Friday, May 18, 2012

where do we go from here?

Following a new program, food-wise, can be fun and exciting in the beginning. So much is new. So much is intriguing. And there's just so much to learn. What's not to love?

After a while, though, the newness fades and then it's just life. It's daily meals. It's shopping. It's cooking. It's planning. It's sometimes far less than exciting. It's a strange predicament for a foodie with health issues. You love to cook. You love to eat. also want to get through the day without pain and pills.

Lately, I've begun to experience a bit of ambivalence about food. In fact, I feel a bit at odds with myself most days. It seems like I cook all the time and that I don't cook at all. It seems I write all the time and that I don't write at all. Some days I'm a health nut and some days a wine enthusiast. Some days I feel like a food snob. Some days I'd give almost anything to be able to order a pizza. Or Chinese food. Or eat ice cream. Or Linn's olallieberry pie. With whipped cream.

Of course, I don't follow any of those self-destructive whims. But even now, as I try to express this often frustrating side-trip in my food world, my mind keeps turning to foods I will, in all likelihood, never even taste again. Gooey, cheesy, lasagne for instance. I always recommend focusing on the foods you love that love you back---or at the very least, don't attack when you least expect it. Usually, I follow my own advice with ease. But sometimes, it's harder. Sometimes I feel neither creative nor practical. Sometimes I wish I could simply eat a slice of Pyrenees bread, slathered in butter and follow that with some creamy Point Reyes blue cheese.

One place I look for inspiration at times like these is to other food bloggers, to Facebook foodie friends, and Paleo books and articles. And if I can keep myself from constantly gravitating towards the few dishes that include butter, I am able to find the fun once again. Not for good, but for awhile. For I am convinced, we will not likely ever arrive at a place where all is done and settled, where creativity and excitement are constants. We have to continually recreate that new feel, that excitement we had at the start. And looking to one another may be the very best way to do that. I will be back to foodie talk and recipes soon. Thanks for bearing with me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

in my dreams

Don't you just love spring? Breezy cool days as temperatures slowly begin to rise. Sprouts and blossoms, new leaves on previously dormant trees.

I've heard of spring. I've read about spring. I've seen pictures of it.

I've just never---well---experienced a spring. Our weather usually goes from coats and sweaters to shorts and tank tops overnight. While I may be ever-so-slightly exaggerating, it always feels like yesterday was winter and today is summer. Every year.

Nowhere is this more evident than in a kitchen garden. And for me, no other kind of garden makes any sense. Of course, I grow flowers, edible flowers. Our trees are fruit trees. GK wants a small pine forest in the back yard. "Which ones have edible pine nuts and will they grow here?" was my only response. And yes, we do have some ornamental landscaping that was here when we bought the house. Even so, every plant we've added in seven years is edible.

I'm lucky with our growing climate in many ways. We have a least a dozen citrus trees. Rarely is winter weather here cold enough to threaten them, though it does happen. Eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, grapes, okra, all sorts of squash, even melons and pumpkins grow beautifully here. We have a long, hot growing season. And I know I've mentioned before that much of the world's garlic is grown here. I have little room to complain. It's just that I would love lots of dainty lettuces, radishes, sugar snap peas---all those lovely spring crops I fantasize about every year. Still, to this day, I convince myself that I can do it, that I can coax spring crops out of my 80 and 90 degree April and May. Pure fantasy. I can plant them, and I have. I can pray they come up, and they have. I have been known to actually clip a few tiny lettuce leaves for a salad. A moment of two that hold a glimpse of success, and then Wham! reality. Hot, sunny---no glary, dry days turn all those tender little leaves brown.

Every time I toy with the idea of eating local, always local, it comes back to our weather. Wonderful summer crops, satisfying fall harvests, not too horrible winters, but...but...but... My only recourse, I believe, is to create such an amazing, self-contained micro-climate somewhere in my yard that any and every spring crop would thrive. Do you think there's a kit?