I’m interrupting your regularly scheduled recipe to bring you some thoughts on fresh food. I’m preparing to move, and in an effort to save space and reduce waste, I stopped purchasing groceries about 3 weeks ago. I decided it would be better if I ate through what I had. This has led to some “creative” meals (couscous – delicious side dish, main entree not so much). There’s been lots of buttered pasta, and rice and lentils were a staple last week.
However, as many of you know, fruits and vegetables don’t stay fresh for very long, with the exception of onions and potatoes (both of which dwindled about a week and a half ago). So these last few weeks have been consumed with pantry staples, which is fine every once in a while. But every day, eating just things that don’t expire, it gets old. I need the flavor, the juices that come from vegetables in my meals – oven roasted tomatoes over toast; corn, edamame, and carrots in a stir-fry; a quesadilla filled with fresh sweet peppers and onions. My eight year old self would be shocked to hear me say this, but I NEED VEGETABLES. A life without fresh produce is a bland life indeed, not to mention much less healthy.
So when I think about how boring (and unhealthy) these last few weeks have been, and how many families and children go far longer without any fresh vegetables, it makes me incredibly sad. I understand why fast food and boxed meals (mac and cheese, anyone?) are cheap and easy, and why they have become staples. But we need to support CSAs, farmers’ markets, and food banks, because when it becomes just as cheap to feed a child vegetable stir-fry as it is to feed them Hamburger Helper, that will be a healthier, happier world.