i’ve been completely enthralled with my current book. setting aside stacks of quick fiction and girly rom-com books, it was time to actually absorb something beneficial from all my reading i’ve been doing lately (wil works a lot of nights!). this book floated around the back of my mind when a good friend was reading it a couple years back, so when i saw a client walk into the salon with that in hand a few weeks ago, i knew the time was now to pick it up.
fulfilling the portlander in me, i of course needed to stop wasting time and get a library card. our library system is the oldest on this side of the mississippi, and as of last year, it ranked number one highest in annual circulation of items being checked out and renewed. wow!
it took a week or two of waiting for someone to return their copy, and then to be transferred to the location of my choice (how convenient!)…but i am about a third of the way into animal, vegetable, miracle, by barbara kingsolver. her family, after moving from barren tucson to the lush appalachians, decide to embark on a year of living truly within their own land and community. if they can’t grow it, raise it, or get it from a farmer they know in their community, they don’t eat it. it may seem drastic to our convenient, exotic, fuel-based diet of today, but it’s refreshing to know that it’s not some crazy new idea, but what this country, let alone the entire planet, has spent most of history doing.
i know the concept of living on a piece of land to have a vegetable garden, and maybe an animal or two is a romantic ‘someday’ dream for me and wil. this book just makes me wish i could jump into their life right now…step into their muddy boots in the garden. it also is just a great reminder of the seasonality of foods. if you’re eating a watermelon in april, that means it came from somewhere that was hot enough in january to seed…meaning it probably was shipped from continents away.*
it’s probably a bit of mental retraining to buy and eat what is in season at the moment…but the item will be much more enjoyable at it’s peak of harvest anyways. and right now, of course is tomatoes. hallelujah, tomatoes! and boy are they great right now. stopping by a small farmers market nearby work on my way home on wednesday, i picked up a big juicy green and red splotched heirloom tomato. while so good just sliced and drizzled with balsamic, oil and basil, i had big plans for my tomato.
i love david lebovitz’s commentary on french life and cooking…another book on my list is his sweet life in paris. i decided to go with his french tomato tart. being without a tart pan, and recently being introduced to how ridiculously fabulous galette’s are, i did a free-form pan-less variation. i didn’t modify the recipe much…only using small chunks of fontina instead of goat cheese, just to let the tomatoes stand in the spotlight.
* (paraphrased from pg 65)