Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Peasant eating


This has so far been a winter of soup and pasta. In winters past, I've embraced a meal planning system, little cards kept in a binder, each one outlining a week of meals and the necessary groceries to make it happen. Those meals weren't anything exotic, but I'd usually work in something requiring avocados, or maybe purchased hot dog buns (veggie dogs are popular here) once a week. That was all well and good, but things are changing.


My garden carrots ran out just before Christmas, so, okay, I've been buying carrots. And celery. Garlic and onions I bought at Frog Pond before Halloween, in bulk, and I still have plenty. Ditto potatoes. I've purchased, I think, one cabbage, a few pounds of mushrooms, a few lemons, some leeks and scallions, and a couple heads of frilly endive at the store since winter began. Other than that, we're living off stuff I canned or frozen in the fall-- big jars of tomatoes, bags of peppers and eggplant, and jars of vegetable stock. 

(The salad is from my garden!)

This winter I've really started to understand how much I love seasonal eating. Seasonal eating is really just a fancy word for peasant food, and my GOD do I ever love peasant food. It's not just about flipping the grocery store the bird, it's not just about saving money, though those are perks. This year, I'm embracing soup. Lots of soup. Big soups with beans and chunks of carrots, tomato, and celery, and festooned with ribbons of kale. And little soups, petite soups of pureed tomatoes with heavy cream, and of beets and carrots with fresh ginger. 

It's in my DNA, this kind of eating. My ancestors were all freaking peasants, all of them, even though I don't know for certain, I can feel it: the Slovenian turnip farmer, the Spanish fisherman poling his own skiff into the shallows, spearing crabs to sell. Maybe there was a German or an Austrian baker or spƤtzle maker. More likely, though, a German or Austrian sausage-maker. I have no idea if they grow turnips in Slovenia, or if there's any such thing as a Spanish skiff, but I can feel it, okay? It's in my bones.

And Patrick, for his part, must come from a proud lineage of potato farmers and Irish mussel-grubbers. There is not a single drop of blue blood in the way we cook and eat at home.


Mainly, it's because I've stopped worrying so damn much. In the past I strove for diversity, I relegated soup to once a week, I thought those avocados would make us happy. But mainly what I want to eat is soup, in wintertime, and why not? It's hard to find a pot of bean soup that will break the $2/serving ceiling-- heck, most of mine probably don't top $1/serving. 

I can do better, I know, and I probably will. Next year, I'd like to harvest enough dried beans to make chili all winter. Some day in the future, I'd like to fill my raised beds with handsome leeks and shocks of celery. The closer I can tie what we eat to what I'm able to grow, the more exciting, fulfilling... oh, you know what I'm saying! I know it's not everyone's jam, but it sure is mine. 

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Becky said...

What a wondrous and wonderful diet! I would love to grow what we eat!

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