I’ve been reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” and Barbara Kingsolver’s one-year challenge (I am clearly a fan of the one-year challenge…) to eat things grown close to her is so compelling. As I listened on the way to the grocery store before my dinner party last weekend, I longed for April, when our local farmer’s market would fill up again and I would start purchasing squashes and beans, bundles of green onions, piles of peppers, and anything else I could gather from people who lived close to me.
It was also a bit of a wake-up call as for my lazy shopping habits: I took care to bring my durable shopping bags into the store (from reading my flagrant substitutions in recipes, you can imagine I forget these often), but I also grabbed peppers and kale without putting them in bags, rather just setting them atop one of my own bags… I’m gonna clean them anyway. It’s hardly virtue incarnate, but as Kingsolver smartly points out, it’s everyone making small changes that can change an industry.
That day Husband was out and about, helping a relative to move to a new apartment, so I was alone with the house and the kitchen. I put on my audiobook and threw together the pork chops and the triple peanut butter cookies – the pork chops were dreamy easy and the cookies made me feel like, with sunshine and this balmy 50 degree day, I could be an actual cook. I gathered the ingredients for the farro salad I’d found (somehow, there just weren’t enough vegetables coming to my party, so I needed something to round it out) and for a quiche that I planned to whip up last minute if anyone extra showed up and it felt like there was going to be too little food.
While the pork chops slowly turned golden in the crockpot and the cookie cooled and hardened on the counter, I tidied. I’ve admitted my lack of penchant for cooking, but I’m proud to say that the house is tidy, there are enough seats for everyone (admittedly not at the table itself, but in the living room is okay, right?), two loads of laundry will soon be done and folded, and with all this food, my house is going to smell divine. Just in case, I took a turn working on the hardwood with some orange oil and beeswax conditioning oil; I do it less like a chore and more like penance, a prayer to the hardwood gods to keep the house from falling down around us. I opened a window for a time and put the sad, shrivelly amaryllis into it to hopefully soak up some light and bust out a bloom for us.
I’m learning how to love the preparation for things, I think: I rarely love those stages, but such a pretty day with so many satisfying activities and such anticipation… it made things worthwhile.