23 September, 2007

we're being lied to: there's no such thing as noodles

i've found myself crying very easily lately. i read a book and invariably some little bit of dialogue, a description or sometimes even the language alone will make my eyeballs leak. i suspect that even opening up the yellow pages these days would result in some emotional trip up (so many people named jones! how can you keep up with them all? sob!)

today it's the 100 mile diet, an inspirational book that manages to also depress the crap out of me and makes me want to move NOW. so i've been reading, leaking and perusing mls.ca, looking for a home in bc. i want to pick my own berries and kale and honey, i want to taste things, the way they actually ought to taste. all this has got me thinking about food.

i was eating organic bc yogurt at work one day when a co-worker looked over and asked me in that particular nasal tone of voice if my yogurt was bad. ahem...depends on your definition, right? i mean, it's yogurt. what she meant was that it was not in a neat gelatinous blob, largely because it was made up entirely of milk and bacterial culture, and not gelatin or corn starch, the way i like my yogurt. the co-worker then explained that she generally just hates yogurt (probably because of all the gelatin and corn starch that is usually packed into it - blerch!) and we laughed it off.

still, i am generally treated with more curiosity than disrespect, but where mr. m works, apparently it is considered fine form to make disparaging remarks about other people's food. one particularly brilliant guy considers rice "useless," the prevailing opinion of millions of asians notwithstanding. he's a meat and potatoes guy, to the exclusion of anything else of a vegetative or fruitational nature. which, in my mind, would go a long way toward explaining his stoopidity (rapid degenerative scurvy of the brain, perhaps?).

i hear about immigrant mothers packing PBJ sandwiches for their kids' lunches to save them the embarassment of eating weird ethnic food and i cannot help feel anything but a deep sense of loss. there is little one can eat from which wonderbread with crusts removed would not be a step down. including locusts.

in fact i often wondered about the whole crust removal thing - the crust of wonderbread is still much softer than the actual body of a good polish rye, so what in the hell is the imagined hardship that you are removing? is chewing considered a hardship? cause if it is, you oughtta see a dental professional. in our household the privilege of gnawing on the butt end of a fresh loaf of rye bread went to the one who was sent out to purchase it, it was a form of payment for services rendered and i remember coming home from the bakery, my baby incisors impaled in the still-warm crust, trying to walk and tear at the same time. yum.

and then there's the actual taste of foodstuffs - if you live in edmonton, i urge you to go to the italian centre and take a deep breath. it's pepper season now and the whole place smells like peppers. aha! you did not realise peppers had a smell, did you? how about an actual vine ripened tomato, still warm from the sun? a far cry from the watery reddish globe that is sold under that same name at the supermarket. and the biggest shock of all for me - standing in my aunt's kitchen in poland, watching her mash potatoes for our dinner and being astounded by the fact that plain boiled potatoes smelled. how? like potatoes. an incredibly earthy, buttery, golden smell, one i had forgotten existed. this summer my cousin-in-law, the spectacular k, grew lettuce. same thing - as she ripped the leaves into a bowl for salad, i was overwhelmed by the scent, fresh, green and astonishing to an urban dweller far removed from the food source.

i don't know if i want to take this as far as the authors of the book have done, but it would not hurt to eat more locally.

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