Sunday, September 6, 2009

Cheese sandwich with deep thoughts

This is a cheese sandwich made with homemade cheese, roasted hatch chiles, olive oil, and ten-grain bread from Central Market. It is toasted. I have included this photo and description simply to make the rest of this entry less boring, because there is no more food talk or photos. But doesn't this sandwich look great! it was. MMMMM don't forget the salt!

Meanwhile. The weeks of no packaging are long over. Here are some thoughts on the experiment.

1. It's not over. I'm still sticking to it as best I can. I have this idea to transform my refrigerator and cupboards into entirely name-brand-free zones. As I run out of condiments, I will make them and you will get to read about it. There is still so much fun to be had.

2. I realized that when I feel accountable (thanks readers!) it's really very easy to never forget your shopping bags or containers, and to think ahead a little bit. It was a little more effort, but what isn't at first? And for me, this effort isn't the same as "work." I love being in the kitchen with NPR or some music to sing to while I chop, chop, chop. But, this brings me to my third point:

3. It's not for everyone. But, we can all do something for the environment. For me, it's very easy to reduce my packaging and waste overall. But maybe it is not so easy for you. Maybe you are a busy mom and your kids really love Shark Bites. Maybe your job is very demanding and time in the kitchen is just more work, no matter how you look at it. I hope things can change, and that people can build stronger connections to the foods we eat and where they come from, but still, I totally get it. Major cooking is not for everyone. But what can you do?

Let's first consider an area where I majorly fail in environmental stewardship: exercise. Physical fitness and I have a very tenuous relationship, and in order for me to not be morbidly obese, I have to make it easy for myself. I drive eight miles to one of Austin's best gyms and use the machines, when I could just run around the neighborhood. I drive to yoga class when I could do it at home. Yes, I could have a major attitude more disciplined, learn not to feel embarrassed when people drive by and I'm out there sweating like an animal and tripping over tree roots; not get distracted by my iPod and run into traffic; vacuum enough that I'm not doing downward dog into a carpet covered in actual dog hair... but if I'm serious about staying in shape, these things aren't going to happen. Just like most of you are not going to make your own Saltines.

We all have changes we can and can't make. Play to your strengths, I say. If you are someone who loves exercising outside, maybe you can ride your bike to work instead of driving. If you love growing flowers, maybe you can learn to grow some veggies, too. If you love meeting new people, maybe you can go volunteer to pick up trash with KAB (Scott and I did this once, and it was fun, but not as much fun as cooking and dancing to Thriller). Few of us can do ALL of this...but all of us can do something, and make it fun.

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