So, I’ve been rubbish about posting on a regular basis. Excuses, excuses, yadda yadda. Let’s just say my motivation has hit somewhat of a low. That has something to do with being at the tail end of two kids with back-to-back bouts of pneumonia (the only fun part being that the medicine they were put on is what we now call PRINCESS SPARKLY MEDS and it IS magical). I’ve also been really busy at work, so by the time I get home, the kids are fed & in bed and the kitchen’s back in order, it’s all I can do just to check twitter & fb and maybe score a few rounds against those egg-stealing pigs before I go face-plant on my bed.
All of this has taken some of the steam out of the whole cooking local effort, since it makes it really hard to plan for heavily locally-sourced meals when you’re just trying to keep your head above water. I know very few people who manage to do a lot of cooking from scratch throughout the week where A) both adults work full-time day jobs out of the house, and B) there’s at least one child living in the house. I have a brontosaurus-sized bone to pick with folks like Anthony Bourdain, who stick their nose up in the air at anything boxed or canned; we don’t all have the luxury of taking hours to make dinner each night. Sometimes, even one hour is more than we can muster. On any given day, I’m home just under 45 minutes from when we want dinner on the table. That doesn’t give a lot of leeway.
That’s why I was really annoyed when I listened to this piece on NPR, because it still missed part of the point. While the chef is preparing a risotto that’s inexpensive to pull together, there’s no mention of how *quickly* it can come together. If a risotto takes no less than 45 minutes (on a good day, and when working with a simple recipe), how on earth is it something that can be managed by an exhausted parent, coming home after the end of a long workday, trying to manage kids while making this inexpensive-yet-not-boxed meal?
So, there’s a part of me that says that this is unrealistic. That’s not to say that I’m giving up. It just means that I’m trying to be realistic about it. We have a food crisis on this planet. For starters, there’s plenty of food, but it’s not being distributed to everybody who needs it. Rich nations get fat, and poor nations are starving. That’s just insane. Second, we have people who can’t make ends meet in our own neighborhoods – regardless of how “rich” or “poor” your neighborhood is. That’s really horrifyingly insane. [Everybody, go open a new tab in your browser and donate to your local food bank, now, please.] And, in a country where we should really be able to manage things better, we have this concept of a “food desert”, where there’s just crap access to places where you can get affordable, fresh foods. [Feel free to check out the USDA Food Desert Locator, to see how close you live to a food desert…we’re astonishingly close to one – where I’m astonished because we live within a 10 minute drive of four good grocery stores.]
OKAY. TIME TO GET IT TOGETHER AGAIN.
There’s a point at which you kind of have to accept that you can’t be everything to everybody. Similarly, there’s only so much you can buy if you don’t have unlimited sums of cash. And, you can’t do everything you want to do without unlimited time. These are all just truths. It’s just how it is. That doesn’t mean you can’t strive to be a good person in all that you do, that you can’t try to squeeze the best value out of your budget, and that you can’t be efficient with your time so that you can do as many of the things you want as possible. But it DOES mean that some trade-offs are required. For me, that includes knowing that I’m not always doing exactly what I wish I could be doing in my kitchen. We did bake a ton over the long weekend last week – and that was great. But I have squash sitting in my fridge, taking up serious space, plaintively crying out, When will you eat us?! I will get to you my pretties, just give me time.
Patience, in all things. Gotta be better about that myself.
More on week 2 and week 3 of the CSA later. And now…off to take dd to a playdate down the street.