I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the state of the world today. Mostly on the effects of technology and modern conveniences and supermarkets and the like. Not only thinking about the detriment to our environment… our soils, the air we breathe, the food we eat, etc… but to the detriment of our traditions, those that were once passed down from mother to daughter or father to son (or mother to son and father to daughter, for that matter).
I hear my mother tell stories about her grandmother. How she could turn out a huge batch of fresh gnocchi in no time at all or how she’d spend all day making fresh pasta and ravioli, sheets of the pasta no doubt draped over every open surface. I know my mother wishes she had learned these traditions, and then in turn, had taught them to me. It’s not too late. I could learn how. So could she. But why bother? We can buy fresh pasta from the market. Well, it’s not quite fresh. But what’s the difference? The sauce comes in jars. The “fresh” herbs wilt in small plastic packets for $1.79 each. We can make a semi-homemade meal in less than 30 minutes.
Here’s a secret… You can prepare a whole-grain, whole-food, fresh meal in the same amount of time. No pre-cut, bagged ingredients. I attempt it almost every night. Sometimes it takes a little longer for that pesky brown rice to cook, though. Sometimes it takes 45 minutes.
Where’d all these mental meanderings come from? I’m reading a book called Food Not Lawns. And while some of the author’s advice seems out of reach and a little far fetched for my current reality (like composting your own human waste rather than flushing it…. ick), I think there is something to all her preaching… We’ve come so far from where we were, and in order to preserve our cultures and our heritage, perhaps it is time to take a step or two back.
So that’s my goal in the upcoming year. Give up one or two modern conveniences. Plant some seeds. Nurture a garden. Grow my own herbs. Grow some food. Visit and support small farms. Bake bread (without a breadmaker! gasp!). Reinstate the compost bin. Shop at the farmer’s markets (to supplement my CSA). Buy local. All of these things take time, yes. But think about taking just one step. One step backwards.