Stop and smell the bandwagon

I think this may very well be my fifth (and final) post for the month of February. It's a long month, I may as well have extra posts.

Of course five posts in February is a ballpark estimate. I could go and actually count my posts, but where would the fun in that be? There I go, justifying laziness as whimsy! Try it, it's fun.

This month has involved much contemplation on the topic of food. Not as in what should I eat to help me lose that 989123 lbs. I'd like to lose some, but more by way of feeding Pants and I healthily, thoughtfully, and deliciously. I've still been ever so obsessed by thoughts and chapters and meals in Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Reading Sarah's thoughts and challenges on eating locally, taking the plunge and chucking all the processed food out to make room for the good stuff invigorates me. Even more so, reading her posts on the Dinner Guest Blog (especially this one) start to light a fire under me.


And there's always a but. I'm looking at my checking account. I'm thinking of the time I spend waiting for the shuttle, then the Metro, then the Bus and the idea of going to the grocery store seems so horrifying. I see the free range, grass-fed meats and eggs and dairy products. I even found a dairy that delivers to DC, heard of a bodega selling local foods at 200 Rhode Island NW. My landlord says I can grow potted tomatoes and chiles in the back yard this summer! I think of the rows and rows of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce that I will have canned to last me through the winter.


That threshold isn't easily crossed. My bargain hunter thinks of the half-gallons of milk that cost $3.50 that are from happy cows who wander around pastures eating grass and contemplating entropy and doesn't want to justify the purchase when I could get a gallon for $3.79. I see the organic chicken who eat worms and beetles and grass and peck at the dirt and wander around but notice that it's $11 for 0.80 lbs when I could get Purdue chicken for $6.00. I open my cabinets and see the lovely, healthy boxes of Pacific Organic broths and soups - organic and gluten-free that have been driven conveniently to Silver Spring, MD from the exotic, far-flung land of Tualatin, OR.

The gluten. That's the other issue. I don't have a lick of gluten in my house.

[Okay, that's a lie. Ernie's food (made of fish and potatoes since he, like his mama, has food and skin allergies) has salmon as the number one ingredient. However, he has barley as the number two ingredient.]

Going gluten-free is better for me. I feel better, I'm happier with my choices at home. i make more foods from scratch and experiment with alternative grain flours. (However, I'm not so gluten-free outside the confines of my humble abode. That's my other issue to conquer) The fact of the matter is Bob's Red Mill is, like so many other wonders, in the Pacific Northwest. 'Cause You're Special is also not all that nearby (Wisconsin). There's also the issue that if I want to bake cookies or bread or birthday cake without gluten, I've got to add xanthan gum to the mix or it will all fall apart. Xanthan gum. You may know it as a thickener in your processed food. That's not part of "natural." So, I can't go to a local grist mill and get some whole wheat, stone-ground flour. I need to get mixtures of rice and starch and exotic things called quinoa and amaranth and millet.

It's clearly not going to be all-local, all the time around here. But I'm trying. The urge is there. It's crossing over into my purchases.

I picked up some garlic, saw the "Product of China" label and put it back down.
I made chicken stock from the leftover carcass of my roast chicken the other night and used it in Esau's soup for dinner tonight. Instead of buying injera from the Ethiopian bodega around the corner, I made it (almost comically dismally) from scratch - I started fermenting the teff and water on Wednesday and by tonight it was wonderfully sour. My coffee is Brazil Organic Fair Trade from Peaberry (okay, it was "local-ish" because I was in Denver when I bought it).

It's a process, and it just won't be 100%. But for me, for us, it doesn't need to be. We have our vices that we're allowing. For me, the biggest is coffee. And until I can grow coffee beans in Columbia Heights, I will work hard to forgo the Dunkin' Donuts in the grocery aisle and support the small farmers who are paid a fair wage for their labors (and make a damn fine yergacheffe... business practices aside, Starbucks can do the right thing!) I will use less and less white rice flour and gravitate toward whole grain flours (sorghum, teff, brown rice, buckwheat, millet) and experiment and play. I will work hard to find a CSA to support local, organic farmers. I will sit down and make a budget that allows me to spend extra on healthy, organic animal products, even if that means - gasp - less yarn. I will clean out my friggin pantry and put some order into it and throw out what doesn't have an expiration date, to make room for the canning I will start this summer.

It's hard for me to recognize that it won't be 100% out of my own backyard all of the time, but I will stop and be grateful for what I can do.

Celebrity Morph into ScarJo

My disdain for ScarJo is pretty well known. It's based on very little, and rather unkind. I think her eyes are too far apart and her voice is like that of a pre-pubescent boy's. However, I know people think she's lovely (or boomin' hot) so I was wildly amused when I came up on myheritage as looking 75% like her (which I reject on principle. If anything, she looks 75% like me) and decided to take the opportunity to turn my face into hers.

I am a giant dork.

MyHeritage: Celebrity Morph

"Hmm... it's missing something..."

"Dude, I know! Maybe a monkey?"


Oh, dearie me!

The ever lovely Bryony has told me that I make her day! (Probably amusing only to me and possibly h a i k u g i r l, is the fact that I forgot to copy Bryony's URL and the first link I put in was for the last URL I copied which was this. It came up in a discussion of Teeth. This is no reflection on Bryony.)

She nominated me because I kick her arse at Scrabulous (although it's dead even in our most recent match), but I have to nominate her right back because she calls me Petal and tells me to KNIT MORE, both of which are beyond awesome in their own right, not to mention the swapping of gluten-free (mis)adventures. I hope her broken nerves calm down soon so she can sew and knit and frolic about the webbernets more. And she TOTALLY makes my day. :) (I am now waiting for chocolate and dog bubbles, missy)

Who else makes my day? That has to be the aforementioned h a i k u g i r l, because we talk about boys and local food and cute glasses and the French and knitting and vaginae dentatae.

The blogfallow for 9 months but Twittery semaphoria, for always being my friend even though we've only seen each other twice since 1994. I love hearing about her family, her job, her travels to Alaska in winter, as well as miss the heck out of her on a daily basis. She also introduced me to the crack that generally is Orisinal and specifically, Winterbells.

Another person who makes my day is Chris Cope, who will likely mock me and smack me around for giving him a blog award, not to mention one with flowers. However he's an excellent blogger and commenter and columnist, even though he's frustrated with all of those, as well as university, but he speaks Welsh and is the only reason Pants comes to my blog - on the off chance that Chris has left a comment, so suck it, Cope. I mean, congratulations Cope!

Certainly not least is Cafemama. Now she doesn't read my blog but I wait with baited breath for the days that she does a new post as she and I are both at the same level of obsession about local food and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle... Alas, I have not been as good as she has about starting to eat local (and I'm still trying to figure out how to get gluten-free flours and whatnot locally, or if that will have to be on my exception list... And basically I need to start buying more locally, but there's a CSA I'm interested in near Frederick, MD that will also allow me to spend some time learning about farming/gardening so that when I have a home with some land to work, I'll have an inkling of what to do. Still haven't decided how I'll deal with getting dirt on my hands, though...)

So, youse guys make my day.

And I have to get back to my salsa verde carnitas. And exercise huge restraint, even though Elise posted a red velvet cupcake recipe.

Prevalent Themes

I'm writing a paper for work, and "Prevalent Themes" is one of the headers. So it seemed appropriate to address what has increasingly become a prevalent theme around Chez Caribou.

Hi! I forgot to blog for 3 weeks!

I finished knitting cabled purple legwarmers, but my camera's still dead, so you don't get to see them yet.

I'm working a lot.

Knitting not quite enough (although I am swatching for the Eunny's Deep-V Argyle vest right now and about to undertake some gift knitting).

Playing the guitar almost never which makes me sad.

Becoming increasingly fixated on local eating (due to dietary restrictions, locavore is not in my future) and thoughtful about food choices.

In a related vein, becoming very excited about cooking and experimenting and creating foods again.

Wishing I had a camera with which to photograph my knitting and food.

And snuggling Ernie, and making lagomorph noises in the proximity of Pants.

About this blog

erratically updated for food, yarn, or other nonspecified reasons