If this blog were music, I guess you could say I’m singing for my supper. At least I seem to be blogging for it.
For this month, at least, it seems that Tricia and I are engaged in an equal exchange. She wakes up in the middle of the night fearing I might starve. I do too. No, seriously,this challenge is growing her as a market gardener, and the cost is a box of veggies and a dozen eggs a week. I am examining my relationship with food – and really the food system – and all it costs is 500 words a day. Slick. Blogging for food. Would that work in a pinch if I stood by the road with a cardboard sign?
Don’t even go there, Vicki. In a week your veggie habit will be on your own dime. What will remain is this profound learning, a great relationship with Tricia (actually great-er) – and 25,000 words towards your next book, Your Food or Your Life, Transforming Your Relationship with Food and achieving… ummm…uhhh… what?…health?… love?
The point being, what started out to be an experiment in eating turned out to be an experiment in loving – and writing.
How can you not love the one who feeds you? If you have the good fortune to know who that is. Food is love, from the breast onward. That we can eat without attention not to speak of gratitude, is an unseen but sorry aspect of “farming out” our lives to service people – the farmer, the clerk, the mechanic, the plumber, the accountant, the financial adviser… the list goes on. Could you list the people who make your life possible, who toil daily so you can eat, sleep, drink, drive, dress, wash, work, play? When you think about it, the sheer intimacy of it is staggering. Hundreds of strangers have their hands all over your life.
The 10 mile diet has allowed me to get close enough to my feed-ers to kiss their hands. Tricia of course. Farmer John who sold me the onions. Pam Mitchell, so matter of fact in her strategy for farming other people’s land and selling at the Farmer’s Market but so important to this experiment. She was the one who alerted me to how incapable we would be here on Whidbey to feed ourselves for more than a month. She was the one who trained Tricia and who shares Kent and Tricia’s land.
Today I went to Rhonda’s to pick up some goat cheese her daughter Marina makes and gives me as a gift.
“I want to support your cause,” Rhonda has said, as has Marena.
I’m not sure it’s a cause. It’s an experiment in putting my mouth where my mouth is, in living what I espouse. But I am grateful that Rhonda wants to weave herself into my pattern.
Rhonda bustled around the house gathering up more “donations to my cause.” She put hand fulls of dried fruit into waxed paper bags – pears, figs!!!, apples (the figs get all the applause as they are so sweet and so special). Then we went out to their huge garage and she pulled a goat leg out of the freezer.
I looked at it stunned. That she would give it to me. I knew that the most beautiful thing I could do was to take it, so I did with a sense of wonder. She talked about the goat. How it was happy from day one to day last. How they raised it and loved it. How it came from the goats they milk now.
Generosity itself is kept at arm’s length in our everyday lives. We click paypal buttons. We write checks between Christmas and New Years based on well presented literature about people far away. But here I am being invited to eat Rhoda’s kid (goat). How can we not be friends in the future?
I then stopped by to the farm where I get my milk and chatted with the woman who provides it. She said it had only been three years since they started raising animals. She told some stories of those years. About losing 5 fat turkeys to coyotes last year because they got out of their pen. About a friend calling to say their sow with half a dozen piglets was trotting down the road and the search party she, her husband and her son mounted. All the while she was sifting through packages from her freezer and selected parts of last year’s pig: bacon, pork steaks and a slice of ham, 3+ pounds of meat in all. I paid her happily. Happy to support her farming family. Happy to have a wealth of meat for my last week. Without grains and beans, a bit of dense meat is what tells my stomach it’s actually eaten.
On my way home I swung by the football field where Kent was announcing the game and Tricia running the scoreboard. She said to come and pick up some veggies that were a bit too big or curly or twisty or whatever for her regular customers. I stand under the viewing box and catch a bag from her and bicycle home (on my new electric assist bike, but that’s another story).
I came home and stir fried the last of Carol and Ed’s chicken (that lasted almost a week) with Farmer John red onion and Tricia broccoli, carrots, fennel and kale plus a bit of my exotics: salt and oil.
Food is love. Every exchange is love. More love than any of us can bear if we are honest. And so I blog to digest it all – and to celebrate another part of my food system – the humans who spread the love around.
Eat. Blog. Love.