January 19, 2009

The story of food

Here we are back in Vancouver—the Frozen North—as my Mother refers to it. Today it does seem rather frozen. It is not raining, but extremely foggy with that bone chilling humidity and intense cold, only about 35F. We spent the morning at Granville Island and as we wandered through the food market I was struck anew by the beauty of the produce and sheer abundance of kinds of food items here in Vancouver— spices, breads, meats, fruits and vegetables, smoked fishes, candy, cakes, cheeses, Asian foods, herbal specialties, Italian delis, etc., each with a vendor specialized in a particular kind of item. What a contrast to Santa Rosalia.

I was just thinking before we left Baja that we had amazingly become accustomed to living a simpler lifestyle. I never would have thought I could get used to not having an Urban Fare or Whole Foods market nearby with all of its variety. However, lately I am convinced that when you can have really fresh squeezed orange juice every morning and fresh eggs—you can live without a lot of other seemingly important things. I still think that is true.

I have learned to be content with canned spinach and mushrooms since I am just using them as an ingredient in a meal and not the focus of the meal. What really broke my heart several weeks ago was to go to a market I wouldn’t normally shop at, find some fresh mushrooms that were about a week past their usefulness and to realize if I had known they were there earlier I could have bought them and been so happy. I bought them anyway and trimmed off the bad parts, but there wasn’t much left to use. They did add a lot flavor-wise to my pasta dish

I have just purchased the book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth http://www.amazon.com/150-Healthiest-Foods-Earth-Surprising/dp/1592332285 by Jonny Bowden and I see where all the meager produce we eat in Santa Rosalia is on the list of seriously good-for-you foods. We even get purslane, or verdolagas as it is known in Mexico. I had never heard of it before. It is a food superstar and a weed in my garden in Denver. It grows so fast among my roses I have to pull it out everyday to try and control the growth. Now I will eat it instead of stomping on it or trying to poison it. When we serve it in Casa Boleo, it is presented as a stew with pork. So far it has been a big hit, and this from men that are especially picky eaters. Who could believe it?

Maybe you have it growing in your backyard and just don’t know it yet!

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