Delicious Countertop

Delicious Countertop
Bring it home and eat it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Life Leaks

Though they are currently buried in snow there are millions of acres working on the finest edible scraped from the unforgiving terrain.  After forest fires have ravaged our glorious mountains turning them into the surface of a planet screaming of poisonous gases and choking dust the morels crawl out of the blasted remnants of the forest to let us know that family and food are far more important than all of the Armageddon earth will launch at us.  Keep it simple and enjoy. 
We will be there.  There being wherever other people are not.  It is quite obvious to the morel hunter that every other car in the parking lot is there to pick his quarry before he can.  This is why we avoid the main paths; in places where it is wise to remain on the main paths.  Hanging off of some dead tree on the edge of a cliff that is part of the unstable ground of a recent forest fire is the most likely place to catch this denizen of the Northwest backwoods.  They leave early in the morning; like last night, just to make sure nobody else gets there first.  Arriving at the starting point before dawn they hike 17 miles up to the hinterlands and arrive at dawn marveling that nobody has beaten them there.  Immediately the quarry is spotted and the hunt is on for the next 6 hours and bags quickly fill with the resources involved in the crafting of cuisine of the summer and thick winter morel gravies. 
Actually this wasn’t supposed to be a very mushroomy note.  Morels are on the mind in March though.  It is interesting that they happen to be some of the spendier items available in marketplace haute cuisine.  Again it is interesting to follow that another step and realize they are lying around in vast quantities and nobody is really interested in seeing them.  Hustling from one television to the next with barely the time for a gas pump we trod them underfoot in housing developments malls and other like asylums.  We cry and hug a holly because of a massive forest fire yet they shout out, “Come and get it.”  Are you beginning to catch on to the real topic?  I didn’t think so because that was just a vague lead in, a teaser.  Here it is.  The big secret.   The best food out there doesn’t have to be expensive the eaters just need to get creative.  Like so many things in life.  So Morels teach us a basic lesson about eating well.  You can eat extremely well for very little money.
Though I have not mastered any of the concepts involved in this blog we actually have been formulated and feel dispensary with one.  Our family is medium sized and growing and so far for several years we have kept our budget at about one hundred dollars per person per month.  How do we do this?  We don’t eat.  Just kidding.  Actually we eat far better than can be imagined by 99% of the US.  Of course we also put into our food the labor and time needed to masticate so morally.  While many things that might bother an accountant aren’t figured into this bit the truth is we eat extremely well for so very little.  Not everyone can or should attempt the total madness but there are points that can be interesting to all with taste buds. 
Primarily I am not suggesting that everyone become an overzealous fungophile.  Or indeed that you personally begin eating only instant oatmeal every other day.  The summary of our method goes like this.  We begin with the grow or gather what you can method.  Next is the start with the basic ingredients movement.  Followed immediately by the make it yourself and the don’t believe it when they tell you its food.  For example “fast food”.  The last standard is very important and is often lost on us in America.  It states, “Don’t waste it.”  All of these are important, but there are also smart ways to shop.  There are grocery segments and you should look for the best pricing in each segment for the highest quality material from as close as possible to where you live.  Long sentence, but it goes like this.  “I want apples…it’s March…apples are either 5 months old with no bar code, or from the other side of the earth and I don’t know the farmer there though I’d like to…they cost a buck fifty a pound but we need fruit.  Oranges are in season, have a peel to ward off any shipping nastiness.  They cost less and are in season.  Anyway, not to assassinate the point with the boredom of the reader, but we need to be able to have a starting point when we shop our local co-ops etc.  I’m not cool with a 24 page synopsis on shopping techniques in my name so I’m just presenting the direction of the solution.  Figure out the grocery segments as you see them and begin making decisions that are focused on eating organic high quality local food for the best price possible.  Obviously all of those rules bend around and around, but it’s surprising how thrifty it can be to buy local.  If you avoid the Monsanto wannabes that spring from the fertile soil of ORGANIC groceries then good food can cost less.  Don’t trust the labeled out conglomerates that tell you it’s organic so they can charge twice as much for something.  Trust your local farmers, food crafters, and chefs. 
Yes chefs.  The spend a hundred a month per person is derailed by these fantastic folk of the culinary world.  I love chefs and wish I could partake of their craft more often.  Luckily you’re not insane and you don’t mind eating out now and again so go eat at the local hot spot.  They can be put through the same processes as your own food and if they are serving high quality fare they won’t mind knowing that you are interested in the best. 
There was not a ton of extrapolation in this episode and I promise that I will expand on some of this conceptually in later issues.  In some deep and psychologically problematic way I would rather have a bit of entertainment in these blurbs or blogs or whatever than to list off the facts.  This is most probably because I don’t know what the facts are, or would be.  I’d better get some morel hunting soon or this winter is going to send me over the edge. 
Since I am a practiced picker I have some fantastically important advice for all of you fungal hunters out there.  Stay out of my patch.
Also, keep eating good food and stay away from Monsanto and drive throughs.  Big business doesn’t care about you no matter how much they spend on advertising to tell you they do.  Get to know your local farmers and support producers that are trying to do it right not just paying for a certification that has ceased to mean anything.  Packaging is bad and so are bar codes.  If you don’t know where it comes from or can’t pronounce the ingredients it belongs in the trash.  Keep in touch and remember, Eat Better, Live Better.