I was dreaming of a city street in the rain. Snug under a big, black umbrella, I made my way along the wet pavement, en route to an unknown destination when all of a sudden the buildings on either side of me began to melt like hot fudge - roof lines slipping, windows sliding - and an enticing aroma started to seep into my senses. Unrecognizable at first... too rich to be flowers, too savory to be cake... Ah, fresh coffee. Breakfast. My favourite meal of the day.
I crawled out of bed and made my way to the kitchen table where I sat down before a gloriously yellow gathering of scrambled eggs provided by a brood of winsome ladies named Charlotte, Flannery, Guinevere and Dooley. No, I haven’t employed a quartet of cooks. These ladies are the chickens of a good friend of mine, a friend kind enough to bestow on me a carton of homegrown eggs. And oh, my soul... one can tell the difference at first forkful.
Although chickens are probably out of the question here at The House of Edward, due to the fact that both Edward and Apple have decidedly negative opinions on a flock being installed in our back garden, I can, after two years of growing my own vegetables in our city’s community garden, wholeheartedly attest that fresh is best. There is simply nothing better that taking a basket into my garden and picking dinner. Beans and zucchini, okra and peas, cucumbers, tomatoes and corn. Cooking these treats while they are still warm from the sun is a delight unmatched in my culinary experience.
I suppose I’m fortunate, for I have always craved healthy food. My favourite snack is a big bowl of cucumbers, raw carrots and celery. I know, I know... it’s downright weird. But after years of eating this way, I can tell a distinct difference when I diverge from habit. A big stack of pancakes might be tempting but, as I know from experience, if I scarf them down in the morning, I’ll feel like a gloomy hippo in the afternoon. The modern day diet is a strange one. From reading food labels I have learned that a lot of prepackaged food doesn’t really have any “food” in it at all. Ever read a Cheetos label?
Here in the states we are in the midst of a food debate. The Mayor of New York City recently proposed a ban on 16oz sugary sodas and, while I’m not sure that can be legally enforced, which he probably knew all along, at least he has raised awareness about the issue. One in three people here are overweight or obese. One in three. That’s, pardon the pun, a huge problem. Type II diabetes, an awful disease, is running rampant. Once known primarily as adult-onset diabetes, statistics are showing its rise amongst American children to be alarming. Only two percent of high schools still have daily physical education classes, so we don’t move around like we used to either. Our first lady, Michelle Obama, has gently tackled this issue and is leading by example. Two months after moving into The White House, she enlisted a group of school children to help her plant a vegetable garden on the South Lawn. The largest vegetable garden that famous house has ever seen, it now provides fifty-five varieties of vegetables for the White House kitchen as well as a large hive of bees for pollination and honey.
Mrs. Obama has been vocal in encouraging us not only to recognize the connection between what we eat and how we feel, but how important our activity level is to our overall well being. It is a noble and worthy effort, but of course, as had been the case since President Obama took office, those in the opposition can let no good deed go unpunished. Writing about Mrs. Obama’s garden on the rather ironically named website, “American Thinker”, conservative Betsy Galliher declared that “gardening is the brainchild of the liberal elites” and “a cover for the food oppression narrative required for wealth distribution.” And of course, the incessantly farcical Sarah Palin weighed in, accusing Mrs. Obama of an attempt to strip us of our “God-given right” to eat the way we want to. The nadir of these criticisms had to have been when some in the conservative press suggested that Mrs. Obama was endangering people, blaming an increase in pedestrian deaths on her encouragement for us all to walk more. These criticisms would be laughable if they were not so sad.
For myself, I am proud of Mrs. Obama and happily applaud her efforts. This week she published a new book on American gardens, the White House one included. I am buying my copy today to read of others in this country, just like me, who enter their vegetable gardens each evening wondering what’s for dinner. All the profits from this beautiful book are going to our National Parks.
What could be bad about that?
I’m sure there are those already hard at work on that one.
See the book HERE.