Friday, August 3, 2007


"Eaters must understand...that eating takes place inescapably in the world, that it is inescapably an agricultural act, and that how we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used."

Due to internet troubles, I didn't get a chance the other day to write about Indian food in Singapore and Malaysia, and about the excellent curbside meal that Dan and I had in Little India a few days ago (mixed pakoras with tamarind jam, sauteed okra stuffed with garum masala, yellow daal, aloo gobi, salt lassis and steaming naan). Now my thoughts are elsewhere.

I'm already in the mindset of being back in New Orleans and what my plans are for the rest of the summer. Dan's father's backyard vegetable garden in Pennsylvania is already birthing more than he can possibly consume, so we'll be taking all sorts of fresh vegetables and even better, seeds, with us. From planting, his cucumbers are ready to eat within 60 days, so as long as it stays warm (which it will) we'll be well-fed.

Between work and school, I also want to volunteer with the New Orleans Food and Farm Network, an organization believing that healthy locally-grown food should be easily accessible and affordable for everyone, and not just the perusers of Whole Foods' glistening aisles. They have all sorts of interesting projects, including one encouraging the development of urban food gardens and even farms. Considering the often toxic nature of New Orleans' soil, I'm sure there's a lot of work to do to make anything that comes out of it safe to eat... In any case, now that the local food movement is really picking up, growing one's own food seems like a logical next step. One of the things that I always lament is the disconnect between our generation and those that came before, in the sense that we know so much, and are aware of so much, but in terms of specific practical knowledge we are frustratingly deficient. Our breadth of knowledge suffers for a lack of the depth of theirs. A practical education on what it actually takes to support ourselves, from mending a button to growing tomatoes, should ideally empower people.

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