Simply in Season

News and reflections on all that's good about local food
from the co-author of Simply in Season,
a World Community Cookbook in the spirit of More-with-Less

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Food that satisfies body and soul

The Simply in Season recipe of the week, Pear Custard Bars, makes me a bit wistful, as our area didn’t do so well with pears and apples this year. My husband Dave and I have been spoiled by some local friends who have a huge pear tree in their yard. It’s become a fall tradition to bring home a few sacks of their pears. We spread them across the utility room floor to finish ripening, and then spend a few evenings with a card table set up in front of the TV, peeling the pears and thinly slicing them to dry. No such luck this year.

But we still have a few dried pears left from 2004, and I took some on a recent trip to the East Coast. Airlines don’t give away meals in the main cabin these days, so I also grabbed a hunk of homemade oatmeal bread and a chunk of cheese on the way out the door. Not a bad lunch.

As it turned out, the woman sitting beside me opted to buy the $3 snack box offered by the airline. It contained:
-- Single serving of Name Brand tortilla chips
-- Single serving of Name Brand salsa
-- Single serving of fluorescent orange Name Brand cheese sauce
-- A Name Brand turkey stick
-- A package of Name Brand cookies

Please let me be clear: Under some circumstances I too would have bought the snack box. I strive to eat local foods, whole foods, minimally processed and packaged foods, but I’m nowhere near to being a purist. On the way to the airport for another cookbook-related trip not so long ago, I stopped at a fast food chain on the way because I had forgotten to plan ahead for a missed meal. The sandwich I bought tasted good and filled my stomach and I was grateful for it.

But munching on my bread and cheese and dried pears en route to Baltimore, I had to think about why that meal was so much more satisfying to me.

I knew it was healthier for me than those high-sodium snacks -- that felt good. I suspected that it was going to fill me up better -- also good, as I still had a long day ahead. For what I was getting, my sack lunch certainly was cheaper. Further, I knew the production of my meal had a lesser impact on the environment, compared to the resources and energy that went into preparing, packaging, shipping and marketing those snacks.

The heart of it is this: I knew and liked the story of my food. I knew exactly what was in the bread which I had made myself from mostly organic ingredients purchased at our local co-op. I knew something about the company, Tillamook, which produces the cheese -- using milk that is rBST-free. I knew our friends had not sprayed pesticides on their pear tree.

For me, all of these things go into food that truly satisfies, food that satisfies more than the most basic experience of physical hunger. When my choices have a positive impact on God’s creation and on other people, that feeds my spirit.

As Thanksgiving approaches, many people in this country will remember with grateful hearts how privileged we are to have access to enough food. It is my hope that more and more of us also will come to experience the joy of choosing foods that feed our souls as well as our bodies.

More next time on the stories behind our food.


At 2:30 PM, Blogger Lauren said...

"I knew and liked the story of my food." I love that.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Steph said...


Thanks so much for your kind comment on my blog--I'm glad my post brought you some joy and encouragement. My husband and I are still loving Simply in Season and this blog seems like a great idea. I'll add you to my blogroll.


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