Friday, February 12, 2010

What groundhog? or, thinking of spring and fresh food

I was surprised what an impression Groundhog Day made on Cora. She came home knowing all about Punxatawny Phil, though she insists he lives in Milwaukee and is named PunxaTONY Phil. She was disappointed about the six more weeks of winter. She was a real snow bunny last year, but this year she is not into it at all. This year it is all about spring, and when is spring coming, and how in the spring it will be warm and Daddy will be home!

We have a book, When Will It Be Spring?, that we have been reading often this month. It's about little Alfie bear and his first hibernation and he keeps waking up his mama to see if it is spring - he mistakes frozen leaves for birds in the trees, a hunter's campfire for the sun, and snowflakes for butterflies. Cora and I take turns being Alfie or Mama and playing the game of the story.

We talk about how in spring we can plant her garden again with radishes and carrots and pink flowers. In spring we will start getting vegetables from the farmers again - we reupped for the CSA, hooray! - and we will get out her tricycle and be able to walk to the park again. We'll plant my flowers again. We'll attack the weedy bits of the garden again. We'll have patio parties again and grill again.

I am particularly excited about the CSA and having more fresh and local produce. I was thinking the other day about the places I go to buy our food, and how somethings can only be had from certain stores and that is what keeps me from cutting out one of them. There's Whole Foods (the cats' crunchies come from here - lowest protein content without filler and without prescription food prices), the conventional grocery story (my usual brands of certain canned and packaged foods come from here, plus it is the most convenient to our usual driving routes), the co-op (local produce, local cheeses, locally roasted coffee, one cat's canned food), the CSA, the grocery delivery service (though I am using them less as I recommit to eating more produce and I like to pick that out myself, and see it before I buy it), and during the warmer months the farmers market (especially for the local organic meat). Now, even I can look at this paragraph and see one good reason why I have no spare time! The easiest to cut out, and the ones I have the most reason to cut out, are also the most convenient: the conventional store and the delivery service.

I'm also thinking about this because I just watched Jaime Oliver's TED prize talk over at, and it was inspiring and reminded me of all the ideas and plans I had when I read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and whenever I pick up one of my favorite cookbooks. I really do want to be making more of our food. I really do want that food to have more grains and produce in it. I really do want to pass on to Cora a passion for cooking and for, as my favorite cafe puts it, good real food.

And I want to do it without waiting six more weeks for spring. (Ha! We live in the upper midwest; we probably have eight to ten more weeks until spring!) Which is why I'm off to the co-op today to buy poblanos, white onions, potatoes, chard, leeks, a rutabaga, a scarlet turnip, and some other ingredients for soups, tacos, and risottos.

And for brownie sundaes. It is Valentine's weekend, after all.

(the double rainbow photo is from spring 2009)