Saturday, November 22, 2008

Flirting with Obsession

You know how it goes. You have a passing interest in a subject, pick up a book on the topic, and suddenly you're obsessed. My latest idea? Making my own cheese! But let me back up...

For a few months now, I have been hearing about the Slow Food movement, eating locally, and being a "more responsible" carnivore. We actually joined an Organic Food Co-op back in the spring, and now every other week we get a big sack (canvas, of course) of fruits and veggies, all of them organic, most of them local. I'm not big into the politics of organic food, but as you know by now, I am big into the taste of food. And I can tell you, these fruits and vegetables sure do taste good. I don't know if it's because they're organic, or because they are local (and therefore, fresher, and not bred to be transported 2,000 miles), and I don't really care. And we try to buy other produce from the local farmstand - lots of corn, tomatoes and peaches over the summer, and apples in the fall. And then I went to the library and got the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver.

In a nutshell, the book documents a year in life of Barbara Kingsolver and her family as they move from Arizona to Virginia and try to grow all their own food, or buy locally whatever they can't grow themselves. And I am totally sucked in. Here I am, in November, trying to figure out where to put the vegetable garden (we have a very hilly, shady, rocky yard). Wondering where we can buy locally raised beef, pork and chicken. Contemplating my own little flock of chickens (okay, that's a lie. I hate chickens). But seriously, I really want to try making my own cheese. It seems so EASY. Just one gallon of milk and a few cheese making implements, and 30 minutes later you have a pound of fresh made mozzarella! In the summertime, add fresh tomatoes (heirloom varieties are best) and basil from my (imaginary) herb garden, and voila! You have a caprese salad.

All I can say is, stay tuned. I haven't finished the book yet, but I can only imagine what will tickle my fancy next. Our own fresh goat's milk? Hand loomed alpaca sweaters? I guess at a minimum, I could double the size of my container garden (one tomato plant, that after a rough start - thanks to the deer - did finally bear 3 lovely Brandywine tomatoes). That doesn't seem like too much of a stretch!

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