Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm ridiculously trendy

According to this Slate article.  And even more than that due to my cheesemaking, my taking baby steps into charcuterie, growing my food, grinding wheat, etc.

Well, fine. I'm happy to be trendy.  Sure, canning is not my favorite thing in the world.  It isn't  Yes, I am sort of dreading how my life is going to look once the tomatoes come in this year.  No, I'm not a big jelly, jam, or pickle person so I'm left sorta flat on that.  But I do loves me good stock and you simply cannot buy good stock at the grocery store.  I love soups and meals I can put together fast when I'm working 12 hour days and having ready-to-eat soups that I created lining my shelves is a god send.  I like the emotional security of knowing that I can provide for my family--that if we have a source of food, I can preserve it.  I like not being at the whims of the grocery store provides (and, hopefully, in time) at the whims of food production in this country.

And who cares if it is now gourmand?  So what?  I learned my lesson last summer eating that first ripe strawberry out of my garden that I had been suckered into thinking that the produce I buy at the store was tasty. If I can grow something myself that can also be delectable--almost x-rated in it's sensuality from the pleasure I derive in consuming it--why shouldn't I?    Or what about the first loaf of bread I baked and realized that this was a totally different animal than what I could buy at the grocery store?  A few cents of my money and a few hours of my time gave me a product that I used to spend quite a bit on in specialty bakeries and was just as good? 

I'm glad canning is making a comeback. I'm glad gardening and cooking is making a comeback.  I'm glad that knitting made a comeback and learning how to make your own clothes.      These things don't have to be drudgery.  These things are life--whether you like it or not or are bored of it or not or hate it or not. Every body has to eat.  Every body has got to have clothing on their body (well, at least if you live in the PNW or you'll get wet and cold. If you are in Florida--go on and get on with your naked self)

   So, we got all these convenience foods starting in the 1950s and we did WHAT with all of that extra time? (and I'm not even going to get into what I think about the chemicals of those foods) Sit in front of the television.  And that is fine is if that is what you want to do.  Lord knows, I love to spend my evenings watching a movie or reading.   But we got away from doing for ourselves, starting depending on companies that really don't give a crap about us to take care of our needs, and then just sorta got sedentary.  Most of us didn't use that extra time to create art or music or increase their knowledge or help others.   If we did, then there wouldn't be warnings about how folks spend about a month (or more) every year watching television.

I think that for some of us (or maybe I'm just talking about me but don't want to seem freakish so I'm roping you in as well), we looked around and said, "What is the point?"  What is the point spending your time going to work, hitting up the grocery store to pick up a ready-to-eat meal, sitting in front of the televison, going to bed.   How could that be all that there is?  50 years of that?  Yikes.  Better pull the plug now.  

 If you aren't doing what you are truly passionate about (and really, many of us don't) for what pays your bills, shouldn't you attempt to find something worthwhile outside of that?  And is it so horrible that for some of us, what is worthwhile is nuturing our family, caring for ourselves, sharing with our neighbors through food and craft?  Isn't that really what we've been doing for a millenia anyway?  Just because we don't *have* to these things anymore doesn't mean that it stops plugging into a very basic part of our brain that finds pleausre and meaning in doing so.  That a lot of people are re-discovering this meaning might not just be a trend. It might mean that the last 30-50 years just didn't quite work out like we thought it would.  That we missed out on too much, became too alienated.  Or maybe not. I don't know.

What I do know is that I've wanted to be self-sufficient for years and years but had zero idea how to go about it all.  Especially living in a city, I had no idea how to even access these things or figure out what was available to me.  That the very things I've been interested in (and really, for me is is less about the canning or the cheesemaking or the cooking or the knitting--but the self-sufficency of it) are becoming popular again means that I can finally find resources.   

It reminds me of 20 years of trying to learn to knit.  I'm left-handed.  I asked my grandmother to teach me, but it didn't make sense. I bought books on and off in my early twenties but they ALL said that if you were left-handed,  put the book in front a mirror and learn to knit backwards.    Knitting finally got popular again.  And when it did, there were books about continental knitting. There were websites with videos showing how to knit for left-handers.  I picked it up in a matter of weeks.  I could not have done that if it hadn't made a resurgence.  I feel the same way about this local food movement.  I'm so thankful for finally having an opportunity to gain the skills that I want for the life I want to lead.

I hope this made sense. I'm running on about 4 hours of sleep and just ranting.

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-E.B. White

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