I am such a ridiculous foodie.
Here I am, in the United States of America. I live within an hour and a half of a major city. I have never, ever gone hungry, or even had to live without a favorite food. Ever. One look at my waistline, and you will know that I do not lie.
I am a terrible gardener. All 6 of my tomato plants died this summer, for no apparent reason. I got 4 peppers out of 6 pepper plants. The berries were out of control, but I didn’t plant any of those. That was all Mother Nature.
So I don’t know where I get the nerve to envision myself as Ma Ingalls, but for some reason I have become completely 100% OBSESSED with local foods. Like, insanely obsessed.
I belong to an incredible food coop called “Mass Local Foods”, where I go on line every month and order fresh, sustainably farmed, organic, local cheese, eggs, meats, chicken, grains, vegetables, honey……. I can’t tell you how fabulous it was for me to discover the taste of FRESH pork…..holy deliciousness….. And fresh chicken, flash frozen and kept that way! Wow. Like a whole new world of food.
The thing is, though, that I seem to be taking the locavore thing to a slightly crazy extreme.
We are approaching “peak harvest” here in North Central Massachusetts, and I am bound and determined to preserve these wonderful foods for the winter.
Why, you may ask yourself? Given the fact that I can just run to Hannfords and buy canned tomatoes and frozen corn, why am I doing this?
But this is how I spent my Saturday:
I canned a dozen jars of fresh tomatoes, complete with my own fresh garlic, local onions, my basil and oregano. I burned my arm, made a mess of my counter, broke a jar and burned all ten fingers. But I have at least 20 meals set for the winter. Take that, Martha Stewart!
And I did this, too.
I made two batches of vegetable soup base, two batches of carrot/ginger soup, and one big batch of tomato basil soup. All fresh. All local. All made by me.
For the past three weeks, I have blanched, frozen and stored enough local sweet corn to last until next year’s crop. Yummmmm. I’ve made blueberry jam, blackberry preserves, strawberry jam and jars and jars of cucumber and zucchini pickles.
And I don’t really know why.
I mean, I guess it will be delicious on a rainy, icy December afternoon to simmer a pot of those tomatoes into a good pasta sauce. But I don’t think that’s the whole reason.
I think that for some strange, innate, Italian Momma reason, I feel incredibly competent when I can feed people. And I feel safe when I know that I have a kitchen full of healthy, fresh foods. In case of an ice storm, a power outage or a Zombie Apocalypse, I’ll be ready to serve a healthy dinner to those I love.
How nuts is that?