Monday, June 11, 2012

American Food

American Food

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.


  1. It is a sad commentary when fair is foul and foul is fair. When clean air and water are enemies and wealthy corporations are the heroes.

    Unfortunately, Mrs. Obama's attempts to try to get Americans to do something healthy will be twisted and turned into something bad. My least favorite folks- Sarah, Rush, Sean, Michelle are probably working hard at Faux News to cook up something bad.


  2. A lovely couple of posts and I've had a good catch-up. You're lucky to have Mrs Obama to poke the country's conscience in the eye!

  3. Poor Sarah and shame on her. How happy I was when that white house garden came to be. Would that we all had the yard. I'm headed up to friends in Massachusetts soon, and though there will only be pot tomatoes, the nearby gardens will reap us a bounty of fresh and fine, which is always the best!

  4. Thank you! I couldn't agree more. Sarah and her ilk are so adept at turning good into bad. It would be laughable if it didn't have such serious implications.

  5. That may be my favorite picture of her.

  6. I was just daydreaming the other day about having chickens when we move to our next home .. in the country :)
    Then I started to worry about predators, snow and the fact that we have no idea how one goes about having chickens.
    But it is a great daydream :)
    besos from a very cold Buenos Aires.

  7. I could not agree with you more, Pamela, and hope to hold this book in my own hands soon. Wonderful post!

  8. That Michelle Obama's efforts have turned into political fodder is ridiculous. If she were encouraging young children to read more, her detractors would accuse her of violating children's God-given right to watch TV. ;)

    I agree with you, too, on craving healthy food. I salivate just thinking about a crisp green salad drizzled with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt. Yum!

  9. Myself and my family are lucky enough to have a friend who has chickens and you are right, there is nothing like an egg right from the farm, free range. I also have a vegetable garden which provides us with a rather good bounty for our small family. I applaud those who garden, even if it is in pots. We do what we can to eat healthy and keep moving!

  10. I agree, nothing beats a wonderful fresh egg; I am on the proverbial fence re owning chickens though. Anything we can do to get better kids' meals and school meals is great!

  11. I have a good deal of time for the Obamas and how encouraging people to eat fresh vegetables and get more exercise can be anything but good is beyond me! I walk 4 or 5 miles every day and try to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables though my natural sweet tooth is hard to ignore:) Fortunately at this time of year it can be satisfied by sweet English strawberries and cherries. Time I popped down to the greengrocers I think!

  12. What an attractive and sensible woman Mrs Obama is - you are so lucky to have her..

  13. Beautiful, fresh-picked homegrown veggies, nothing like it in the world. You are so fortunate to be able to have fresh eggs too, such a lovely taste, and the yellow of the yolk is so intense. I love what Mrs. Obama has done, and is doing. I'd like to tell Palin and the others where to go.....but, I am a gently-raised lady, so I won't. Absolutely love the graphic you used at the top of this post, too. Love to Edward and Apple.

  14. So glad you posted this Pamela, I have been wondering about this book and have it on my list to check out when I come through the USA next month. I am curious to hear what you think. Gardens and more of could anyone fault Michelle for her efforts. I would love to be able to pick and choose my vegetables as you do..and I think your celery, cucumber and carrot combo sounds delicious. I would be hot on the tomato Dad loved his tomatoes and passed on passion to me. :) I took a photo the other day which I have entitled 'lettuce envy', I will send it your way.
    Here's to American food..the natural way. :)
    Jeanne xx

  15. well...
    i am a gently raised lady also. but i'm sorry... what the ----!!!
    "gardening is the brainchild of the liberal elites."
    what ignorance. where was she when we learned about the 'victory gardens.' they simply FED people.
    the people planted them and weeded them and picked the food and ate.
    "a cover for the food oppression narrative required for
    wealth distribution."
    what pompous pontification is that?
    i don't even know what it means!
    what does that even say???
    good lord. have we stooped so low in this ridiculous game of politics that we can't even call a garden spade a spade? and delight in one of life's most pleasurable activities and accomplishments?
    oh god. somebody please stop me.
    go michelle. bring these idiots back to earth.
    that's their problem. i doubt if they've ever gotten their hands dirty. (but they do like to eat.)
    oh yes. in the case of sarah palin... bloody hands maybe... since she loves to hunt and also clubs fish to death.

  16. We live in San Francisco and are very lucky to be able to buy our produce at farmers' markets throughout the year.
    Organic fruits and vegetables are typically more expensive than conventional, but since they taste better and last longer, it's easy to justify the extra cost.
    And truly there's nothing like the taste of a fresh laid egg - our three hens provide enough for us to even give some away to friends and neighbors.
    Michelle Obama's heartfelt effort to get America off of processed foods is so admirable - let's make sure she has four more years to continue her work.

  17. Chickens are quite easy. Even on a tiny subdivision lot.

    Calming to watch, eggs to gather, & some chickens are self-aware.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

    'Cathedral' is a steel canopy structure. Great for a chandelier in the center.

  18. I think I would get a few chickens myself if I didn't have a 6 lb. dog who is probably smaller by a few pounds, give or take. Though it would be lovely to have fresh eggs (or friends who are generous) and I must hunt some down for our favourite meal of the week on Sunday mornings. A vegetable garden.......hoping next year. Yours sounds divine.

  19. There is nothing new under the sun. Selah

  20. Hello Pamela

    Your garden sounds fabulous and I do miss my garden at our former farm. I recall one time noticing that the potatoes were ready.They had flowered and the stalks were not scraggly. Mike immediately was summoned to the kitchen to boil a pot of water with sale. When bubbling he called out and then I dug my fingers beneath the earth and picked about a dozen small potatoes, washed them and put them in boiling water. We ate them with salt and butter and it is a meal and flavour we shall never forget.
    Your eating habits are healthy and if you love the taste that is even better.

    Thanks for an enlightening post

    Helen xxx

  21. Fresh is most definitely the best...whether from soil or a hen. My brother-in-law just got a gaggle full of chickens and the eggs are truly amazing, they put the store bought ones to shame...beautiful, rich golden orbs of goodness!
    You've inspired me to change my snacking habits Pamela, I don't eat Cheeto's, but salty and crunchy is always first and formost in my mouth, and if I try your snacking ways, I'll at least get the crunchy part taken care of and feel better for it!
    I'm thrilled that there's a movement towards healthier eating, Jamie Oliver deserves kudos as well, he and Michele are doing much good for the nation with their real-food awareness campaigns...I think it's catching on quite well too.
    Thank you, by the way, for your kind and caring comment, Miss. Ginger and I appreciated it very much.
    xo J~

  22. Wonderful blog post! I can't wait to buy Michelle Obama's book on vegetable gardens. I love the idea of wandering out into your garden in the evening to discover what's for dinner. Congrats to Michelle Obama for bringing attention to such an important issue!

  23. it's stunning to see the conservatives bad-mouth health and well-being. please pass the blackberries:)

  24. It's also stunning to see how the elites twist and distort. No one is against healthy eating, clean water, air and exercise. Just against every thing being shoved down their throats like there is no common sense.

  25. The girls and I are so glad you enjoyed the eggs!

  26. There are always those who see bad in good. Its's too bad for them and for those who choose to take their words as truth. I'm so thrilled Mrs. Obama is focusing on healthy eating habits. My summer favorite afternoon snack is a ripe, juicy tomato sliced and mixed with fresh basil and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar. Yum!

  27. Surely those ridiculous comments must have been written tongue in cheek? They could not be serious. Or if they are, the human race is in big this how some people actually think?

    It is SUCH an insanely good pleasure to grow one's own fruit and veggies - if it were not so, why has it suddenly sprung up around the globe in westernised countries as something which so many people are rediscovering? Here in Australia, the big movement of the moment is street planting, where the verge is replanted with veggies and fruit trees, and the whole street both looks after and uses the produce. Becoming more and more common - and it makes for a wonderfully pretty street.

  28. Eating fresh vegetable is something every Americans must do. It can be grown right in backyard and handpicked when harvest time comes.


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