Here's a piece in a recent issue of the Washington City Paper that encapsulates fairly neatly my own feelings about why we should avoid celebrity chefs and pricey restaurants. For one, it's not real food...
We are engaging the concerns of a hungry planet--slowly--right here in our kitchen garden in the District of Columbia, one mile from the White House.
Dark Days Challenge
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What's in your turkey? We killed and butchered more than 80 birds on the farm of Mike and Michelle Klein in Prince George's County. Thankfully, Michelle did the gutting. Unfortunately, Mike bought his turkey chicks earlier than usual and they did not stop growing. Our prize for helping was a carcass that weighed nearly 40 pounds. It barely fit in the oven. Here, Mike is subjecting a slaughtered bird to the "magic fingers," a machine with a nubby, rotating barrel that removes most of the feathers.
Enough of food fads! Enough of food porn! Enough of celebrity chefs (except Mario Batali)! It's time to take back control of the food we eat and the pace of our own lives. Things should grow and cook in their own time. Reject fast food! Reject waiting lists at over-hyped, outrageously expensive restaurants! Reject food out of season! Sit, eat drink. Enjoy good food made by caring hands. Enjoy food eaten slowly, in good company.
Things We Embrace
Dutch ovens & iron skillets. Real butchers. Our molcajetes. Vegetable gardening. Walking to the grocery store. Sunday suppers. Our farm subscription. Composting. Naturally grown food. Self-reliance. Teaching children to appreciate food. Farmer's markets. Urban agriculture. Inexpensive ethnic restaurants. Neighborhood restaurants. Our charcoal rotisserie. Fermentation. Brassicas. Root vegetables. The public library. Used books. Our copy of Patience Gray's Honey from a Weed. John Thorne's newsletter, Simple Cooking.
Things We Try to Avoid
Saturday at Whole Foods. Spending time in the suburbs. Driving on the Beltway. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Black plastic. Ornamental plants (except roses). Lawns. Waiting for a table at a restaurant. Expensive restaurants. Buying wine at a restaurant. Chain restaurants. Fussy, overly designed food. Fast food. Processed food. Packaged food (except Crystal Light--what I'm not entitled to one little vice?). Asparagus in January. Styrofoam. Strip malls. Network television (except CBS Sunday Morning). Buying new books. Eating standing up. Eating while walking. Eating in the car. Cell phones.
Composting can help save the planet. Did you know that 25 percent of everything we send to the landfill consists of kitchen scraps that could be composted instead and returned to the soil? Modern agriculture is ruining our soil legacy. Another reason to eat organically: Organic farms feed the soil, rather than killing it with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Even if you live in the city--even if you live in an apartment--you can compost. Try building your own worm bin!
A reporter for the Washington Post in a previous life, Ed Bruske now tends his "urban farm" about a mile from the White House in the District of Columbia. Ed believes in self-reliance, growing food close to home and political freedom for the residents of the District of Columbia.