I recently finished read Barbara Kingsolver‘s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which is a story about how she packed up her family and moved from Arizona to their farm in Appalachia for ONE YEAR of eating “locally”. They took “local” to an EXTERME, where they grew pretty much EVERYTHING they possibly could, raised their own animals (chickens, turkeys, goat), and anything that they couldn’t grow/farm/harvest themselves, they bought from the local farmers’ market or local farms. This meant sacrificing A LOT of things (fresh fruit in the winter, no bananas all year, etc), but also meant experiencing a “new” way of eating off the land and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you grew (planted, cultivated, harvested, raised, picked, killed, butchered, canned) everything yourself. It’s a rather inspiring story, and definitely got me motivated for my future garden. I highly recommend it for EVERYONE (it’s got some insight on our country’s food production and how it needs to be changed).
After I finished that book, I picked up Mark Kurlanky‘s Food of a Younger Land. I’ve only gotten through the Introduction so far, but the premise of the book is to (finally) publish all the material that was collected back during the Great Depression by the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), which was part of the WPA started by FDR. The material was collected for a “to-be-published” book called America Eats, which would document how Americans across the country ate (actual food and recipes, as well as social gatherings and typical meal settings) before the widespread use of refrigerators, freezers, fast-food joints, etc.. and before the spread of our interstate highway system (both of which have dramatically changed the way American’s eat today). NOTE: America Eats was later published, but perhaps not to the full grandeur of what was originally hoped.
Why didn’t I go to culinary school (I already know the answer to this)? Or why didn’t I major in agriculture (I kind of already know the answer to this)? I can’t go back in time and change my college major (and I don’t necessarily want to change my entire life experiences).. but what if…
What if I coud drop everything (which I can’t) and move somewhere to learn how to live off the land?
What if I could teach myself (from books and online blogs) how to cook great and do something with that?
What if I did something with my life that revolved more around being outside and making a difference rather than sitting at my computer and missing out on all the beautiful sunshine?
What if.. what if..
I mused this much to Minh. He said.. not now.. but maybe some day…