Friday – Food and Faith in America

The number for today is 27…Almost there.

There is a magical time of night that seems to call me on a regular basis…It’s 3:33am. I can not recall how many time I have rolled over in bed at night and opened my eyes and seen the three threes glowing there in the dark. It happened again last night. 3:33…3:33…Night after night my internal clock causes me to roll over and see the numbers…Glowing in the dark, staring back at me from the face of the alarm clock.

Not too long after dozing back off I awoke again to the sounds of the great percussionist enjoying himself in the predawn outdoors. Thunder rolled…Rain fell…Sleep returned. As I sit here typing these words, hours later, I hear the beginnings of another overture. This has to have been one of the wettest summers in my memory…Hopefully we will get a break soon since I hate to try to mow in the rain.

Every week my iTunes pulls down the current episode of Krista Tippett’s radio program Speaking of Faith. This weeks podcast started playing just before I had to run from work yesterday. Her program was titled Ethics of Eating and had as it’s main interview the author Barbara Kingsolver. I have been hearing very good things about Barbara’s new book and look forward to listening to the entire program today…

I have been a fan of Krista’s show for quite some time. She covers some very thought provoking subjects and the guests she has on are of the highest caliber. Past shows have covered the gamut from Buddha to Einstein’s God to Voodoo and beyond. Insights abound on each and every show….I tend to revisit them with some regularity to catch new nuances that I missed on earlier listenings.

Here is a quote from Krista’s Journal for this weeks show…

The Ethics of Eating | Krista’s Journal [Speaking of Faith® from American Public Media]
The Pleasurable Choice Is the Ethical Choice
I was happy to be reminded that Lady Bird Johnson, who died this month, started the campaign of “beautification” that brought Americans to stop littering. This memory is useful not just for the story it tells about her, but the story that it tells about us. Once upon a time, not that long ago, we thought it was normal to throw empty Coke cans and hamburger wrappers out the windows of our cars. My children hear this story with disbelief, as though I’m recounting a tale of primitive pre-humans.

This helps me take in one of the hopeful ideas of this conversation with Barbara Kingsolver. She says that however grim the man-made crises of our time appear, we do keep getting same things “more right.” And, Kingsolver advises, we must treat hope itself as a renewable resource, something we put on with our shoes every morning.

As I read the rest of Krista’s Journal, I find myself agreeing with her about the challenges we need to face, even the very fact that we must begin to face these challenges now and not in the next generation. We appear to have taken the very soul out of the raising of our foods. We industrialize the processes and we wonder why we end up with the results we do. There is a quote about wisdom being the ability to see that you don’t know everything, we seem to be lacking greatly in wisdom these days…Go read her Journal for yourself…Krista says it better than I can.

In the show Barbara reads from her book…the chapter “Zucchini Larceny” from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life starts out like this…

By mid-month we were getting a dozen tomatoes a day, that many cucumbers, our first eggplants, and squash in unmentionable quantities. A friend arrived one morning as I was tag-teaming with myself to lug two full bushel-baskets of produce into the house. He pronounced a benediction: “The harvest is bountiful and the labors few.”

I agreed, of course, but the truth is I still had to go back to the garden that morning to pull about two hundred onions—our year’s supply. They had bulbed up nicely in the long midsummer days and were now waiting to be tugged out of the ground, cured, and braided into the heavy plaits that would hang from our kitchen mantel and infuse our meals all through the winter, I also needed to pull beets that day, pick about a bushel of green beans, and slip paper plates under two dozen ripening melons to protect their undersides from moisture and sowbugs. In another week we would start harvesting these, along with sweet corn, peppers, and okra. The harvest was bountiful and the labors were blooming endless.
Source: Zucchini Larceny

If I can make a suggestion…Go, download the mp3 of the show, read some of the additional materials on the website. If you like the program as much as I do, sign up for the weekly email, subscribe to the weekly podcast. If you really find it worthwhile…support the program either through your local station or, if they don’t carry the program, support them directly..

My morning email brought the latest Ladybug Letter from Andy and Julia out in California. I found this quote fitting in to this post’s subject quite well…

When Julia and I struggle to get supper on the table for our kids at the end of a long day, and they reject it, I ask myself how, year after year, my parents cooked for my sister and I.

One way, of course, was convenience-my parents weren’t burdened with the ideology Julia and I have adopted of making home-cooked meals with fresh ingredients from producers we know and trust. We had dinner when I was growing up, not cuisine. The meat loaf was sauced with ketchup, the hamburger got “help” from a packet purchased from Safeway, and the chicken wasn’t an heirloom breed, it wasn’t brined, or free range- it was just baked. My parents didn’t cook with passion, but they cooked every day whether they wanted to or not, and I understand now that they cooked with love.

I always look forward to each issue of the Ladybug Letter, you should check them out.

Once the teacher…Always the teacher. Fred First caught a spelling mistake in my post from Wednesday. Evidently spell check did not think I wanted to type lye so it substituted rye, two substances that are very much alike only in that they share 66% of the same letters and sound remarkably like two words which belong together in a poem. Which leads to this…

The word for today boys and girls is Nixtamalization:

Nixtamalization is the process whereby dry maize grain is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater, to cause the transparent outer hull, the pericarp, to separate and be removed from the grain. This process has several benefits including enabling the grain to be more effectively ground; increasing protein and vitamin content availability; improving flavor and aroma and reduction of mycotoxins.
Source: Wikipedia

Bookstore for today

Do your shopping early…

A Quote For the Day…

“Food is the rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure.” Barbara Kingsolver

Well, It’s time to go play on the freeway in the rain…Y’all stay dry today wherever you may be.

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