Animal, Vegetable, Cleveland?

April 11, 2008 at 3:03 pm (books, environment, food)

I recommend reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but I don’t recommend reading it when you’re on a trip to Cleveland.

Before reading the book, when confronted with unfresh, unlocal, not-in-season food, I ate it with mostly no issues. It’s not like I had never had yummy fresh, local, and in-season produce before or that I didn’t know intellectually that buying local foods was better. I just didn’t think too much about it and accepted that there were times for convenience and money when I had to eat the bland and mushy tomatoes and the soggy and flavorless lettuce and all the other stuff from our inefficient world food market. Well, I’m inspired by the book. I don’t want to eat yucky food anymore when the yummy food is not only yummier, but also so much better for my health, the health of farming communities, and the planet’s health. The only problem is that I came to this decision in Cleveland and in various airports where the options weren’t great. As I was reading Barbara Kingsolver’s stories about all the delicious food she was eating, I had to stare at my bland airport and Cleveland* food. I can’t believe they’re allowed to call those things that I ate salads! I think next time, I will plan ahead and bring my own fruit and veggies to snack on.

*I’m sure there are better options in Cleveland. But I was only there for less than 48 hours and I didn’t know where to look. But I did see my first McCain bumper sticker ever!

Here’s one thing that I had never thought to do before and that I was inspired to do: buy extra fresh fruits and veggies in the seasons when there are lots of options and save them for the winter months. I can stock my freezer with sauces and pestos and containers of fruits and veggies that I’ve chopped and maybe blanched and perhaps even measured out for specific recipes. Maybe I’ll try canning or making jam one day. That allows you to eat local even in the winter months. As Barbara Kingsolver said, “it doesn’t go anywhere while it’s sitting in the freezer, so the food is still local.” Or something similar to that but worded in a wittier way. The only issue is freezer space and the energy to power the freezer. But I’m powering the freezer anyway (I don’t turn the freezer off in the winter months). And I can just buy fewer processed and unlocal and packaged foods and replace those with the yummy stuff that I’ve prepared.

I’m also going to try making fresh mozzarella. It is only supposed to take 30 minutes and it involves lots of playing with gooey and stretchy substances. I love mushing and stretching stuff around, especially if it results in something fresh and yummy to eat.

There’s a website that goes with the book… they have lots of recipes and other stuff.


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