Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Music to My Mouth

Eating fresh local food is like listening to live well-played acoustic music - nothing impeding your senses from enjoying something at its natural best.

Don't ask about the picture to the left. I just like it.

I read an article this morning in our local newspaper reminding me that more often than not, land owners and small farmers are deciding to continue the legacy of providing local fresh produce, meats and other products and doing their best to do so with as little help from man-made fertilizers and pesticides.

Now, I'm no Al Gorish green guy (what falsehood) or Euell Gibbons (ahead of the times in his day) pine nut, but unprocessed (uh, natural) foods taste so much better and are so much better for your bod.

I just looked in my refrigerator; short of a store-chain bread and a few condiments, there are hardly any processed foods hanging out in there. Up in the freezer there are two loaves of local bread, meats and two boxes of some frozen treat which will probably only be enjoyed by my nephew. Okay, there is a container of gelato which I take sole claim to.

For what may have been called a pantry ten or fifteen years ago, a single shelf in a cabinet now contains most of the canned or processed foods and I have no clue what they are other than the peanut butter. I don't like the natural version. Peanut oil is wonderful - just ask an Asian friend.

There are also cans of albacore tuna, which for the most part is just that, canned albacore, along with some canned tomato pastes and sauces. All of this is dwarfed by three shelves of natural oils, vinegars, spices and herbs, not to mention the fresh herb table in the garden in the back yard.

Columbia, South Carolina is not a large metropolis and we do have a state farmer's market (15 miles from my home), but oddly enough my snobbishly wealthy community has a small farmer's market, less than three miles away, which is open for a few hours, one or two days a week, depending on the season. That's often enough to have fresh local food and other products in the fridge or cupboard.

Along with a little knowledge and some decent knife skills I can have a delicious and healthy meal prepared quicker than the fast-food employee can say, "Can you please pull forward and we'll bring your order out to you."

The kitchen is a wonderful place. I grew up there...and there's still fun to be had there. Oh, for you empty-nesters, singles or parents with children away at camp, there are also other activities which arise while preparing a wonderful meal in the confines of two to four counter-tops, a stove and a sink. Get creative with your cooking skills...wink.

Other than food, the next best invention was Tupperware. You can actually take all the fantastic fresh foods you make or cook at home to most anywhere. And, I haven't worked anywhere in 30 years where I couldn't find a refrigerator or a way to keep food cool and fresh. I believe most coolers are portable - they were designed to be such. 

None of this is to take away from getting away from your kitchen, enjoying yourself, friends and loved ones and eating out at the expense of others (your expense, as well), as many restaurateurs are going farm-to-table.

Grab yourself a locally grown fresh tomato and some salt and pepper, or not, and taste the difference. 

Prepare, cook and enjoy!

You may also wish to read Fields of Gold.

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