kidding, crazy lady? Do you think Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies are locally harvested? Do you think CSAs deliver complete frozen meals? And what about the wee one? He still mainly subsists on peanut butter and pizza pockets (at least they are organic). Are you willing to starve him to death to stick it to Big Corn?

My answer is, of course, sure!

No, no, I jest. My answer is hell no. I can’t starve the wee one. I can’t give up brownies. (This is a fucking fuck of a pregnancy, y’all, mama has to hold on to whatever she can). But on the other hand, am I willing to try and make a real dinner with real food a couple of times a week? Maybe. Am I game for trying to assemble a salad made of local, or relatively local ingredients? Sure.

Maybe Big Corn and Big Oil will feel nary a tickle on their ass from my plans here, but that’s OK. Can it hurt to try to buy more local produce and meats? Hopefully not. I mean, last year my attempt at eating local produce was a huge flameout, but I ended up with a spectacular friend in the process. So why not let Barbara Kingsolver seep into my psyche a little and give me something to obsess over for a little while? Worst case is that I support some local farmers without actually eating or cooking what I buy. (Well, worst case would be contracting food poisoning and dying, I guess. But local is supposed to help guard against that, right?). Best case is that I learn some new recipes and start eating beets again.

Now maybe I should read more of the book. Who knows what will happen in the next 50 pages. Maybe I will want to move to Appalachia and grow chard. Maybe I will side with Big Corn and start bathing in high fructose corn syrup. My moods are very unpredictible these days.

I will set my alarm for Saturday, though. Who knows what kind of brownies you can rustle up at a farmer’s market. I’m certainly game to find out.

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