Friday, May 2, 2008

Fruit And Meat

Yesterday's newspaper had a very interesting story about the lack of stores where one can be fresh fruit/produce in our neighborhood. Within two blocks I have a couple of options where I can get a high fructose carbonated soda to go along with some heavily processed deep fried nonfood (don't let that fool you into thinking I still wouldn't find it tasty), but you almost have to have a passport and hiking gear to get anything close to what grows or is raised on a farm. I guess the things that are raised on a farm grow as well. I repeat myself again and again.

Sad, and like everything that seems like it should have a most simple solution, the resolution seems endlessly complex. Why is that always the case? Truly we need a food revolution in this country. I toy with the idea of going back to school to study urban planning, or some kind of urban agriculture type thing, but I just don't think I'm cut out to go back. Papa Seed has been back at it for the last eight years, and he is much smarter and hard-working than I'll ever hope to be. Maybe someone else is going to have the save the world.

As I was walking by one of the cigarette and candy bar stores today, I was remembering the little mercados in San Francisco that seemed to be dotted along every block where you could get a steamed tamale, a fresh mango, a choice of bananas, and that high fructose carbonated drink - or something much more fruit-filled and nutritious. We need those here. We need fruit stands, and stores that offer fresh baked goods, and alternatives to bags of chips and corn dogs. Although, again, I love corn dogs.

I'm hearing a calling to be a food activist, damn voices in my head. I haven't a clue as to how to start. I picked up Hopes Edge several years ago and was inspired when I would sit and read it, but I never finished it. I found it when we moved and put it in a special box so I could start it again, but I'm not sure which special box that is. I did finish The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved last year or the year before and I was ready to take to the streets. And I should not forget that I did everything short of standing on street corners with pamplets to sing the praises of The Omnivore's Dilemma, about as religious an experience I could have with my clothes on and my mind unaltered by recreational chemicals. Of course, I still hit the snack machine at least once a day at work, still put away a huge bag or two or three of tortilla chips more often than we stop for gas, and weigh three times what I weighed in High School, so I'd be a rather suspicious food activist. Still, I think I should at least stick my head in the neighborhood association building, or walk over to the community garden, or strike up a conversation with the gas station owner that makes a living on Twinkies and Coke.

We bought a half of a pig - she no longer lives - from our friend's friend's daughter who raises them. We shared a pig a year or so ago in the same way. The meat ends up costing about two bucks a pound or less. We know where it comes from. We know how it was raised. At some point in the next week or two, we need to go pick it up from Port Orchard, where the butcher has turned it into chops and bacon and other delicious parts. I'm okay with someone turning me into delicious parts after I go too. The meat will be fatty and I imagine quite salty, but it should be good. However I won't be around for refunds or complaints. It beats eternity in the ground.

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