The Value of Food
The Japanese have a saying in relation to the value of food, in particular rice; remember the farmer. Akin to what our mothers said to us about starving children in Africa when trying to get us to finish our dinner, in Japan, the saying extends to everyone and has greater resonance. Seeing first hand the tiny plots of land used to grow Japanese rice and the effort in maintaining a semblance of self sufficiency on difficult and crowded islands, I now persist with my clumsy chopstick technique and try and pick up every grain. I agree, one should respect the efforts of farmers that produce our food and not waste it. On another level respect for the plants themselves may be considered. Observing the rapid growth of my zucchini plant growing in a pot on the balcony I was amazed at the seeming tenacity of this plant, literally getting a grip with little lime green tendrils, claiming its ground while rallying against buffeting winds and days of fluctuating cold and forty degree heat. I’ve helped it along with a rich potting mix and regular fertilizing and it has responded with multiple flowers and the promise of many zucchini. We’re in this together and I hope to enjoy its fruits as much as learning how to grow food in a small space. So far I’m in awe of this resilient and productive plant. Others might think otherwise; an over abundance of zucchini is often the case with larger garden plots but this can be overcome by picking early, even using some of the flowers and by cooking the zucchini in a different way to maximize consumption. Upping our daily vegetable intake is made easy if you grate zucchini, squeeze out the water and then slowly stew it in olive oil with rosemary and garlic for about 30 minutes. You can easily eat 2-3 zucchini once the water content, the bulk of this vegetable, is removed. It is great with grilled lamb cutlets or fish and ensures no zucchini need languish in the fridge to be wasted. From the grower and the resources needed to produce and transport produce to your hard earned money and effort in shopping and preparation it is worth thinking a little more and respectfully about the value of food. Perhaps its value is also inherent, in the beauty of nature’s engineering.