This week was Music Man's birthday...and lobster was on special and is local! Perfect combination for a delicious meal. And since his birthday falls the day before St. Patrick's Day, and with it being one of his all time favorite beverages of the grain, Guinness was also in order. Maybe it's his Irish heritage, maybe not, don't know, but he sure enjoys one every now and then. I, myself, even with the Ire in my lines, do not enjoy it at all. I liken it to road tar. But I am not a beer drinker, so that may have something do with it also. And I do like the way it pours into a glass, the whole foaming of bubbles sinking in the pint glass before rising again, that part's kinda neat. I even splurged a bit and got some asparagus (though to be honest, felt wholly guilty that it was from Peru :^( ). We also had his favorite cake, Boston Creme Pie, we all feasted in his honor that night!
The asparagus is the furthest away vegetable I've purchased since last spring, so not too bad, I guess. I even found that Hannaford's carries tomatoes from Maine in the dead of winter. There's a place with a greenhouse there that grows year round, so I'm very happy about that. And they aren't even mealy and gross, they actually taste vine ripened and are firm, cocktail sized ones. I have to pay $2.89 for 8 tomatoes, but they are worth it to me on many levels. And 8 of those babies can be stretched well here as Little Red won't eat tomatoes, Maestro will eat about 1/2 before he's all set and I use them for Music Man and I. They are large enough to have to use only one per salad if I cut them right. Yummy for winter here in New Hampshire, and I'll take it! I made a conscious effort to try to not buy as many fruits and vegetables from away the last couple of years. I did fairly well until citrus season arrived, I have bought a very few this winter...I have to admit, I LOVE fresh citrus. That may be having spent the first 10 years of my childhood being able to walk into my grandparent's back yard and have my pick of oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, bananas, figs and tangerines. There may have been more, but those are the ones I remember. And we had an orange tree in our back yard as well. But, when we moved to NH in 1978, I discovered apples...and these were apples like I'd never had. And to this day, I adore apples. And in fact, up until last month, we have been buying apples and pears from our local orchard. They store them all winter and sell until they run out. It will be interesting to get to September without apples, but I'll do it.
It makes the tastes of the season so much more amazing when you actually eat them only in season. I find it interesting in our time that we are unable to fathom that generations before us didn't have access to fruits from all over. In fact, children would get oranges in their stockings as a gift from Santa because they were uncommon and wonderful and a divine treat to people living in the dead of winter (there's a reason they call it that!) in New England to procure an amazing, glowing orange orb (is it just me, but why do they seem to glow in the winter time?) with such succulent juiciness and sweet/tart taste. Nothing tastes quite like a fresh orange picked from the tree...just as the same can be said for an apple you've twisted from the branch. In our day and age it seems almost perverse to some people that I reserve buying fruits out of season for very, and I do mean very, special occasions. Like, my dear husband's birthday, and this wonderful meal was his gift as we're on a tight budget right now.
There are a growing faction of people that are beginning to come around to thinking more closely about where their food comes from, how far it has to travel to get to them and the deep environmental impact that process has on our earth. And more people are thinking about overfishing in the oceans (a great article on sustainable seafood in this month's Cooking Light is proof of that) and the health of our oceans (DOUBLE BRAVO for the folks in the Australian city that have BANNED plastic water bottles! The residues from these are killing our oceans, not to mention our own bodies). I see progress. It may not be as quickly as I'd like, but progress is happening. Education, forethought and a little planning can pretty much negate the use of plastic water bottles (stainless steel refillables and tap work much better and learning about what the plastic residues can does to the endocrine system is scary enough to make some stand up and take note).
Not eating Atlantic farm raised salmon because not only is it not as healthy for you being farmed and fed man made food rather then the natural diet that increases all that healthy Omega 3, but it's terrible for the environment. The use of antibiotics, man made food and when the farm raised "frankenfish" escape and breed with wild salmon affects the health of all wild salmon population. When we eat salmon, it is now shipped from clear across the country from Alaska because it's more sustainable. I'm so saddened that we had a very viable salmon population right here on our own coast, that has been degraded so much that they need to dye the food pellets so that the meat will be the pink color we've come to associate with salmon.
If we don't buy the Atlantic farm raised salmon, then of course the way they are provided to us will change. Speaking with your dollar is the most powerful tool you have as a consumer, and I for one, even in our challenging financial situation, still speak with that dollar. Yes, it means we don't get to have oranges in July, or strawberries in November (unless we're eating the ones I've frozen from last summer's picking!), but it also means that we go back to eating in season. Which has many benefits of connecting me to the season and the natural cycle of it so much more. I have made a conscious effort to gear the food I prepare for my family more in season with things like pumpkin in fall and winter, with soups and stews which are more comforting for a long winter's night. With more salads and cooler foods in summer when the weather is warmer and our appetites aren't as big. I've tried to listen more to the tune of my body, and nature and it's really brought me to feeling more in tune with that cycle of life. Because if we don't do this, and sooner then later, we'll have a planet too badly degraded to support our grandchildren. It all starts with one dollar spent at the farmer's market and NOT the grocery store. Or deciding that the mangoes in NH are just not worth the sacrifice that will affect the health of our future generations. There's a Native American saying that is something like this: We have to live in a way that will ensure the next 7 generations will have an earth that is like our's for themselves. I'm really trying to do my part to make that happen.
Wishing you the joys of eating in season, ~Peacemom