So much I don’t understand

That is probably a very clear understatement, Gentle Reader.  But I find myself Quite Perplexed by Comments.  I get comments now! Which is in itself astounding.  Some of them seem reasonably cogent, but when I look at the addresses, often they  turn out to be from known “Forum Spammers”.  It’s confusing, because one wants to be polite and responsive especially if…well, if there’s Someone Out There Reading.  I even got a B+ last week…from a Forum Spammer.  Anyway, once again my pathological fear of hurting someone’s feelings (surprised?) has revealed itself for further inspection.

Meanwhile, yes:  COOKING.  I was going to bake bread today but simply could not muster the energy.  Lately, among other things,  I’ve made:  Bolognese sauce, spaghetti with same, lasagne, squash and kale calzone, chickpea curry with turmeric, pad thai, mushroom tart, potato curry with mustard and cumin seeds and cardamom scented rice, parathas, chicken milanese, beet soup, glazed carrots with honey and chili, roasted mixed vegetables with pomegranate vinegar, tangerine rice, endive salads,  and cookies cookies cookies as well as an infinite number of variations on leftover roast chicken.   Reunited with my kitchenaid mixer, we whisk through things So Professionally!  We seem to be on a vegetable binge lately, emphasis on Indian Subcontinent.  We had a summer of Vietnamese and Thai food, a fall of Mexican extravaganzas and holiday regulars, dumplings and crisp potatoes…..there are still chestnuts to be cooked and a potential butternut squash souffle.  And then, all the lemons and tangerines.  And, a carrot cake has been requested.

I guess I cook to pull myself together and clear the befogged, stuck in jar of vaseline, head.  We have to eat, so it might as well be good as well as nutritious although this comes more and more to be very time consuming.  Lately I find we don’t buy anything that isn’t organic, and we eat a lot of home grown organic vegetables from our garden and our neighbors’.  This gets into yet another tangled trail, of course, because of the way agribusiness functions in the U.S.  When you ponder the fact that 80% of the antibiotics used in this country go to livestock used for food, and this of course generates our friend, Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (such as MRSA in pork, recently), that doesn’t exactly whet the appetite.  It’s difficult to buy things because you don’t know if they’re genetically modified or not.  For example, I looked at a package of polenta, a brand I used to buy.  But now?  It doesn’t say where it’s from, if the corn is GMO- just as alot of tofu doesn’t say anything about origin.  Corn and soy are, of course, two of the most highly GMOd items around at present.   I almost slipped and got lazy, buying  bottled barbeque sauce.  Until I looked at the label and it was all chemicals, starting with the first ingredient which was: High Fructose Corn Syrup.  So bad on every level.  I thought the base ingredient in barbeque sauce was, traditionally, tomatoes in some guise.  Not corn syrup.  And milk? Holy, you will excuse me, cow.  So THAT has to be organic too.   All the additives in food for cows, for example: meat additives, corn, things they don’t eat and also? antibiotics.  Which creates…let’s just say, a highly unsavory gut environment for the bovine in question.

Food is just about the most basic thing there is, besides water and air.  People have gotten very detached from preparing their own meals from scratch, much less, in the broad swathes, thinking about where it comes from, or even really taking the time to enjoy and understand what is being eaten.  Of course there are bastions of people who are hyperfocussed on it (what gender is my steak?), and people who are just trying to make things better and get back to some basic connection with what makes and keeps us human (Slow Food, Farmer’s Markets).  I still can’t help but think that if people stopped eating all the packaged stuff, with all the fake sugars and additives and strange fats, and started really eating real food, things might change.  The thought process would  change, become more clear, because that’s what usually happens when you clean up your diet and treat your stomach with some respect instead of like a bottomless kangaroo pouch.  People wouldn’t be so overweight and ridden with health problems.  Things could be grown in a rational way and distributed reasonably.

Still, in spite of all, I do think progress is possible.  Pablo Casals said if we do small things every day we will see miracles.  I think this is true:  You do small things toward a goal, and eventually it does get reached.  You make conscious decisions about your own food so that ultimately, someone else can eat too.  It’s about keeping things in balance overall, and that happens to be something that makes cooking every day ultimately so satisfying and rich, no matter how humble the dish being made may be.

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