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"The Magic Day"

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:12am

And so, here goes, 35 dollar worth of food, all from farmers I saw in person yesterday.

Corinna just sold 50 dozen duck eggs to a new restaurateur who is trying to buy mostly local (more on that once I get a chance to talk with him).

Chad's cows are grazing on knee-high grass and their milk is the sweetest of the year right now.

Melissa, oh dear Melissa. She's busy nursing plants and people and possibilities. I told her that when the tomato plants I bought from her two weeks ago got "hurt" in a couple frosty nights, I thought of her and how she would have swaddled them in blankets and said, "My poor babies! I'll take care of you!" And I felt more tender toward them and less mad at myself from jumping the weather gun and planting them too early.

With a mix of whole grains (quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and oat groats, brown rice, farro, and so on, most for about a buck or two a pound) and some beans, tofu (another two bucks each), nuts and seeds, and sprinkled with herbs or topped by fruit, these simple ingredients will become wraps and stir-fries and soups and omelets and puddings and breads and salads and more.

I came home yesterday to no less than three articles about the soaring food prices around the world, the riots that are happening as a result, and the harrowing forecast for mass starvation. And I just want to say to those who are trying to keep their family fed while facing rising food costs, as well as those who are trying to make a difference in the world's food supply by reducing petroleum use, eating local and eating lower on the food chain, that your efforts count.

The biggest obstacle I hear from moms about eating simply? "My picky child won't eat that stuff." Well, I have some exciting news to report. My younger daughter, although probably much less finicky than many kids, had a list of things she wouldn't touch, or had rules attached to them (no kale except in muffins and then only if there are also chocolate chips in them, for instance). I encourage her to try everything, even things she has said she doesn't like, because I told her that, suddenly one day, like magic, she will like something that she previously didn't.

"What if today is the Magic Day and you will never know it because you didn't try?" I ask, and her eyes get sort of wide yet suspicious at the same time. Yet she relucantly moves her fork toward the questionable item.

And chances are, when the Magic Day comes, she will love the food item, I tell her. It has happened to me with cilantro and arugula, so I'm not making this up.

Recently, she has scratched the following items off her "I don't eat" list: okra, onions, tofu and bananas (what she had against them, I don't really know!) Two weeks ago was the onions. Two nights ago was the tofu. Last night, she even ate something that Corinna called the nebulous "braising mix," which included bolted napa, two types of kale, Swiss chard and mustard greens. My older daughter and I almost fell off our chairs.

So, hang in there. Keep trying. Keep serving things. Keep encouraging kids to try and try again.

And if you have been considering this, now is a perfect time to plant a garden. And when you get to harvesting, remember your local food bank. Many gardeners participate in Plant a Row for the Hungry. The food banks are low, low, low on food and if you have abundance, it's a great way to share.
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