Thursday, November 1, 2007

My New Wooden Table

I recently bought a new wooden table for my kitchen.

The top is long rectangular planks of dark sheesham wood. The two bases have a swirly pattern in cast iron set in blocks of wood.

The table makes me want to sit there and savor a good meal with friends and family.

But I am not much of a cook.

Those of you who knew me in college may even remember when Rice-a-Roni was a staple in my diet. While my eating habits and cooking skills have improved, I have lately felt at an impasse with food - bored with the dishes I often make, sick of take out, but lacking that motivation and knowledge to cook more.

So when a friend told me that she and her husband had joined a CSA last summer, I decided to look into it.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It means you pay money to a local farm cooperative that provide a bushel of in-season fruits and vegetables once a month (in summer months, you can get a weekly or bi-monthly delivery). By paying up front, you help the farms invest in their crops, get a share of the fresh harvest, and eliminate the grocery store as a middle man.

There are other reasons why I think joining a CSA makes good sense.

It should help me broaden my culinary horizons. My CSA promises to includes recipes and instructions on how to store the food with each delivery.

It's also better for the environment in the sense that all the food comes from farms within a few hours from Chicago. That leaves much less of a carbon footprint than the food that travels from all over the world to my local Jewel and Whole Foods. The farms also grow crops organically, which is healthier for me and the soil.

Produce sections in big grocery stores look the same all year. You don't know how long the food took to get there or the chemicals used to preserve it. Eating seasonal produce picked within days of harvest means fresher, and hopefully tastier, food that is meant to be eaten that time of year.

That said, if you want to read a blog with finely tuned, well-tested recipes and comprehensive information about food, stop reading now!

This blog will instead focus more on what happens in my kitchen as I make my way through each bushel of food and prepare food to serve on my new wooden table.

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