Washington, DC to Washington State

Yesterday, Jon and I returned from Washington, DC back to Seattle, WA. He had been there most of the week without me for business. I joined late last week, just in time to experience high humidity and temperatures exceeding 100 F. To say I was uncomfortable would be an understatement. I will also swear up and down that it was never that horrible in Chicago, though that might be a lie. At least in Chicago, I said, there are tall buildings and a lake offering a cool breeze.

I returned to Seattle by way of Phoenix, AZ. Although I did not actually step out in the Phoenix heat, I can tell you it had to be damn hot, as that we sat on the plane with no air conditioning for at least 30 min waiting to taxi onto the runway. The tin-can became like an oven, and thankfully they turned on the fans. Seattle greeted Jon and I with a midday breeze, cloudless sky, and a comfortable temp in the mid-70’s. This is a standard, summer day in Seattle. The night was so cool that I when I got up this morning I had to shut the windows for awhile because the breeze was too cool for my tastes.

My day-off had me hiking to the local co-op, Madison Market to get our weekly groceries. The total cost came in at just under $55. Our meal plan is as follows:

(Note: Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home = M@H, Moosewood Cookbook = MC)
Tonight – carrot and celery pasta (local, farmer’s market) with meat (local beef) sauce (homemade, canned tomatos) and garlic bread (homemade bread, farmer’s market garlic, co-op butter)
Tuesday – M@H, Ginger Tofu (local) and Greens (local kale) over Coconut Basmati Rice
Wednesday – MC, Potato Leek Soup (local)
Thurday – M@H, Avocado Corn (local, frozen) Salad over lettuce with tomato (local heirloom), olive and egg (local)

I would estimate that over 90% of the purchased materials were organic. Very little cans or packaging for ingredients, and my own bags and legs toted these items home.

It’s taken me about 5 years to transition to the food/shopping style I have acquired. Just a year ago it was hard for us to conceive of shopping at Madison Market – mostly because the selection is so limited compared to giants like Whole Foods Market. However, they do specialize in local stuff, and by being a co-op member, I feel like we have more of a direct line to their practices. Today’s shopping was mostly what was available and in-season. I almost feel like I’ve won something – even if I can’t put my finger on it.

I’m further fueled to decrease food-miles and over-consumption of resources by reading Barbara Kingsolver’s newest book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It details her family’s journey from living in the resource-draining state of Arizona to the lush agricultural land of Virginia, raising their food and learning to live in harmony with the seasons. I’m enjoying her narrative style, and the composition of the book, which includes seasonal recipes and annotations for further information on sustainability issues.

And with all that, my tummy’s rumbling for lunch.