A Food Journey: Mostly Plants

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” That’s the simple mantra from food writer Michael Pollan. I recently watched his PBS program, In Defense of Food. It aired locally on WGVU on December 30th. I won’t rehash it, but you may be able to find it on the web. He also wrote a book by the same title in 2008.

I actually stumbled on the program. Wednesday night is “science night” on PBS. We watched the weekly episode of Nature. In Defense of Food immediately followed. As the program played out, all I could think was, “ooo ooo ooo CSA!” Besides the mantra, Pollan shared another pithy (and easy to remember) idea: “If it came from a plant, eat it, If it was made in a plant, don’t.”

Contrast this to (so-called) survivalist food being promoted by televangelist Jim Bakker. Bakker is selling, through his web site, various powered/freeze-dried products with a shelf life of twenty years. Mix with water and heat…assuming both are available when you might need this type of food. It’s not my idea of eating food.

The summer and winter CSA seasons hooked me on eating local veggies. How does one continue this in the off season? True, I’ve potatoes coming out my…ears. I’m just now eating the ones from September. The celeriac, squash, onions, and shallots also look good. All are stored in the darkened laundry chute room of my basement. I figure all of those veggies will last me until Spring.

I've got potatoes coming out of my...

I’ve got potatoes coming out of my…

But not everything keeps. I have some beets and they look very sad. Leeks get real papery if not eaten immediately. I’ve learned both are salvageable if I peel away some layers. But they should be eaten soon. And I have greens hiding in my fridge and in my garage. They’re mostly edible (albeit a little wilted). But the mushiness factor is rising. I figure I can make them last through the end of January with a bit of trimming.

Then what? Yeah, I have some Irish in my blood, but I’m not gonna subsist on potatoes. I made a trek to the Fulton Street Farmers Market on January 2nd. Bless them for braving the cold. I found largely what was in my basement: squash, potatoes, leeks, apples, and a few other veggies. No greens.

So, if I want to eat mostly plants and mostly local, I have a conundrum.

Over the course of the last year, my wife has suggested getting a freezer. Then we experienced a power outage in the wee morning hours of December 24th. We received a surprise gift of power on Christmas Day. Luckily, everything in the fridge and attached freezer were ok. But if we had a standalone freezer, would we have been as lucky? I’m not going to invest in an emergency power generator just to keep a standalone freezer going. I may be eccentric at times, but I think that one’s going too far.

I guess in the interim, I’ll make do. I’ll buy what I can from Fulton Street and fill in the gaps with the stuff trucked in to my local supermarket from who knows where. Since I now have a good idea of the Blandford Farm CSA schedule, I can better plan use, storage, and preservation of the 2016 harvest. The trick will be combatting my lethargy at the preservation part. Stay tuned.

But I would much rather try to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Instead of trying to reconstitute something out of a processed powder.

About the author:  Dave Gillen didn’t want to eat hotdogs for the rest of his life, so he learned to cook. His mother taught him to boil water, fry an egg, and make oatmeal cookies. Dave forgot how to make the cookies, barely remembered how to fry eggs, but is spot on at boiling water. Currently, he divides his days between being wife Lois’ in-house techno geek and personal chef…and walking his greyhounds.

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