John and I have recently finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's latest book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and let me tell you, it has been revolutionary. Before we began reading we had already begun talking at length about the ways in which we wanted to shift our eating habits, but Kingsolver's experience took things to a whole new level. The book chronicles her family's commitment to eat only locally grown (within a 100 mile radius) foods, with fruits and vegetables that they had grown themselves making up the majority of their supply. They also raised turkeys for meat and kept chickens for eggs.
One of the themes that surfaces is the shift one must make towards "slow food." Growing your own food takes time, planning for food supplies in the winter takes thoughtful consideration, and canning, preserving and proper storage takes amazing stamina. Most of us don't put that much thought into our food, much less time. Obviously, as recently as sixty years ago, folks didn't live such an "experiment"--it was simply the way you did things. But that knowledge and experience has been lost in recent generations and, as a result, has drastically changed the way we approach our food options. Unless I teach my children such, the idea of food seasons is a foreign concept in a world where you can get apples and strawberries and tomatoes year round.
So, in an attempt to make small changes in the way I think about what I put into my mouth, as well as the mouths of my family, I decided to slow some things down myself. It started with my purchase of a small pumpkin last week. This was not one for carving but the kind grown for eating. They are smaller and are usually labeled as "Pumpkin Pie" pumpkins. I roasted it in the oven, then scooped out the pulp and made our beloved pumpkin bread. What was most interesting to me about it was its color. Pumpkin that has been cooked in your oven is really more yellowish than orange. The canning process heightens the "orangeness" of pumpkin, I suppose. The taste was different too, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Those I shared it with described it as kind of earthy tasting, but they still raved about its flavor.
Well, after the boys and I carved pumpkins yesterday I decided not to chuck the pumpkin seeds with the pulp. Mind you, it's not that we haven't roasted pumpkin seeds in the past. Generally, though, I haven't been the one to go to all the trouble of pulling out the seeds, cleaning them, boiling them, and then roasting them. I've just enjoyed the fruits of someone else's labor. But I felt like the decision to "go to the trouble" would be a sort of discipline--an action that might begin to forge paths for more slow food choices in the future. I know they are just pumpkin seeds, but they are pumpkin seeds that I wouldn't be eating otherwise.