Monday, May 4, 2009

goal

I just started reading Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" yesterday. I spied it while scouting out the "New" section of my library. Since it's been on my to read list for well over a year now, I grabbed it and hugged it tight on my walk home. I went for one book, thinking a walk would be nice, and left with six, half regretting my decision. But, it was well worth it. Her writing is engaging and honest, and the subject is so inspiring. I think this book is really the kick in the ass that I've been needing. Knowledge alone is, apparently, not enough. Everything seems so much more doable after reading about someone else's experience.

And so, I would like to make a goal for myself. This summer, I will eat as locally and wholly as possible. I won't pick the easiest thing, or the cheapest. Thought, eating this way is, for the most part, cheaper. I will learn how to cook and stop being afraid of it. Not afraid, really.... When I'm stressed out and have a ton of homework to do, it's just easier to heat something up, or to run out and get food that was probably imported, then processed, then made for me by a teenager. Globally, is that easier? No.

Last year, we rented out a 24'x24' community garden plot, hoping to accomplish something like this, though less lofty of a goal. Well, it sucked. It didn't drain, it flooded. It was a bad year for peppers. The tomatoes were very sad. It was far away and a huge thorn in our sides. By the end of the season, we nearly gave up. And we had weeds to show for it. This year, we have a tiny yard. I want to use about half for food and half for flowers. I have sugar snap peas, carrots, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, herbs and beans in my plan. All things that I love to eat. It may not be the most practical mix of things, and given the size of my space it will not be enough to supply us all of what we need, obviously. But, it will make a dent. These are all things that we would otherwise buy in the store. Well, I do have to give myself credit and say that most of our veggies we buy at the farmers' market. But still.

I want to do most of my shopping at the farmers' markets. Northville on Thursday, Ann Arbor or Eastern Market on Saturday. I think Canton's is Sunday, if I'm feeling really ambitious some weeks. I hope to learn what each market's best things are, and to take some from each. This probably isn't that realistic, since I work most weekend mornings (I plan on taking Saturday morning off, though), but ambition will push me. Also, telling all of you this will push me. Documenting this on my blog and through Flickr and Twitter and god knows what else will motivate me to have something to show. So, thank you for your help :)

First step I think: learn how to cook. Learn to really value cooking. Our cooking, not just going home and having my mom's fabulous cooking. I want to cook like that. I want people to want to eat what I cook. I want to have friends over to share a meal that I made. While I don't have the space that my mom does, I want to follow in her path in this way. I don't, however, think my landlord will allow chickens. Even if they lay blue eggs.

I'll start tomorrow by cooking dinner. I need to find a really good, user-friendly seasonal cookbook. Anyone have any recommendations? Lisa?

4 comments:

Carlene said...

I am a huge fan of Deborah Madison's cookbooks, any of them. Check them out at the library.

I am hopefully going to have some sort of veggie garden for the first time this summer, too. My mom does it every year, but I never have. I checked with the landlady, she says it's okay. Now if it would just get warmer....

Brittany Noel said...

I just saw her name for the first time yesterday, I think... I will check the card catalog now!! Yes, let's have a vegetable adventure :) Can't wait to see what you're growing.

Matt said...

ok... so when I first read your post i thought of this TED lecture but it is by Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote "Eat, Love, Prey" I got the books confused they have similar titles... but it is an interesting lecture and thought I would share it with you anyways because TED is great.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

Lets hang out soon...

Brittany Noel said...

Matt!!! You have to come to Plymouth soon. And I have to come visit you :) we should go to the ann arbor farmer's market, too. and eastern market/dia maybe. thanks for the link! i'm a little too tired right now to watch something intelligent, but i bookmarked it for the morning. it looks like a really cool lecture. i miss you and have to see you as much as possible before you leave.