Saturday, February 07, 2009

Le cru et le cuit

Two adorable baby lambs just hanging out in a cage at USG today! I cannot express in anything close to words how cute they are - it's more like guttural grunts interspersed with wrenching sighs. (Update: Molly posted a photo!)

Same As It Ever Was:
4 lbs. (big) carrots
3 lbs. Caribe potatoes
6 lbs. Mutsu apples
1 bunch leeks
3/4 lb. baby chard leaves
1 lb. crimini mushrooms
Total spent: $30

My mini-obsession with Satur Farms mesclun greens has been done to death here, but last week's photo of said greens (from their site) helps illustrate my current dilemma.

My favorite farmer, from whom I buy the world's most delicious carrots (which are sadly gone for the season), has greenhouse-grown baby greens of all stripes for sale at the moment. Now, these greens are priced for salad (that is, high), but I'm pretty sure they're a bit too hearty to eat raw, even though they are being sold for that purpose.

Even without considering the oxalic acid content of the admittedly-delicious-looking chard pictured above, eating it raw doesn't appeal to me. The trouble becomes that once it's cooked down, I've got a very pricey small vegetable side dish...I guess I got so excited about green, fresh, leafy things at the otherwise-bleak market that I threw economic caution to the winds.

Regarding Lévi-Strauss and the title of today's post: I saw a girl walking near NYU the other day wearing a hoodie that said "will close read for food," which, coupled with my etymological wonderings today about "crimini" mushrooms (surely the name is from the Latin crimen -inis, meaning crime, but why?), started me thinking, as I do occasionally, about my college education.

The economic climate and my momentary buyer's remorse about spending $9 for what will wilt down to a cup of cooked greens made me wonder exactly what dollar value of my college education was lost due to the brain-cell-incinerating habits of my immediate post-collegiate years. I suppose I should just be grateful that I'm not still paying it off (thanks, parents' largesse due to temporary windfall from dot-com boom!), because then it would be like the large-scale version of buying groceries on credit (which I had to do for years) - depressing because they're long gone before you're done paying for them.

Not exactly apropos of anything relevant to my vegetable-buying habits, but these were my reflections while wandering the market today. In some ways I feel like a late bloomer w/r/t food and making a career of it, and I feel pinches of small regret for the effort spent learning things I can no longer quickly summon; on the other hand, I don't think I ever would have moved to NYC or so easily spurned graduate school or a corporate career if it weren't for my time learning about, e.g., Ovid and phallologocentrism at the anarcho-liberal institution I attended. I guess this is when I get all new-agey and talk about my path. Well, that's my path.

And now, on to today's task: another borscht recipe-test. I hope this turns out to be the one! And later this week, I'll make vichyssoise.

1 comment:

melissa said...

I know I'm a late commenter here, but just had to say: Julia Child didn't discover her life's passion until she was almost 40. No regrets.