Sunday, July 22, 2007

local eating 2

I went down to Rainbow last week to get some supplies for locally-made pizza. Really just an excuse to play with some yeast. It was actually my first time using active dry yeast so it was a little intense and I ended up throwing out the first batch because I wasn't sure why the yeast wasn't blooming. By the second batch my internet was working enough for me to understand it really would take ten minutes, but anyway, the groceries...

organic heirloom tomato (cherokee purple)
organic scallions
bulk bread flour at last (and you'd think the Berkeley Bowl would have gotten on that long ago)...which may or may not have been local but I went with it anyway cause I've been wanting to play with breads for a while.
It was the cheese that posed the problem. I intended to just go to the FB and hit up Cowgirl but they were closed, so I wandered in the Rainbow cheese aisle for a while reading the little signs and trying to gear myself up because I don't even like cheese anyway. I try it raw and it makes me gag. I was sad and frustrated in the cheese aisle knowing there's all these little Sonoma county cheese maker people and wondering why Rainbow didn't have more of an emphasis on their products. Thinking whether I wanted to go with goat cheese, which I tend to be ambivalent toward or not like at all, or non local fresh mozzarella. I had the mozz in my hand and was going to leave, but rounding the corner of the cheese aisle I caved and went back. I picked up some Redwood Hill goat cheese that looked oozy and unappetizing and said fuck it. I'm buying heirloom tomatoes and I don't like tomatoes really. I'm making pizza dough. I ate goat cheese last week in the new Frog Hollow turnovers (summer squash, corn and goat cheese, yum!)This is the only night I have to give this project this week and I'm not pussying out in the cheese aisle.

I can't pretend anymore about food. I can't claim any relationship to vegetarianism when I eat fish and fowl and just had bacon and foie. No matter how much I love tofu. I have to own up to it now:I eat mushrooms and I eat tomatoes in things and I make grilled cheese and zaatar sandwiches and I can't speak anymore about the way that I eat in those terms that I used to, which is to say: egg whites only, all vegetables except mushrooms and olives, no tomatoes raw, no meat except for chicken, no cheese except cooked and then only some kinds, no food cold that could or should be eaten hot. No cold pizza, no cold leftovers, no picnics, no things. Oh! And no sandwiches, except pbnj.

Why? I didn't really have a reason, except "I don't like it." And still cold cheese makes me gag and un-warm food I'll choke down if I HAVE to but I won't like it. But those rules are all bent.

I moved out here for food (yes, it's ridiculous, but it's also true). I want to eat locally one time a week because it's a commitment to the culture of food and the values I try with my meager income to support. It's easy to say that you support farmers and farm markets. It's easy to tell everyone you love about the farm bill. But it isn't easy for me to go to the market once a week and put a meal together out of food that's traveled to me in an hour or less.

How, incidentally, was the pizza? The dough was ok. I used my recipe from school because it was in cups not ounces. It wasn't amazing but it was fine and I've got three balls frozen for later use. The goat cheese smelled bad in that funky cheese way. It wasn't great alone. When mixed with the tomato, the scallions and some parsley I had kicking around from the Berkeley market the week before, it tasted very good indeed.

On Saturday I stole ten minutes to shop the FB market. I zipped around in my Sox hat and got nods and smiles, picked up a few more heirloom tomatoes from Eatwell (Pineapple, Green Zebra) and some divine looking leeks and basil from Ella Bella, bread from Acme, and was back to tend the ovens without too much chaos in the Frog Hollow system. A little chaos, of course. Otherwise I wouldn't be doing my job.

Tonight I cooked up a sauce with the tomatoes and basil and some shallots and ate it with the remainders of my local vegan whole wheat pasta (sheesh).

How do you support the things you value? The things that are so entrenched within you that you don't quite see how other people don't hold them close the way you do? I've worked at farmers markets and I work for farmers now. I've worked on farms. I still hope one day to own some land in the Hudson Valley where my best farmer friend can farm and grow me some fruits and berries for pies and such, even though at this rate we'll never be able to afford to live there unless we live in the boondocks reaches of Ulster County.

Tonight while I made pretty use of the things that smelled of summer, I cut three tomato pieces and reserved them from the sauce. As a child I'm told I used to eat raw tomatoes, but never (and quite vigilantly) since, except in salsa (and just now I'm making the connection that it's rather odd to eat salsa, or pico de gallo, and not tomatoes, but if you know me then you know how I'm often odd that way). I popped them in my mouth to taste the difference. Green Zebra, you win. I'm taking you home again one day soon.

On my mind:
thyme-ginger shortbread
peaches...and rosemary? good or bad?
divine soft nectarine cake
whether the panna cotta should stay or go
what to do with rose geranium
when shall there next be good plums
why my dreams have been so intense lately
cinnamon ice cream, or oatmeal, if i can find some freezer space to chill the bowl

Keeping lots of secrets at the moment. Went back to Oakland tonight and going back again next week, I believe.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

Don't know if these questions are still on your mind, but...
Peaches and Rosemary are total life-partners, but I think, if Rosemary would cheat on Peaches with Nectarine, we'd all be happier.
Rose Geranium knocks my socks off with strawberries, but recently I've been using it to jazz up plums, which just don't seem to be good this year...go figure.