Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dark Days done! Phoenix day one

Well that was a bit of an unintended vacation! More than a month and not a single post.

I surprised myself when I finally clued in and I only clued in because my mother asked me what was going on. I had written a post a month ago about the end of the Atlantic Dark Days Challenge and forgot to post it. So to catch up....

(all images from Google Images)

Thank you to those who participated in the Atlantic Provinces Dark Days Challenge in some fashion or other. I received several recipes from Catherine that need exploring, several people loved the parsnip soup recipe (note: Cheryl added curry instead of maple syrup and reported swooning) and a few of you challenged yourselves to think more fondly of root vegetables.

What did I think about it? It was kind of weird. We do this cooking all the time. To make an issue out of it seemed a bit contrived. On the other hand, it generated several interesting conversations with friends and I am hopeful that a few folks will use the upcoming growing season to shift some habits around.
One of the things I felt about the recipes we presented is that there is a lot of soupy-stewy things on the list of possible meals. Looking at past menu plans (because menu planning saves tons of money and energy at the end of long tiring days) we certainly ate many meat/potatoe/veggie kinds of meals. We like the grain fed beef we can get, there are nice chicken parts available at the market and we increased our fish consumption to at least once a week, often twice. We also had our usual amount of pasta (thank you frozen tomatoes and red peppers) and we didn't do too badly with salads. We buy micro mix or pea shoots and as of now, spinach during the winter, so we can eat fresh greens.
I meant to explore beets. I loathe beets. Yet, there are all these recipes that claim beets are fabulous. I saw one the other day for beet chips. That might work -- probably not but it's worth a try. I also meant to be more creative with deserts. I find it hard to bake for two people. The recipes are great, but the amount of desert to eat is overwhelming and coming from me, that's saying something.

My next winter's project is to find two other people to split things with. One person to make up the soupy-stewy things and trade, the other to do the same thing with deserts. My rhubarb coffee cake at 9"x13" is very stale by the time we finish it off (of course we finish it off, it tastes great warmed up in the oven with a bit of frozen yogurt or maple syrup) but it would be nicer if there was more variety. OK, that's settled, I need two people to commit to trading. Call me.
On the not-success side, besides getting Cheryl to write a blog, no one wrote in to make comments on their cooking adventures. I guess the readership for this blog isn't the chatty kind of group. Not that the chattiness or not of you readers is an issue, I just felt lonely. And that's what I think is the biggest road block to many of the efforts people making lifestyle changes in response to environmental issues; loneliness, or isolation. There are plenty of sites on the web to read, as well as books on the shelves of that struggling institute, the library, but there is nothing like having a good yak with someone else. Yesterday in the car with 3 other women we entirely solved all the problems of pudgy middle-aged women's clothing needs, including bras. A good yak can be an amazingly fertile way of solving problems, real and imagined.
And now? I am in New Jersey trying to write before the battery goes dead. We are headed to Phoenix, Steve for a conference and me to get some sun. I have moaned about getting sun in February or March for years and this is the best we thought we could do. It will be blistering hot in Phoenix but I am trying to do my homework from Lesley (psychologist extra-ordinaire) and not try to problem solve every imagined problem before it can possibly happen. I am also not supposed to pre-judge, judge during or re-write things using a black cloud as a pen. I am supposed to be relaxed (might use Atavan for that), be spontaneous (might buy a magazine I don't need) and I'm supposed to think with my heart instead of my head (haven't figured that out yet, but that might be part of the homework?) I'll keep you posted.

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