Since we’ve decided that it is impractical for us to bury ourselves trying to build a profitable farm so quickly, without real knowledge or skill to do so, I need a new focus. We’re completely committed to growing as much of our own food as possible. Now I want to learn how to cook. I’m not talking about making mac and cheese from a box, I’m talking from scratch. We are still completely into local food and sustainable eco-friendly production methods (how’s that for jargon!). But we don’t have to be the ones producing it. We just need to support those who do.
Last weekend we went up to Eugene’s farmer’s market, and one of the vendors there had a great little resource guide mapping out all the local farms in the area, what they produce and when and where they sell. Also it listed all the farmers markets in the county. There is a market happening every day of the week except for Mondays. This is how I’m going to start shopping, no more Safeway for me! Well, as much as possible at least. Ed and I figure we won’t be purists. For one thing, there is no local coffee, sugar or flour, all of which are essential to us. Hmm, there might be local flour, from eastern Oregon. We’ll buy everything that is available locally, but for that which is not, we are not going to go without. However, I would like to find a banana distributor that is not Dole.
So I want to cook, and I think cooking should be a messy process. I’ll throw it up against the wall, be covered in sugar and flour, and have vegetable shavings at my feet. I’ve always wanted to purchase my flour and rice in fifty pound bags. Part of this comes from my childhood, my mom had cans and cans of whole wheat, which she would grind and make bread with. And there is nothing like the smell of baking bread. There is a family dinner roll receipt that I am pretty good at making, but Ed and I are really looking forward to making all kinds of bread.
I have a problem when it comes to my desire to cook, I don’t really like food. That is, I’m a very picky eater. When we lived in LA, we would listen to NPR on the way to work (Ed and I worked six blocks from each other and had the luxury of commuting and eating lunch together everyday), and one day they had a segment on picky eaters. It’s a documented subject, where the appearance and texture matter almost more than smell and taste, although they matter too. It was describing me perfectly. Ed would always tease me when we would go out to dinner, I would take one bite of my meal, and say it tasted funny. And that was it, my way of saying I didn’t like it. I’m a basic steak and potatoes (medium rare of course), hashbrowns and eggs, bread and cheese, Mexican food (I grew up an hour north of the border) kind of girl. It’s not the most well-balanced diet. I might be slightly exaggerating, but not by much. Ed, on the other hand, is a garbage disposal, so even if I don’t like what I make, I know he’ll eat it.
I’m trying to stretch my limits. I tried mushrooms for the first time in 20 years, they were a little spongy, and I didn’t really like them, but I tried! I had asparagus, which I never liked, and it was okay, the real little ones were, depending on how they were cooked. The fresh ingredients help; I throw everything I can into the salads: cucumbers, strawberries, radishes, bell peppers, onions, carrots, avocado, cilantro, and maybe some lettuce. I’m making myself hungry. I want to start making stews and casseroles. I flip through my Betty Crocker cookbook and dream of all the wonderful things I will cook. It’s such an art: food preparation. I have a little desire to domesticate; it’s strange to admit because I was always the little anti-everything. But if I didn’t allow myself to grow due to prejudices from my past I would be rather stupid. Thus my reason for trying mushrooms. Although I’m still not going to try fish