Tag Archives: mfk fisher and me

day 4

What a difference three years makes.

Last time I attempted the 100-yard diet, it got pretty ugly. Maybe because it was July, sort of an awkward month, while February in Oakland is time for spring greens and potatoes and carrots and beets AND the winter stores of winter squash and canned tomatoes haven’t run out. I haven’t had to resort to the corn cobs on the mantle, but I’m waiting until day 10 or so. Here’s what I ate for dinner.

It’s definitely easier this time because of the goat. Also I cheated last night (knew I would, though) at my friend’s house last night. But he mostly made things I could have had anyway: corn soup, salad with feta and pumpkin–except for the mind-blowing seafood thai noodles from Christine Manfield’s book Spice. Oh my god. I brought goat milk and meyer lemon sorbet for dessert. Today involved squash soup, steamed milk, carrots, apple/plum sauce with milk, fried potatoes and greens and a little rind of cheese. It’s, as they say, all good.

But now that I have the benefit of a few days hindsight, I can think of some better cleanses/stunts for people to try. Feel free to run with these:

1. Catastrophe diet. Pretend like there’s no grocery store because there’s big earthquake or tsunami. Your house is intact, but what would you eat? Most people don’t know it, but they have a shit-ton of food in the cupboard. You should really eat it, and this is a good motivator to clean out the old stuff. Just looking through my cupboards (believe me, I’ve been looking), I have: 2 quarts of dry beans, granola, pumpkin seeds, thin rice noodles, almond butter, coconut milk, dried mushrooms, all kinds of flour, powdered sugar, arepa corn stuff a friend gave me…. This is all in addition to what’s in the larder of home-made stuff like wine and pickles and canned tomatoes. Paired with vegetables out of the garden, I could really make some good food! Maybe that’s what I’ll do post-cleanse, as it’ll force me to cook at home.

2. How to Cook a Wolf diet. I love MFK Fisher. The book was written during the war years, when money was tight and people were constantly being reminded of it. She used her imagination to make it kind of fun to be cooking the same boring shit everyday (I can relate). She also diverges from food talk to talk about making soap or stuffing pin cushions with old coffee grounds. I can’t believe some blogger hasn’t gotten a book deal for following HtoCaW. I’ll probably try out a couple of the book’s recipes, like the Southern Spoon bread (with the corn), Potato Soup, and Eggs in Hell (sans bread). I just love the section where she talks about having toast for breakfast. Lots of toast, and nothing else. But have fun with it and try lots of different kinds of jam. So easy. And so cheap. Aitkins rolling in his grave, I’m sure. God I miss toast.

As a sidenote, I’m reading her diaries now and just came across a line she wrote during the Depression: “Even now I feel it–a nostalgia for the present!” I wrote a similar sentiment in Farm City, but had never read MFK’s line until now. It’s strange how going through something difficult or challenging or uncomfortable makes us feel like it’s really important. That it shapes us and makes us who we are, so later when we are comfortable, we can draw upon the hardship and feel a proud about that hardship. Humans are weird.

3. Insect diet. I know this is gross, but you can take it. I did two hours of garden bed prepping, and during that time, I encountered many, many bugs. Big huge earthworms, spiders, snails. And one of the snails was caught laying her eggs. They are lovely and white. And I thought: caviar. And took a tiny sample. Actually, quite good. I’ve already “gone there” and eaten snails, but had never thought of their eggs. Might be a delicacy soon enough.

Okay, I’m addled. Goodnight!