Pork, Rice, Potatoes, Apples, Onions, Nuts, Eggs.
This will be my menu from Friday for 7 days.
Just to recap, this is being done in the spirit of a fast: from excess and towards simplicity. It’s being done partly to repent (now there is an untrendy, scary word) for the ways in which I am greedy, irresponsible and ungrateful for the resources I have been given. Partly to identify, with the other 98% of the world who I am richer than and the 50% who live on $2 a day. But mostly I am doing it to create space in my overstuffed life for God’s kingdom to break in. In radically removing excess from my life for a time I expect God to challenge and speak in ways that will last longer than the next 7 weeks.
So, food. While slightly more hassley than the others, I have to confess I am not expecting this one to be the hardest. Four years of gluten and cow dairy intolerance has taught me to cook from scratch, sometimes with unorthodox ingredients and also to curb my cravings. Now, clothes and spending will be a whole other board game. The fact that I am already breaking into a cold sweat trying to work out how to get the most funky little outfits out of 7 items WITHOUT ACCESSORIES is setting off the warning bells.
But back to food. I think the important thing this week will be to not try and find ways round things but to keep the focus on simplicity and sacrifice. Jayber, (who, in the parallel universe he often inhabits, thought we were skipping the food bit. <sigh>) got a bit of a shock when I showed him the seven items. Mostly because there was no soy sauce – the only extra bits allowed are olive oil, salt and pepper. He would like to plead that in Japan soy sauce is salt but his case is still pending. This whole 7 thing may just inflate my legalistic tendancies….
For me this week is not just about the absence of variety but also about being mindful about what food we choose to buy. When we lived in Vancouver we read and thought a lot about the food we ate and where it came from. Vancouver is hippyville and it was easy to buy organic and local, swap vegetarian recipes and think about food choices as part of a community. I used to work in the Regent kitchen on Tuesdays and we would make soup for 350 people for 1 pound a bowl with local, organic ingredients, or as close as we could manage. I find it much harder here, it takes much more time and energy to find locally grown food, ironic since 78% of Northern Irish land is agricultural. But the majority of that land is of poor quality and only good for grazing, so 82% of agri-output here is livestock and livestock products. Only 18% of farms here grow crops. But apples, you say, what about those famous Armagh apples? 97% of local apple production is processed and sold outside of Northern Ireland as concentrate. It will be interesting to see just how many of my 7 I am able to find that are local and organic.
Other items of interest in Food week:
- we are hoping to have a movie night and show ‘Food Inc’.
- we will be trying to make good choices about the the provenance of the food. Local, organic and fairtrade where we can. Saturday morning we will be going to the open air market in town to stock up.
- hopefully celebrating Shabbat, Jewish Sabbath, on the following Friday evening. Ending the week with a feast and thankfulness.
I might blog once next week, I might blog five times. Who knows, it is entirely dependent on sleep and stress levels. Or maybe hunger pangs?