Friday, July 5, 2013

Thoughts on Food

Most folks reading this little blog likely share some of the same beliefs that I have.  You can never have too large a garden.  A chicken is man's best friend, really they are, dogs are just more pushy and cute-like.  Planting a fruit tree is investing in the future, likely far more secure than investing in some CD or other at the bank.

But as it is summer, the peak season of all things food and fresh, I'm hoping that my readers are at least considering the idea of preserving some of the readily available bounty.  I've met so many people who sigh and grumble and admit that, yes, well, they really do want to put up jam-ketchup-frozen-green-beans-something, but oh dear it is so much work.  Or they recall the time that they went out and picked a ton of berries-beans-tomatoes and were really really going to start canning-freezing-drying, and then they never did, and so everything rotted and got tossed into the garbage anyway, after making the fridge stink for a couple of weeks.

So listen.  Here's the deal.  I've been there.  Really, I have.  Before I became this insane food preserving nut-ball living on a quarter-acre Farmlette with raucous hens, I would go to the farmers market with grand ideas and no knowledge, and little time or supplies to actually do the amazing culinary thing I had envisioned.

But somewhere down the line, after reading my fiftieth copy of Mother Earth News or some article or other about the evils of preservatives, I got committed to actually doing the work.  And it is indeed work.  Canning is a hot, tedious job and it is mostly done when the weather is the hottest and you're already slaving in the garden all morning/evening and the last thing you want to do is make a batch of pressure-canned green beans before crawling into bed.  It is hard work.  And that, of course, is why it is so satisfying and necessary.  We've become a culture of convenience food-like substances served at every meal, and collectively we've become fat, lazy and stupid because of it.  Making food should be work.  It always has been work, for cryin' out loud, the work that sustained nations of people all over this poor, abused little planet of ours for centuries.  Why on earth should I be so arrogant to assume that, for me, it doesn't have to be work?

I'm not saying that everyone should be out there in canning jars and peeled tomatoes up to their eyebrows.  But, if you're reading this, you have perhaps been thinking that you can do a little more, from the ground up, to ensure that you have food on hand that you know the provenance of.  So, go ahead.  Stop by the farmers market or the corner veg stand.  Buy a giant bag of berries or vat of green beans, and spend the evening prepping them for the freezer. (It's a great thing to do while watching an episode or two of Victorian Farm.)  Pick up a copy of a canning guide book, or better yet: go to your local library and meet a whole new community of people.  Just get started, instead of worrying about what you're not doing and how awful the food/climate/government situation is.  Starting is the hardest part.

Before you know it, you'll be the neighbor with the goats walking around on leashes for their daily after-milking constitutional.

Just kidding.  Maybe you'll just get chickens.

In the next few weeks, I'll be including some posts on what I put up, how the food storage plan works around here, and why I have so much food squirreled away for one person.  You may wind up thinking I am crazy, but hey, that's okay.  We're all a little nuts in our own special ways.  I just get a nice supply jam and frozen chickens from my version of madness.

1 comment:

  1. I've grumbled, but still stock it up. Today, my list contains: can wild black raspberry jam, freeze sugar snap peas, and can zucchini relish.


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