When Courtney and I first started receiving our CSA boxes, I admit that I wasted more food than I ate. I stored it improperly and it wilted in the fridge, or I didn’t know how to cook it properly and the leftovers languished, or I just plain forgot I had it and it went bad before I could figure anything out. So I started writing weekly menus based on what I knew would be in the box. I didn’t always follow them to the letter, but I found that making a plan helped me to use more, use it better, and waste less.
The next CSA program doesn’t begin until July, and I have been slacking about walking down to the market lately. It’s cold, it’s rainy, I’m sick, I can only get excited about tubers and insanely expensive winter greenhouse vegetables for so long. But I’m still writing menus, because even though I don’t have a cache of non-preservative-laden produce to use in a week, having a plan helps me stay away from dinners of garlic bread and beer three times a week.
So I spend about an hour or so on Saturday mornings scanning food sites, cooking blogs, and other recipe sources. And while I understand that winter makes the bounty of local and organic produce a little thin on the ground (and in the stores), I’ve become increasingly dismayed at the ever-shrinking amount of food being made by people who actually seem to like food. For one, it makes my planning harder. For two, it’s just really fucking depressing.
Could we, as an Internet-using populace, please stop writing recipes with “-free” in the name? I can’t go more than a few thumbnails deep without encountering this qualifier. Gluten-free. Dairy-free. Meat-free. Nut-free. Refined sugar-free.
I almost can’t wait to see whatever kind of –free is next, but also I’m getting really sick of this evidence of people turning food from a source of nourishment and pleasure into another control mechanism/exercise in deprivation.
It’s one thing if you have a genuine medical need, as in a formally diagnosed condition that makes the consumption of certain items a risky and painful act. But that’s so, so rare, and people who fake this kind of thing to validate their issues with food/need to feel special are marginalizing the people who are forced to make these difficult choices for their survival.
What in the everloving fuck happened to eating food because you like it? What happened to being excited to find, prepare, and taste new things? What happened to pleasure, fulfillment, and satisfaction? I have no idea, and I’m certainly not about to ask the author of the latest “gluten-free, vegan, paleo, refined-sugar free” dessert recipe I scowled at today. Participate in your crackpot diet if you must, but stop trussing it up in a fake allergy or lifestyle movement. Stop defining yourself by what you don’t allow yourself to consume. Stop creating a guilt complex over imagined failings of your own personal dogma. Stop being such a joyless motherfucker, is what I’m saying, and start creating some content worth caring about.