Has anyone read Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? My mom bought me a copy years ago when I was sick in bed with mono, and I sped through it in, like, 2 days. She’s a wiz at story telling, and her memoir of the year she and her family grew ALL of their own food is nothing short of mesmerizing. It also made me feel really bad about all of my packaged food – Oreos, ramen noodles, Sun Chips – stashed away in my pantry back at college. Even as an independent adult now, I don’t think I’ll ever accomplish that level of food independence. At least not as long as we’re living in a major city, on a very small lot.
Still. One thing stuck with me from the book – the seasonality of the produce Barbara’s family grew. Every time a new crop started to ripen, she would wax poetic about how succulent and verdant the freshly harvested produce was. In early spring, when her very first crop – asparagus – began peeping out of the soil, she was ecstatic. And I suddenly realized how much better asparagus tastes in the spring than in the fall or winter.
Ever since then, I’ve tried to keep an eye out for the freshest produce in season when I shop for groceries. In late summer, when strawberries and blueberries and blackberries ripen, I
devour savor the fresh berries. As soon as fennel and squash and pumpkins arrive, I load up my cart with autumn booty. I love the ever-changing array of colors in the produce section…The hipster in me wants to Instagram that sight every time I set foot in a grocery store.
Now that spring is just around the corner (is it? I wore a coat, scarf, sweater, and tall boots today, and I’m still cold) it’s time to get back on the “eat seasonable” bandwagon. Here’s a cute visual from Erika at Style Me Green:
Still, unless you’re related to Julia Child or Rachel Ray, it’s not as easy as looking over a list of produce and whipping up seasonal recipes. But I’ve discovered a great vegetarian cookbook with recipes organized by season (and even dinner party menus for each season!) and I’m sure there are countless others out there. I picked up the cookbook from a used bookstore a few years ago, and every single recipe has blown me away. Here’s a link to the cookbook on Amazon.
Also, I think I’m going to re-read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I was just Googling some quotes from the book, and I forgot how inspiring it is. Maybe it’ll give me some fodder to convince Dara to kick Oreos, once and for all.