This sentence in The New York Times yesterday nearly made me choke on my organic lettuce (purchased at the coop):
“The highest form of luxury is now growing it yourself or paying other people to grow it for you,” said Corby Kummer, the food columnist and book author. “This has become fashion.”
One of the gifts of perspective that Barbara Kingsolver offered me in our conversation is in seeing that the way most of us eat now — the cheap and easy habits we’ve come to take for granted in a handful of generations — are elite in the extreme. Once upon a time not so long ago, lettuce for salad in October was a party trick for the very, very rich. What Kingsolver’s family did for a year — living off what they could grow and raise on the land around them — is still the way most human beings have lived forever and many in the world still do. We’re collectively, it seems, in the midst of a culinary and dietary version of “remembering forward.”
And I’m happy to learn — also via the New York Times, such is the world we inhabit — that our dear public radio friends and colleagues down the hall at The Splendid Table are coming to the rescue. Lynne Rosetto Kasper and Sally Swift have commissioned 15 people in various regions across the country to prepare food 80% locally for a year — and to chronicle just what that takes, just how humanly possible or impossible that may be in a spectrum of contemporary lives. At their Locavaore Nation site, you can follow their adventure for yourself.