Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eating Local

Ever since reading (well, listening to, actually) Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by my favorite author, Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver last summer I have been trying to be as conscious about eating locally grown foods. While I love that eating local is good for the environment and supports small farmers, often the best thing about eating local is the taste of the food.

We joined a CSA this year for the first time and we've received 3 weeks of food so far. I'm taking a picture each week of our bounty (you can see it at my flickr site), what we received and what I bought at the farmer's market while picking up the share. The taste is truly superior.

Monday night while my parents were visiting we went to eat at the Blue Duck Tavern. They purchase much of their ingredients here in the region and list the origin right on the menu. The food was so delicious and epitomizes the beauty of eating locally--each ingredient must be at its prime and the taste of the food is top priority. Everything we ate was delicious. If you go there some important things to know are, 1. go hungry, 2. the appetizers are listed on the left side of the menu, 3. the portions are large enough to be shared, and 4. save room for dessert--one word, hand cranked seasonal ice cream (ok, that's 5).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Where are you from…

I sometimes think that someday my identity will stop being questioned. First, let me say, that I know it won't but indulge me for a minute.

I just wonder if there will be a day when people will stop asking me, “Where are you from?”. I change my answer pretty frequently, depending on who is asking and how long I feel like talking to them. Lately I answer, "California"—really answering the question, “Where did you move from?”. Though, I never felt like I was from there—that’s one reason why I moved. Other times I answer, "Arizona"—assuming the questions was really, “Where were you born?” since I never really lived there. In fact, when I think about Arizona I think about the inside of Oma’s house and little more. Other times, when I’m feeling generous, I go through the litany of places I have lived, Ecuador, Kenya, Colorado, California—answering the question, “Where did you grow up?”. But I know that none of these answer the true question that most people are asking which inevitably follows the first question, …

“But, where is your family from?” “Oh,” I say, acting surprised, “my family is from Mexico.” This is where the interrogator is typically satisfied, they have placed me. Once in awhile, if they know anything about Mexico, they ask which part, and that’s when I laugh to myself and answer, “Arizona.”

I understand that our society has deemed these acceptable and necessary questions, but they really do tire me. I know I should have more patience with these people because they are just curious or they are trying to make a connection but I also think that most of the time they would not ask me these questions if my hair were a lighter color and my eyes blue.

I know that this country is made up of immigrants and I have no intentions of denying my heritage (I love my family) but…sigh, it’s always the same. It’s as if people are saying, “you don’t fit in, you are different, let me size up the extent of your difference.” The problem is that I don’t want to be different, I want to be unique. I want people to ask me questions about what I am interested in, what inspires me, what makes me, me.

Monday night Juan and I went to see Claudia Schmidt in concert and she recited a poem about place—how long do you have to be in one place before you are “from there.” I could really relate to that poem since in my 27 years I’ve lived in 18 houses, 11 cities and 4 countries.

I wonder if questions of identity ever go away, maybe when I become a parent, maybe when we own a house, maybe when I work in a job that I love, maybe when people no longer look at me as young. I doubt it. I suspect that these questions will always plague me. The funny thing is, the question of identity is universal this just reminds me that I am just one of 6 billion, yet the 6 billion in the world is made up of ones.