Three Weeks Into It

cookin’

Three weeks after beginning my 250-mile diet I am beginning to notice a few changes in my daily life. On the one hand, it’s not that different from how August eating has been for me in recent years: Gardening, farmers markets, and community supported agriculture all supplying a peak season abundance of gorgeous produce; a slightly lighter than spring or autumn schedule granting me time in the kitchen to can, freeze, and dry it all, as well as cook fresh meals. But…

There are jars of food under my bed. That is new. I’ve run out of the shelf space I allotted to my homemade preserves in past years, so I purchased some plastic bins that neatly hold additional jars and fit under my fold-out futon. I am seriously eying the books on my shelves and asking myself which could be moved to my rented storage unit three blocks away. And what do you think about my storage facility’s contractual insistence on not storing food there? I get why you wouldn’t want fresh foods that could bring in mold or bacteria, but what about pasteurized, vacuum-sealed jars of home-canned goods? Haven’t stretched that point yet, but I’m thinking about it.

But hey, is a diminutive, New York City-sized apartment that much smaller than some homesteader’s one-room log cabin in a past century? The only reason I don’t have drying garlic and herbs hanging from the rafters is that I don’t have any rafters (I have them hanging from thumbtacks in my hallway instead).

So what is different? Planning. Knowing, as every generation prior to 1950 did, that this season’s abundance needs to supply not only tonight’s feast but also winter’s sustenance. All this stocking up is because I really don’t know what doing this local eating experiment is going to be like in winter. If I’m going overboard with the squirreling, well, I’ll throw a few late winter parties to use up my extras. But maybe those squirrels know a thing or two.

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2 responses to “Three Weeks Into It”

  1. Miriam says:

    Leda,

    Although excellent foodstuff is available year ’round, I have a longing to preserve and store away – a throwback to our ancestors, probably, for whom it was a necessity. With your choice to eat locally, you’re now experiencing that, and in a way I envy you. I often sigh and think how wonderful it would be to have a garden to supply us with part of our vegetables, more pantry space to store what I dry and preserve – but am now humbled by your verve and determination to make what you have in hand work.

    I guess I’ll have to wait till next year to send you some Middle Eastern spices. Or do gifts not count? Er, wait, I just went over The Rules…but am still in doubt. All the ingredients in my za’atar are local to me, does that make 25 grams or so of it acceptable?

    Miriam

  2. ledameredith says:

    Actually, I did give myself a gift exemption in The Rules (see Rule No. 5)…and some za’atar would be wonderful!

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