Tabs {Pages}

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Imperfect Produce

I stuck my hands in dirt today. In my own kitchen.

Y’all, (Yes, I now say this. Thank you new friends from the south and old southern roots) the potatoes here are dirty. Most of the time I give my potatoes a little scrub, a little more if they are baked potatoes. Here, they are taking a bath. Right. Now. A bath. They are like filthy children after an afternoon in the yard. Clumps of dirt and roots covering the skins.

Back in California – I was about to say home, but that would get confusing because there are too many “homes” right now – my friend Rachel introduced me to Imperfect Produce. She loves them so much she wanted me to apply for a position on their marketing team. Their marketing team and their mission is incredibly creative. The essence is that every day, farmers grow food and it is wasted because it is “imperfect.” Basically, it doesn’t look pretty enough to go in the grocery store.

I was thinking about this concept at market day a few weeks ago. There are produce stands and cheese stands, places to get fresh pasta and just picked flowers. There is the fish stand which smells, and the garment stands and knickknack stands. You can buy your socks and underwear at the market, if you’re into that kind of embarrassment. I was thinking about it because I have to order my fruits and veggies by weight. The produce stand closest to my house has a sweet older lady that will let you order by number of pieces, but for the most part you’re ordering per kilo. And the cherry on top to this experience is that they pick which pieces you’re going to get. No touching!
You could end up with some really ugly, but edible, fruits and veggies.
The concept of imperfect produce doesn’t work here. They would look at you like you’re crazy, which let’s be honest they already think you are.  If you are savvy enough, you can be like the Italians and tell them you don’t want that one, you want the other one. But again, they look at you like you’re crazy because you’re American. Comes with living in a different country.
So, Americans, we’ve got to get our act together. Think about all the time wasted on sorting produce to make sure it looks pretty enough. Think of all the cleaning agents used to make the potatoes look less dirty. They came from the ground! Of course they are dirty!

This isn’t an issue with the potatoes or the farmers or the grocers. The problem is with our mindset. It is with how we think about our food. The good stuff that keeps us going.
Once those potatoes are clean and cooked, they are going to taste delicious. You shouldn’t know that they came from the ground and you won’t be able to tell that they were dirty when I got them from the farmer’s market this morning.  

Let’s try to change our thinking about how things look. I’m going to get back to cleaning potatoes for dinner from my new cookbook, Magnolia Table

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Soft Hum

You know why I love the mountains? 
Because they are quiet. 
Do you know why I love the beach in the morning hours? 
Because it is quiet.

This world is so loud. I've learned to let it just be noise, to be background. Unexpected noises make me jump. I hate using or hearing car horns. I avoid it at all costs. And press lightly when I feel I have to. Timid. Because I don't want to startle others... or myself, really. But the point is to be startled into action.

Growing up in a small house I tiptoed around. Not wanting to break the balance. And it wasn't to scare or creep up on unsuspecting siblings. It was only to avoid breaking the background hum. I became a master at the art of slipping around with minimal noise. I learned all the unique door squeaks and the person walks on the floor. Mind you, most of the time this was carpeted floor. I was that detailed in my trained hearing. 

I often notice the air conditioning switching on at work. I take note when the music changes at a coffeeshop. This morning, I heard the rain falling before seeing the splattered raindrops on the windshield.

I become in tune when the world has a soft hum. 

*written while construction rages at the office*

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Used to

You know things are changing. In fact they seems to be in a constant state of change. But we were made to adapt. And that is what I keep going after - that change is inevitable and let's embrace it. (embrace is my word for the year.)

I used to know all the cars in the parking lot. I used to know all the names of coworkers and things that made them unique. I used to know. 

And there was safety in that, which is not present in an ever evolving startup company. There was security in knowing about the people you work with. 

The cars in the parking lot have changed. Even the parking lot itself has changed, the building different. The things that you thought you knew about your coworkers, you find out that maybe you knew too much. Or maybe too little. 

This week we added three new cars to the parking lot. "My space" is no longer my parking space. 

I still know the names of the people around me, but small talk is reduced and the tidbits that make us unique don't come out as often, as much. 

I've started making up lives for the people around me, as I would strangers on the street. The game we used to play where the imagination runs wild. 

I used to know and there was comfort in that. I used to.

*written at the beginning of July 2017