Thought you’d got rid of me, didn’t you? No such luck. We’re putting Day 2 of “Week with Gramma” to bed and everyone is still standing. Oh, and before I forget, if you’re a movie buff, you sorta need to see “Chipwrecked” with Alvin and the Chipmunks. Weird, right? But you do. I’ll say no more.
However, that’s not why I’m writing tonight. I’m writing because I’ve been (big surprise) thinking. I’ve been thinking a lot about a subject that’s really close to me–food. I’ve been thinking how lucky I am for a lots of reasons–not only because I have the wherewithal to obtain good, fresh food, but also because I have the knowledge and ability to make good food out of very basic ingredients. So many people really don’t know how to cook–at least not good things from scratch–at a fraction of the cost of processed, “boughten” food. Like bread. For the cost of one good commercial loaf of bread, you can get enough ingredients to make at least half a dozen loaves. But so many people look at you like you’re a wizard out of Harry Potter when you say you make your own bread. (“Rizamus Loafus!”) I hope bread making never becomes a lost art.
In the last couple of weeks, we started going to the famers’ market here. This week, I picked up various kinds of squash, beautiful purple onions, beets for a relish we “put up” and a few ears of corn for $6.00. This kind of thing takes me back to when I was working part time, and on a very strict food budget. Even then I felt lucky because I had knowledege about food, how to take leftovers and turn them into something tasty, and repurpose anything left from that into the basis for yet another meal. This isn’t something I ever learned in school (ever the rebel, I never took a home ec class. Now, I imagine if I said “home ec” to anyone under 45, I’d get a blank stare). I learned it from my mother, and from my own love of food and making things from scratch. Again, sometimes I fear it might be a dying art.
Recently, I’ve become more active on Twitter. I follow some chefs. I follow some of the actors in a couple of shows I like. One of them, Joshua Malina, recently took the SNAP Challenge put forth by MAZON.org to live for a week on a food-stamp budget. You’ll most likely recognize Josh from The West Wing and most recently from my new favorite show, Scandal. He’s a smart, funny guy, a family man, a good actor and he writes a good blog post. You can read about his observations and experiences for the week here. It’s definitely worth taking a look at. One of the things I found most surprising, though I probably shouldn’t have, was the number of sneering comments directed at him during this time. Most of them were along the lines of “Why do you think anything you do is going to make a difference, rich boy?” that kind of juvenile stuff. Personally, I think anyone who’s willing to walk in another person’s shoes to try to understand their circumstances is doing a brave thing. Will one actor’s decision to live on a food stamp budget for a week change the world? No. But if more of us, not all, but just more, just one at a time, if we became more mindful of what we have and how much we can share and offer to each other, then yes, the world WILL become a better place. It has to start somewhere. It can start with me. It can start with Josh. It can start with you. Why not?