Thursday, January 07, 2010

A New Year, A Clean Plate

This year I will turn 30. OK, I just had to put that out there. Apparently it's a big deal, the big Three-Oh-No-I'm-Not-Young -Anymore-And-I-Have-Wrinkles-And-People-Aren't-Impressed-By-My-Youthful-Ambition-And-I-Have-Gray-Hairs. Well, you get the idea. I mean, really, when's the last time you met someone who was excited or even mildly looking forward to their thirtieth birthday?

And yet, despite the societal pressures to acquiesce the idealistic adventuress of my twenties, to channel Bridget Jones and hope to heck that Colin Firth shows up to save my single-thirty-something-heart from a destitute road that leads to Cougartown, I simply can't find it in me to get worked up about this new decade that I'll be entering. Although, as a sidenote, if I were being choosy, I might take Hugh Grant over Colin. Oh who am I kidding - any man with an English or Irish accent would do. The fact is, with or without the charming Englishman, I'm actually quite fancying the idea of entering a new decade - on the calendar and in my own life. I have a feeling it's going to be a grand one.

Right, well it seems I sat down to blog with no particular subject in mind, just a jumble of thoughts tumbling around in my head. It's been that kind of a year so far -jumbled, dishevelled, discombobulated. In fact, come to think of it, the last eight months of my life have been pretty unpredictable and unroutine. I have not stayed in one place for more than five or six weeks since I left Kingston last May to visit Canada's West Coast. Since then I've been hopping around the continent, living out of a suitcase for the most part and taking in as many new experiences as possible. It's been a great ride, but coming on the end, as the month of December loomed ahead, with its promises of endless social gatherings and even fewer opportunities to get into a comfortable eating, exercising and sleeping routine, I found myself yearning for some place I could call 'home'. A place where I could slip into a comfortable routine, where I could be productive (after all, I am supposed to be thesis writing now) and also relax. And now, finally, I am in that place. Physically and mentally. I am housesitting until the end of April - a gorgeous house that backs right onto Lake Ontario. The view is stunning. I have the company of two cats and a CD player that has, to date, been churning out a lot of Bob Dylan.

So...that is where I am right now. Settled (relatively, given my track record), fearless in the face of the impending 3-0, possibly because it's still 8 months away ( I will come back to this post when August rolls around if the Dread starts to kick in), and gearing up to churn out a stellar thesis concerning local food systems. With respect to the thesis, from moment to moment I move from being excited about exploring the data and confident I can write something valuable and relevant, to being overwhelmed and certain that any day now the folks at QUeen's will realise I'm an impostor, that I'm not cut out to be a graduate student. Sigh. And I remain highly skilled at procrastinating - yesterday I spent 2.5 hours trying to get the sound on the TV to work (it's plugged into the PC) with no luck (umm...the sound cable is missing...) and today I managed to waste precious hours going into town and talking to every single person I ran into.

OK, now I have the urge to resort to bullet points. This is a clear indication that I am not in my best blogging mindset right now, so please bear with me:

Notable Food Events of Recent Past

  • I was fortunate enough to be invited to two Christmas dinners this year - one on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas Day. I suppose technically I didn't recieve an invitation to Christmas Eve dinner since it was at Mom & Jim's place, where I was free-boarding for the holidays. It was, as usual, a delicious affair with excellent company. I will never again be the youngest person at Christmas Eve dinner now though - little niece Adahra has taken over that title! Things seemed especially calm in the kitchen this year - a point I raised with Mom - she nodded her head and said 'that's because I planned in advance this year'. Which, sadly, meant she didn't need my turkey carving skills. So I sat in the livingroom and got grilled by Jane about my romantic life - some things never change! On Christmas Day I headed over to Sahra & Rowan's house in North Granville. They had invited all immediate family members over for dinner and I was there to assist with baby-holding and making the brussel sprouts edible. I faired well on both accounts I think, but the huge kudos have to go to my sister who managed to pull off a delicious ham dinner with all the trimmings without any hiccups while also being on 'boob-duty' with Adahra. Mighty impressive.
  • Somehow I found myself in Vermont on New Year's Eve - a slightly abridged version of my original plan, which was to spend NYE on PEI and then head Kingston with a quick stopover in Vermont. Due to winterstorm predictions, I hightailed it out of PEI earlier then expected, which resulted in a lengthier stayover in Vermont. YAY! I ended up at a NYE gathering with people who clearly enjoyed eating. A bag of oysters was retrieved and one guy took on shucking duuties (after dutifully taking his wife's advice to wear an apron since he had a new sweater on!). I ended up eating my first raw oyster ever. Odd, given that I'm from PEI, which is home to the famed Malpeque oyster, but really, that's not enough reason to partake in eating slippery, slimy raw food. Anyways, the oytser was 'OK' but I'd rather leave them to the people who appear to have a 'special' connection with the oyster-eating experience. While in Vermont I also had a chance to revisit Claire's, Hardwick's locally-focussed restaurant. It was, yet again, delicious and we all left stuffed and with take-away boxes. By Sunday evening, Burlington, Vermont had seen 32 inches of snow fall in the past 48 hours. It was a light, fluffy snow, perfect for walking to Joe & Maura's abode for some lovely company, conversation and, of course, food and wine. Again, I was taken by the hospitality of this lovely couple and ecstatic (not an exagerration) to find that Maura had prepared a tourtiere (meat pie) for dinner, not to mention a tasty clam chowder. It's a good thing I don't 'do' New Year's resolutions or I'd have already broken any food-related ones I might have made. Goals, on the other hand, are much more manageable. They give you room to breathe and eat, while still providing direction and a timeline (note that I am very aware of how blatant this segue is....)

Some of My Food-Related Goals (bah to Resolutions) For 2010

  • Be a Locav-or-ganic as often as possible.
  • Eat healthily and in reasonable proportions
  • Minimize intake of all refined sugars (e.g. HFCS, fructose, sucrose, etc.)
  • Learn how to can & preserve food
  • Get down and dirty - work on a farm or grow a garden.
  • Blog regularly on All Shanadian
  • Find ways to become actively involved in promotion/education/development of local food movement

Upcoming Food Posts*

  • Hardwick - I've yet to blog specifically about the places and people of Hardwick for reasons that I hope will become clearer once I finally do post a blog about this very special community.
  • The Politics of Food - Oh dear. I've been avoiding this topic like the plague. I don't want to acknowledge just how political the subject of food can be. There are a lot of angles from which one can consider the politics of food. It will be interesting to see where I go with it.
  • The Cost of Going Local - Must give credit to Tarek for this suggestion. We'll look at how much it costs to eat locally for one week, versus how much it costs to eat conventionally. Of course I won't be able to resist at looking at the hidden costs of eating conventionally....lalalal
  • How Did I Get Here? Seriously. I need to figure out how it is that I find myself interviewing farmers and getting giddy at the thought of drinking raw milk.... this definitely wasn't something I'd envisioned myself being passionate about and yet, here I am, totally enamoured with food and agriculture and the idea of 'local'
*pls don't hold me to these, some are in draft form but others are just thoughts in my head at the moment and may never come to fruition

And that is all I have in me tonight. Bon appetit!


Anonymous said...

I'm turning 30 this year too, and I'm not too excited about it, I do look at my 20s and realize I did a lot, I hope I can end my 20s and start my 30s by doing a lot of fun/new/intersting things, like farming!

I think it's great you're going to blog more, but I'll believe it I see it! :o) Maybe if you wrote shorter blogs you could do it more often :o)


fromaway said...

nice blog Shannon!