6/12/2008

Agents of Change: Herbs and a Book

Something has come over me.

For the past few days I have had a yen to cook. From scratch. How can that be? I gave up cooking some years ago, relying on pre-cooked foods I could pick up at the Safeway along with other short cuts to meals. As I put my recent precious dishes on the table before him, like offerings, Jim says, "Welcome back."

Why the change?

The pots of herbs we are growing on our deck started it. I really enjoy cutting the sprigs and using them to season foods.

Parsley











Mint










The herbs started me cooking again.

My past few refrigerator clean-outs have been veritable creative fits.
I find myself looking for food combinations that call for my limited deck selection of dill, thyme, and parsley. Having a pot of mint on the deck means brewing and sipping tall glasses of southern tea.

But the real push to cook comes from reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.

He is opening my mind to what is before my eyes but I had not seen. The food on the shelves in the super market is synthetic even though it tastes like it should be food.

Maybe I did not want to know because I was afraid - afraid I would have to cook again. But - I am my own un-doing. My friend, Anne, told me about the book. No one put a gun to my head when I saw it in the window of Kramer Books. No all on my own I walked in and asked for it. With my own free will I bought this book and I am reading in. I really urge you to do the same.

Does anyone remember the movie Soylent Green? That's the image of I have now of processed food - -

Thinking of Soylent Green sent me searching for my 1972, stained copy of the Whole Earth Cook Book. Alongside it on the bookcase was a newer "good" recipe book that was still around from my cooking days.



As I turned the pages it felt like I was handling relics of a former self. Reading the recipes brought back memories of better tasting days.

I checked what I had on hand and found left-over cooked white rice in the refrigerator. I knew we had raisins and eggs - ah, Rice Pudding. Now that is a memory. A child's comfort food.




When a search of the the cabinet yielded some lemon jello I knew I could have Tomato Aspic for supper.


Baby steps, true. But a start.

Next step - plan the meals.

Oh, my. Now I remember. I remember why I stopped cooking.