Sunday, February 20, 2011

Goobye Winter Tomato


I like to think I was always somewhat health conscious. Never fanatical, I am intellectually informed about appropriate eating habits.  I breastfed both babies and made my own baby food. I still remember the little food grinder I used. It disappeared over the years.
I also am a foodaholic. I love food. I enjoy eating, cooking, reading about food, thinking about food. Maybe it is my cultural background, I have no idea. My Mom is not a gourmet cook, and I don’t think she ever really enjoyed cooking dinners. She preferred the school library and the kids she taught.
Much of my social life revolves around food. I meet friends for lunch and we go out with other couples for dinner. My hub and I both work from home. Too often we walk around the corner to one of the restaurants near our house for lunch. I try to eat nutritiously and diet-consciously, but I am weak. Somewhere along the line the American practice of super-sized portions became the norm.
Living for many years in a community surrounded by small farmers and a wonderful farmers market, I came to appreciate and take for granted wonderful, fresh local produce. It was part of the yearly routine that June brought local strawberries and asparagus. There is nothing like local corn picked the same day you eat it.
One of the first things we did when we relocated was to join a CSA, a Community Supported Agricultural group. We get local fresh organic produce delivered to our door weekly from May through mid-December. There is also a farmers market in town during the months of June, July, and August.
I am reading Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle about her family’s decision to spend one year eating only foods they grew themselves or that were locally produced. The beginning of the book is the vegetable version of The Omnivore's Dilemma or Super Size Me, portraying the industrialization of the vegetable food industry.
And that brings me to my favorite vegetable, the tomato. I can eat them every day. Except every time I buy one in winter I am disappointed. They are tasteless and often hard as a rock. Today we had lunch at a wonderful Greek restaurant. The food was fabulous. The salad was great – except for the quarter of a  tomato. It had a sick red color. Trying to cut it was like spearing something with a hard core. I gave up. I am giving up out of season tomatoes for good.
As I get older my body is slowly turning to mush. I am trying to fight it, to resist, but my American cultural upbringing is difficult to defy. More fresh, seasonal, tasty veggies…less processed food…less food consumed …more exercise…less sedentary activity…forward to a healthier me! It is difficult to adopt new ways of doing things –especially something you have done your entire life, like eating – after so many, many years. But I am trying.

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