Today I finished my latest library book on the way home from a family wedding. Real Food by Nina Planck has gotten me even more excited – I didn’t know that was possible – about eating, preparing, and learning about traditional food. The writing is easy and down-to-earth, but the content is absolutely chock-full of information on the health – mental, physical and otherwise – of eating the foods our grandparents ate.

While reading, I looked back at the last three or four weeks, when I have become a bit more restrictive and rigid about my eating habits again. Feeling unhappy about my size and weight, I’ve tried familiar tricks – going dairy-free and gluten-free – to see if those omissions would help. But I’ve been down those roads before, and they lead to obsessiveness and isolation for me. Also, they prevent me from really enjoying food for the taste, the texture, the presentation, the moment. Of course, these things don’t happen for everyone I’m sure, but for me, absolutely. I don’t have serious health issues (that I’m aware of) with either dairy or gluten, although those foods have given me trouble in the past. But I have to wonder if my troubles have been the result of industrialized dairy (pasteurized & homogenized) and gluten (prepared without soaking, sprouting, or fermentation). I don’t know the answer, but I don’t want to go back to eating in a way that separates me from others and requires me to think about my food all the time instead of tasting and enjoying it!

So I had a grand time today, shopping at Ikeda’s Fruit Stand for fresh blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries as well as local, vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh corn. At the co-op I bought fresh raw milk as well as raw gouda and mozzarella di bufalo, and a bottle of commercial kombucha with which to (hopefully) start my own culture. At the local butcher I found beautiful wild salmon and took another stab at 50 cents’ worth of fresh liverwurst from a highly regarded sausage maker in San Francisco. Tonight we’ll have grilled cedar-plank salmon, corn on the cob, and a beautiful insalata caprese with said tomatoes, mozzarella, and local organic young basil leaves, sprinkled with sea salt, crushed black pepper, and drizzled with Sacramento’s very own Bariani olive oil – “stone-crushed, cold-pressed, decanted and unfiltered California extra-virgin olive oil”. I wish I knew where our camera was so I could show you how colorful and ripe and delicious this salad looks! We’ll enjoy our food with some local red wine, and for dessert Descartes has stuck into the coals a little hobo pack of fresh apricots and blackberries with blackberry jam. Can’t wait to dig in!

One of the challenges I took from Real Food was to have at least two different fruits and/or vegetables at each meal. Hence the tomato salad and grilled corn tonight. I’m going to try this challenge for myself over the next few weeks, and see how it goes. Nina Planck wrote that she sometimes prepares as many as four different vegetable dishes at one meal! Even though it’s not very summery, my mouth has been watering today for June’s Colcannon again…I might have to just go for it even though it is more of a spring dish. Maybe for breakfast???

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