Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book discussion (chapters 10 - 12)

What's this you say? Already another book discussion? Well, since I've been a wee bit behind on the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book club, I thought I'd do another one while I was at it! So here goes...

Chapter 10. Eating Neighborly - I totally love the idea of restaurants serving food from nearby farms. Not only does that ensure produce and meats at the peak of production, but also gives back to the community and helps support the local agricultural economy. I can think of quite a few restaurants in the Seattle area that have a close relationship with the farms here. There is even an organization to ensure this relationship exists, called the Farmer Chef Connection. Do you have many restaurants in your area that support this sort of connection and, if so, do you go out of your way to frequent those establishments?

Chapter 11. Slow Food Nations - We've talked about this before, the idea of really sitting down and enjoying where your food comes from rather than hurrying through another meal to get to another activity in your life, whether that be a kid's soccer practice or your own busy lives. It seems like a complete lost art, that of sitting down with friends, family and neighbors and enjoying a long leisurely meal. I guess for most people it's reserved to the major holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Even Super Bowl Sunday is the closest some people come to sharing a meal with others, even if it is whilst watching football.

Parade Magazine ran an article over the weekend regarding eating locally and it looked like 78% of families eat together at least once a week, including eating out at restaurants. I'm pretty sure the high percentage leans closer to the once a week rather than seven times a week and, if so, I think this is pretty pathetic. Will you be trying to institute more family meals at home after reading this chapter?

Chapter 12. Zucchini Larceny - I'm still awfully bitter about my failed zucchini plant this last summer. I mean, who has a zucchini plant that produces nothing? I mean, nada. Zilch. I guess the cool summer probably had something to do with it, but I was hoping for a summer of overwhelming zucchinis wherein I'd be freezing volumes of zucchini and baking loaves for months. Sigh. Anyway, I digress. Did you grow zucchinis this summer? Were you overwhelmed with them. What did you do with the excess? I love that passing on extra zucchini has almost become an act of terrorism. If only it were that simple :)


Trina said...

Chapter 10 - For restaurants that serve local food, I would have to travel 40 to 50 mintues to eat there. We have almost completely elimated money being spent on dining out because every restaurant in Lebanon, Oregon doesn't even consider buying anything local.

Chapter 11 - Our extended family lives 8 hours away, so we don't include anyone in our "family meals" other than myself, my husband (Adam), and my 1 year old son (Aidan). We have family meals 5 nights a week and 2 mornings a week. Would love to increase that, but then Adam wouldn't be able to go to his karate class 2 nights a week. Better yet, he wouldn't be able to go to work 5 days a week.

Chapter 12 - We didn't grow any zucchini this year. We live in a condo and our garden consists of containers. 2 years ago when we had a house with a yard, we did grow zucchini. We had frozen zucchini, fried zucchini, zucchini bread (which I sent at least 1 loaf a week to my work and my husbands work), zucchini pie, and zucchini quiche. And I still was a zucchini terrorist!

Oldnovice said...

As mentioned in another thread, there's a dearth of concern where I live about eating local food. I need to do something about that, but I'm too tired this week.

We (just my husband and me) eat at home every day, for the most. We try to combine outings with eating out. For instance, when we attend a play at the local college on Sunday, I'll clip a coupon from the entertainment book for a restaurant near the college. It's like we're dating. :-)

When the kids were little, we ate at home, too. I couldn't cook in those days, so dinner was something like a microwavable lasagna, cottage cheese and a salad. In fact, that was my oldest daughter's example of my cooking: "My mom's idea of a home-cooked meal is microwaved lasagna, cottage cheese and a salad." Now I tend to cook more from scratch, but there are days when I REALLY appreciate Lipton/Knorr noodles, canned sweet peas, and Gorton's fish fillets. 30 minute meal right there with no need to leave the house and few muscles getting used. Great for cold and flu season.

I just started Chapter 11 last night, so I'll need to get back to this discussion, but I'm glad you've moved ahead on this. I'd just gotten the book from the library last week (along with two others) and it's already due back.

I've had NO luck with zucchini. Got squash bugs every time. Thought I had some volunteers this year, but they turned out to be cucumbers. Met a lot of new neighbors giving away cucumbers this summer.

Anonymous said...

Chapter 10. Eating Neighborly – As far as I know, there is nothing of the ‘neighborly restaurant’ variety in my area, near Detroit. I love the idea, too. I recently learned that Michigan’s second largest product, after automobiles, is farm produce, and that we have a larger variety of growing things than any state except California. So there is no excuse here for us not supporting farmers and eating locally, but we are not. I do not eat out much, but have been trying to simply get my local fruit/veg markets and grocery stores to label things with their place of origin, so that I could at least make intelligent choices, but even that seems to be a huge hurdle for them. I interview the meat guys about exactly where their meat and poultry comes from, ask them whether they visit a farm before the choose who to deal with, generally try to find out what is available here, but with not much luck. If even my local markets can’t give me local foods, I doubt very much whether the idea has even occurred to the restaurants. When I do eat out, I always ask, but I am met with blank stares and given answers like, “we make it in our own kitchen. . . “ I did find one ice cream shop that uses local produce to make their ice cream (the pear ice cream this summer was fabulous), and I have been happy to support them. :)

Chapter 11. Slow Food Nations – Please listen carefully, people with young kids still at home, and gather people to the table while you can! My empty nest has no full-table options anymore. I really regret that I didn’t insist on the shared meals when mine were little. I gave the idea up soon after my divorce when my youngest felt bereft at seeing daddy’s empty chair, but I should have found a way to work it through instead of giving into my own feelings of loss. Thankfully, my son and his family do family meals daily, assisted by their very slow-food children who simply need a long time to pause over a meal before they are finished. I admire the parents’ willingness to embrace their dawdling children as a blessing instead of rushing them through meals and turning it into a time of tension.

Chapter 12. Zucchini Larceny – I didn’t try to grow any, but now that you mention it, nobody tried to force any zucchinis – or even tomatoes - on me this year. I would welcome such food-bearing ‘terrorists’ in my neighborhood!

I really enjoyed this book. It made me feel like I could be a better food-citizen than I am.

Deb G said...

Chapter 10: I can think of at least 5 restaurants that use local products-there are probably more. It's a large movement in my area to support local (buy from local stores, eat local foods-the whole works). I love that my local ice cream shop uses rhubarb that was grown by my parents neighbors.... When I eat out, I do eat primarily at these restaurants. I am very lucky!

Chapter 11: Sitting down for a meal in my family is such an important event. I have a feeling that it's trickled down from the Italian side of my family. (I'm a little ahead here-but the chapter on the trip to Italy was such a familiar feeling to me!) I don't think we can do it more often (about once a week to every two weeks with my parents and brothers) because we live about 10 miles apart, but I know that we will always continue to eat together on a regular basis. When I have house mates, we've always eaten together. I think that's because I like to cook....

The other sit down experience in my life is that I eat breakfast and lunch with 8 one year olds everyday, Monday through Friday. We sit around the table and eat together and smile and laugh and make a huge mess. It's one of the most wonderful things in my life.

Chapter 12: I only got one Zucchini this year! Something in the weather, not enough bees.... Not sure what the problem was. I was however on the receiving end of the zucchini give away as my mom lives far enough inland that she gets more heat. I didn't have enough zucchini to stock up on bread (I was hoping to do that too), but at least I had enough to enjoy. It actually is one of my favorite veggies.

Ananda Devika said...

I laughed and laughed at Chapter 12 - this was so my family when I was growing up. In college I called home to ask "what do I do with zucchini", and my dad advised me to "avoid it!". It just takes over... This year before my plant withered away, we had zucchini bread, zucchini parmesan and zucchini stir-fry. I've still got plenty of shredded zukes and some bread left in the freezer...
My dear husband had never had zucchini before this year, so he did not understand the terrorist act that is passing zucchini to unsuspecting neighbors...but he does now!

cm said...

My zucchinis were duds, too! I think it was a combo of starting them too late and their not getting enough sun. There's always next year!

I wish I could eat more meals with loved ones, but it's not in the cards, often. My boyfriend is a waiter and we have opposite schedules; my family lives on the opposite side of the country. I try to meet with friends as often as I can but usually end up eating dinner by myself.

Anonymous said...

Ch 10 - I live in a farming county, so in the summer there are tons of local options, other than that, I think the co-op is the best option in this area for local eating out.

Ch 11 - Hubby and I try to eat together,but by the time I get home, he's ready for bed... but we do coordinate our eating - he usually cooks for me (I'm spoiled, I know), so we don't have two separate meals/messes/stove usages, etc.

Ch 12 - I planted a few too many zuks this year. I thought only half would come up, I'd thin the other half, and I'd be good... but NO... when I did thin, and toss the thinned plants in the composting pile for garden scraps (different from THE compost pile), they grew there... darned things. I gave zucchini away, I paid for things in green clubs, I traded zuks for tomatoes, and I found the best place to be a zuk terrorist - Public Schools! Take a big box of zuks to your kiddo's school (or in my case, the school I'm student teaching in) and put a sign up that says "Zucchini - free to good home" and they *poof* disappear! Oh, and there's a great recipe floating around that is basically apple pie with zucchini instead of apples... I've gotta try that one... seeing as I still have a box full of zuks waiting for me...

Anonymous said...

I feel so bad that many families only eat one or less meals together!
We homeschool, so in any given week, the children and I eat at least 18 meals together. I don't count breakfast, because we get up at different times, and they mostly eat cereal and oatmeal.
My husband works over 12 hours per day, and we *still* eat probably 6 out of 7 dinners per week with him. If he gets home late, we may eat before him, but a lot of times, I will give the kids(ages 14,9,5,1) a snack, and then we eat together when he gets home.
We purposely don't do a lot of nighttime activites outside of the home, to keep these times with our family.
It can be challenging, but it is well worth it.
For three years straight, my dh worked from 3 am to 8-9 pm, and it was crazy. He started this job, and took a starting pay of under $40,000, to spend time with us.
I don't think people consider this option much. It is very challenging money wise, but worth it!
The more I think of it,though, there are 7 dinners and two breakfast/two lunches on weekends outside of normal working hours.Where in the world are all of these people that they don't eat together??!? I mean, there are people who work at night and people who work different shifts, but the majority of people work 9-5, 8-4 etc.
Hmm, this makes me very thankful for the many hours I spend with my family, just eating!

Abbi said...

About zucchini, we got quite a bit this year. I wrote a couple of posts with recipes and ideas for using it up. Here are the links and

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late for the book discussion but I just have to answer your question about chapter 12. You asked, did any of us grow our own Zucchini?

Three words: Squash. Vine. Borer.

In my local area, we consider ourselves lucky to get four squash from each vine before the whole vine dies. Oddly enough though, the borer only attacks small plots (home gardens). Farms are safe from it, so if I want Zukes I can still get them at the Farmer's Market. But I'll never have so many that I'm sick of them.