In the Living Kitchen

Musings, memories, meals in the making.

Cabbage and Kale

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We live in a world where anything we could ever want or crave is just right at our fingertips.  I know this.  And not only could I write one million pages on the subject of the effects of capitalism and globalization on the human soul but I also know that I am a participating member of this system.  I know I make cookies when I want something sweet, I eat nuts and olives, I drink black black tea.  I even bought bread last week.  (Well, my sourdough starter is long dead, that’s my excuse.)  The real kickers are dates and oranges, because, well, dates and oranges are produce.  Not to mention all the “things” I buy for myself and for my home.  I know these things, and I judge myself for these things.

I am also aware of all the books that have come out in the last five or so years, the I-spent-one-year-living-off-the-land books.  The eco-conscious-lifestyle-experiment books that inevitably end with the end of the experiment.  I know that most of these books contain a chapter on the excitement of seasonal produce.  (Oh, asparagus is here!  Oh tomatoes!)  Which seems ironic when all these foods exist year-round, less than ten miles away.

I am not knocking on the local food way of life, I am just pointing out the fact that this way of life is a choice, and it seems a sort of fabrication.  I feel like I am living proof of that fabrication, struggling daily with the pressures of my vain desires versus the pressures of my chosen way of life.  I live in a self made bubble, that exists only in my ideals and in my freezer.  Seriously, how can I ignore the fact that Sam works in a health food store?

I would love to live in a world where I could not buy tomatoes unless it was tomato season.  And everything else for that matter.  But instead, I live by a rule.  A rule that I break OFTEN for foods that I cannot grow myself or obtain locally.  Which sometimes means capers, which I do not actually need, just want, a lot.

So what is this all about?  It is so exciting to me that I dug three cabbages out from under the snow last week.  Three cabbages that were small, but delicious and fresh.  It is so exciting that I have 100 kale plants that are currently outside, tolerating the 10-degree temperatures and staying sweet and delicious.  My excitement over having these cold hearty vegetables this winter season made me think of all the things I buy at Sam’s store, all the food I consume that I didn’t grow, all the enormous cabbages and kale from California I am practically purchasing by purchasing oranges, the irony of my accomplishment.

If I let these feelings overcome me, I might just give up.  I have always known myself to be extremely self critical.  Despite the strong arm of self criticism, it is, at a certain point, just weakness.  Which is why I will continue to value my bubble, my ideals.  I will continue grow food and to eat it, to spend less at the store, and to experiment in my kitchen.


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