Tuesday 21 February 2012

Pretty Good Pickings

Another month has gone by already!  Yesterday was Good Food Box day; a day I look forward to every month.  Good Food Box day is what Christmas would be if Santa grew a garden.  We never know what we’re going to get but we’re always pleased to receive it.

We still have potatoes and onions on hand from last month’s purchase so I chose to buy two boxes this month, instead of three.  You can see the contents of one box pictured above.  Our two Good Food Boxes (a $20.00 purchase) brought us ten pounds of potatoes, two English cucumbers, four broccoli crowns, six apples, six large mandarin oranges, two bunches of celery, four pounds of carrots, four beautiful heads of lettuce, four pounds of onions, six kiwis, and two lemons.  Pretty good pickings, I think.

We were especially happy to see the broccoli.  I’ve been doing my best to vary our menu, but it’s a pleasure to be able to plan meals that include something other than the cabbage, carrots, and frozen vegetables that have accompanied most of our suppers for the past couple of months.   

The kiwis will make a welcome change to our breakfast and lunch routines.

It’s interesting to me that, since I’ve been cooking mostly from our pantry and relying so much upon our monthly Good Food Boxes, the focus of my daily meal planning has shifted from what proteins we’ll eat to what produce we have on hand.  It’s probably a far healthier approach in the long run, and it makes me grateful that we are such adaptable creatures.  This kind of cooking fosters creativity.  It also helps me to understand and appreciate the abundance available to us. 

Our grandparents, and even our parents, ate more seasonally than we do now. Late summer and early fall were busy times in the kitchen, as home cooks put by the fruits and vegetables that would add variety to their winter diets.  Apples were harvested in the fall, not imported from Zealand in spring, and few people would have imagined a time when, on any winter’s day, they could choose between asparagus from Mexico and vegetables flown all the way from Chile.  The February arrival of California oranges and Florida grapefruit was eagerly anticipated.  New potatoes and fresh peas were the flavours of springtime, and the appearance of the first lettuce in the garden was cause for excitement.

I’m not going to wax rhapsodic about “the good old days.”  I know that our diets are richer and more varied now, and that we have a nutritional treasure trove available to us year round.  I do think, though, that we take all of this variety and abundance for granted.  This winter has renewed my appreciation for what we have.  It’s been good to regain an attitude of gratitude.

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