Quote of the Day


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle snippet of the day: "Livin' la vida loca."

I've had not much time to read, but the little that I have is making its mark. On Friday the children and I went to Costco where we loaded up. Usually, when I drive home with my car full of produce and my children full of glee to be in the presence of so much yummy food, I feel like a right good mama. Yesterday I was questioning my every purchase. Where did those strawberries come from? How much gasoline did they use to get here? If I limit my purchases to only produce grown in North America, is that a responsible compromise?

In today's snippet, Kingsolver has noted that we tell our young people to wait for the quality experience when it comes to sex, but we are sending them another message when it comes to food.
We are raising our children on the definition of promiscuity if we feed them a casual, indiscriminate mingling of foods from every season plucked from the supermarket, ignoring how our sustenance is cheapened by wholesale desires.

Waiting for the quality experience seems to be the constitutional article that has slipped from American food custom.

Actually, the ability to wait seems to have slipped away from the American character. We now have instant credit, instant soups, instant coffee (blech), and even instant peanut butter. Diploma mills crank out instant degrees which are even more worthless than the juiceless and rock-hard off-season produce that Kingsolver is railing against.

It seems as if we are failing to wait in every regard. You have heard of the marshmallow experiment I trust? Here it is again, from Wikipedia:
The marshmallow experiment is a famous test of this [deferred gratification] concept conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University and discussed by Daniel Goleman in his popular work. In the 1960s a group of four-year olds were tested by being given a marshmallow and promised another, only if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first one. Some children could wait and others could not. The researchers then followed the progress of each child into adolescence, and demonstrated that those with the ability to wait were better adjusted and more dependable (determined via surveys of their parents and teachers), and scored an average of 210 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

In their previous life, my children lived what Kingsolver is advocating: eat only what is in season and local. They were also hungry and underweight, though I know there were other factors contributing to that. To the children in the orphanage, the bananas we brought were far more exciting than the toys. That Dandy and Chickadee get to eat a banana Every! Single! Day! thrills and delights them still. Bananas are never going to be in season or local here.

We never buy farmed fish; we have gone over to local beef (as in right-down-the-street local); we will soon start to be blessed with our neighbors' organic produce. I've been putting egg cartons in the car so that the next time we see a "eggs" sign by the side of the road we can pull over and buy local eggs. I need to line up a free-range chicken source. I can see how I can limit our protein purchases to local, but I'm not ready to give up off-season fruit.

On the other hand, I'm only a few chapters in, so I may be a complete convert by the end of the book. I'll let you know.


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