A Cooking Post With (a Little) Preaching

The observant follower of this blog will have noticed that I have a page titled “Holistic Life.” I don’t crow about this page – it’s mostly there to help me keep track of those parts of my life that don’t fall under the umbrella of “writer.”

It includes things like natural childbirth and true breastfeeding, Real Food, and what I like to think of as “honest” living. The kinds of things that speak to my pagan heart, and lead to (or spring from) a deep respect for our planet as a living entity.

I have a separate page for recipes, but in all fairness, my recipes belong on the holistic page as well. To me, the gathering and preparation of ingredients is very deeply holistic, and this requires a fervent avoidance of food created in a laboratory and produced in a factory. I believe this even though I am a scientist with a deep respect for the scientific method, and even though I imagine a future for humanity that involves living on other planets, moons, or on space stations.

I think that no matter where we go, we have to start with, and abide by, the basics. I think that is more obvious and true than ever before, on our very own planet.

This is a very grandiose opening for what is essentially a cooking post. But I’ve had a double margarita, so you’ll just have to bear with me.

In my private efforts to live an honest life that is sustainable for the planet, I try to purchase and use food that is grown in a sustainable way. I have never succeeded in growing my own food, so I have to search out farmers to do it for me. I am very lucky to live in an area that is as natural-centric as I am, and thus encourages organic farmers and pastured animals.  Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that we have a lovely, mild climate to back us up, not to mention a bay and an entire ocean just a few miles to the west.

We do have to deal with frequent droughts, and let me tell you, that takes some thought to work around. But living holistically means living within the climate you have.

So what has me crowing today? Besides the margarita?

Nothing odd or fabulous. Just a meal that took advantage of holistic living. But, I hear you say, WTF does that mean?

To me, it means living thoughtfully. Putting thought into meal preparation, obtaining ingredients, where things come from, and how they are made or grown. This isn’t just food – I also think about clothing, cleaning supplies, and even the tires on my car. Some of these, I have no control over (the tires, for instance). But food – I’m not perfect, but I’ve got a lot of it figured out.

So, for instance, several weeks ago I cooked up a large pot of beans. In this case, it was mixed beans – kidney, black, white, garbanzo – although sometimes I cook a large pot of one particular kind. I keep a hefty supply of dried beans on hand all year long, and cook whatever my mood dictates. I will usually cook them without seasoning, just the beans and fresh, filtered water.  Once they are drained and cooled, I store them in small baggies in the freezer, to use as I need them.

Yes, I do need to think about those plastic baggies. I use and reuse them, but they really are bad for us and for the environment.

Anyway, I had the beans stored in the freezer. Then the other day, Whole Foods had organic whole chickens on sale for $1.99/lb, so I bought two. One went right into the freezer and the other one went into the oven. We ate a little for dinner, I made pot pie out of the back/neck/wings, and the rest went into the freezer, divided into dinner-size portions.

So tonight, some beans and chicken combined with onion, serrano chili, garlic, and tomatillos to make a meal with a Mexican flair. I had a bag of corn tortillas that needed to be used, so I cut them into triangles, brushed them with oil and salt, and baked until crisp. An avocado that was still hanging around made guacamole, and margaritas finished the dinner.

If you make margaritas using one of those green mixes that come in a bottle – please stop. You deserve better than that. Buy some limes, squeeze the juice out, add good tequila and triple sec, or grand mariner if it’s a special occasion. Rub some lime on the rim of your glass and dip it into salt for a pretty presentation.

It only took a few minutes to put the meal together.  It didn’t cost more than a couple of dollars per serving, and most of that was the tequila. My point is that it’s possible to eat well (and cheaply) without recourse to factory foods. It’s good for you, and it’s good for the planet.

Give it a try.

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3 thoughts on “A Cooking Post With (a Little) Preaching”

  1. Husband and I are always looking at dried beans in the store. He keeps threatening to make something with them, but he never follows through. Beans are the staple in vegetarian diet, but I think they should be in everyone’s diet.

    1. Beans are almost a perfect food. They are high in protein, so make a good substitute for meat. They are also high fiber, and provide several vitamins and minerals. I think they taste great, too, and they can be prepared so many different ways.

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