Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Peas Today, Potatoes Tomorrow
[Sidenote: This was supposed to be published days ago, I'm clearly losing my marbles!]
It isn't long before that big mechanized bunch of metal comes grumbling through the back yard to collect the yellowing peas. I must admit, a machine that can drive around a field, pick the peas, shell them, and dispose of the 'waste' -- all within a matter of minutes -- is pretty amazing. However, when I think of the intimate time spent squatting amongst the rows with sore knees and a sweaty forehead, this industrial vehicle loses its wonder. What could possibly be better than spending time outside with the veggies that will soon be on your plate at dinnertime?
A sad fact then comes to mind: hardly anybody (in industrialized countries) gets to experience this.
The closest many of us will ever get to the situation described above is, alas, at the local supermarket -- which is quite an experience in itself. Shoppers are exposed to a slew of goods and produce, most of which come from thousands of miles away, and have to decide what to get. What seems like a fairly ordinary thing on the shopping list can turn into quite the dilemma. Apples. Now which, red apples, green apples... or Grapples? What the hell are Grapples? Oh and should I go with organic apples, imported apples or local apples? Which is better for you, organic or l0cal?
What if we went back in time and ate only what our local soil would support? Would we all die and wither away? Nein. Sure, we wouldn't have half the variety we do now, but I can bet we'd be a whole lot healthier.
We as people need to open our eyes and realize just how out of touch we've become with what we're putting into our mouths. I just skimmed a couple of labels from the ol' pantry, and am seeing some ingredients like hexametaphospate, propylene glycol monoesters of fatty acids, and phenylalanine. Honestly, can anyone tell me off the top of their head what the hell those things are?! Like they say, if you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't be eating it.
To conclude, I should probably say that eating local can be a pretty expensive and difficult thing (I lasted about 16 hours going completely local, couldn't keep going without salt or olive oil in my food!). But, it isn't impossible. With some good research, commitment, and maybe something as lovely as this for you city slickers, it can be done.