Thursday, June 25, 2009

This is what's wrong with America

Let me say it again, just so we're all clear:

This is exactly what is wrong with this damn country - Twitterature!

The twits at Penguin publishing have commission two 19 year old twits to whittle  some of the greatest book even written into 20 "tweets" so the inept twits of our society have no reason to learn about literary structure and imagery.  

I hate cliff notes.  

I loath abridged stories.  

There isn't even a word for how awful I think this is.  

It's more than just giving student a easy way to get a C-grade in english classes.  Giving people these short cuts starves their mind of the amazing experience of reading these incredible works of fiction.  It's no wonder they have to focus on books with dead authors, no self respecting author would allow two teenaged twits to condense the essence of their writing into 20 "tweets"!!

I may never purchase a book published by Penguin again.  Whoever is responsible for this decision clearly has no respect for literature or education.

We should all be screaming right now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Treatment effects

So how's the food experiment going?  Quite well actually.  Like most experiments, it began by building momentum like a snowball rolling downhill until it seemed unmanageable, and then suddenly it all seemed ordinary and easy.  Maybe eating well has been made simple by the spring harvests starting, or the local farmers market, or because of our CSA basket, or maybe anything would seem normal after enough weeks.  But we are closing out the third month of eating a whole foods diet and it doesn't feel like experiment anymore.  In fact diet is all together the wrong word for it because there is such a temporary sense to the word diet.  It's just the way we eat, and I can't see that changing much.

What is really funny as time goes on you rinse through all the rocks in your head that clattered together to form these ideas is what floats to the surface of the water and what sinks.  I guess by that I mean what things have turned into the really important issues for me, and what things I've decided are not important.  Food convictions you could call them.  Things like: do not eat corn syrup in any form.  This doesn't take ice cream or even soda pop of the shopping list, but just forces you to ready the ingredient lists and chose the brands made "naturally".  

Another unexpected conviction is eating things in season, and waiting for that season to come.  I think it just tastes better when you eat this way.  Gives you something to look forward to, and removes the american idea that we can eat any food any time we like.  While out shopping the husband occasionally mentions fajitas, and 'oh how good they would taste'.  And I have to say, 'think how much better they'll taste if we wait for our peppers to ripen' instead of buying the ones shipped to us from some southernly location.  As with most experiments, I'm convinced that I'm right and he's not ready to concede the point.

Something interesting I also discovered is that while making my own bread regularly is an easy routine, tortilla and pasta making is more of an event and paying a little more for the fresh "natural" versions of these at the food coop is worth the time (and mess) I save myself.

So to the meat of the matter, have we been successful in our experiment thus far?  All around I'd have too say yes, though neither of us are by any means perfect.  But this isn't a conversion to some orthodox religion, just a return to the roots of how we were meant to eat food. What are some of the positive results so far?  

The first and, arguably, most important is that neither of us have turned into those irritating people you meet a the super market or farmers market that discuss food choice in a holier-than-thou tone.  In fact very few people outside of our families have any idea just how drastically our eating habits have changed.  

The second big result for me in the loss of 17 lbs while still eating wonderful desserts and never cutting the fatty bits of my meat.  

The third, and most surprising to me, is the change in the speed of my eating.  Even when I'm at my desk half-way-working through the meal, I eat so much more slowly.  Chewing bites longer and resting in between.  I never made a point of it, just realized one day I was doing it.  And funnily enough I watched the husband, and he's doing it too.  I think maybe the food just tastes so good we eat more slowly to make the flavors last longer, without even realizing it.  

Somethings I expected to see changes and haven't were in some little skin and allergy issue we each have.  It's common to hear how connected these issues are to diet, so I expected to see some changes, and haven't.  Perhaps it's still too soon.  

Some of the best surprises to me have been the memories from childhood this has brought to the surface.  Smells and tastes and sounds.  The entirely green flavor of fresh peas eaten in the garden, smell of hot baked bread and pie, sounds of clanking canning jars, burst or sweetness biting to fresh picked strawberry.  Thing I heard, tasted, and smelled many times since childhood, but the memories of them have been repeatedly triggered by some unknown cause this spring.  

Maybe it's this feeling that neither of us seem to be able to shake.  That what we're doing, how we're changing is really important.  Don't know why, there is no reason to need to know how to make food by starting with a few simple ingredients, or with seeds, in this world we've made.  Perhaps I should feel foolish when I see bags of pre-sliced bread, chicken breasts wrapped in styrofoam and cellophane, and pre-washed bags of salad greens.  But instead of feeling like the world's having a joke on me, I feel how important it is to know how long it takes a loaf of wheat bread to rise on a cool morning compared to a hot summer afternoon, the proper way to butcher and de-bone a chicken, and what the right soil temperature is for starting lettuce seeds.  Important too whom?  just me I guess, but still important....