Saturday, June 12, 2004

On Saturday mornings from May through November, the Kalamazoo farmers' market is a fun place to shop, and a great place to find things that can be found nowhere else in town. For example: Rick's allergy specialist has suggested that he avoid eating hen eggs, and substitute duck eggs if possible. These haven't been easy to find in Kalamazoo, but we finallly managed to hook up with a family that raises free-range ducks and sells the eggs at the farmers' market. We'd been told that the eggs would have a stronger flavor than hen eggs, so for our first attempt, I made duck-egg frittata with sauteed broccoli and herbs -- figured that if we didn't like the flavor, it would be covered up by the garlic scapes, chopped dill, and assorted other green stuff. As it happened, there was nothing for us to worry about. If anything, the duck omelet was less "eggy" than its chicken counterpart, as well as being firmer and more easily flippable. We'll have to try them in a less dressed-up version now; I can't wait to experience duck eggs over medium! (They do have more cholesterol than chicken eggs, so it's probably not a great idea to overdose on scrambled gamètes de canard. Good stuff, though, and well worth the experiment.)

In fact, one thing that I especially enjoy about the farmers' market is the direct experience with my food. I'm trying to avoid overeating, and paradoxically find that the more interesting the food is, the more satisfied I am with less of it. (Can anything possibly be less satisfying than fast food? It's easy to cram down two Big Macs without feeling even slightly full -- until five minutes after eating the last of it, at which point you feel like you've swallowed an anvil. I haven't made that mistake in over two decades, but still recall how easy it was to do during my undergrad years, and how much I regretted it afterwards.)

I've recently made a few concessions to minimizing weight gain and dental problems, like switching to diet soft drinks (I'm not exactly a pop addict anyway), and putting Splenda instead of sugar in my morning coffee. However, I find myself otherwise less and less willing to eat fake food. I've experimented in the past with crappy, synthetic, low-fat and low-carb snacks. On these occasions, I've experienced some intense flavor explosions, in the sense that this also involved an explosion. I don't see any of these manufactured options as contributing to either pleasurable or healthy eating. (Fergodsakes, diets that want us to give up eating fruit? I really don't think that we Americans are gaining dangerous amounts of weight because we eat too many plums or strawberries. And, as for fat-phobes: I don't think that the occasional avocado slice is what's causing us problems either.)

Of course, I'm currently sitting on my sofa typing away on my ubiquitous laptop. I'm making an effort to get more exercise as well, but if I didn't occasionally ride my bike around the neighborhood or else dance to old Stevie Wonder tunes in the living room, there'd be little need for me to lift the proverbial finger except to touch-type. Professional and other white-collar jobs are usually performed from the vantage point of the employee's butt, and some of the most draining blue-collar jobs can physically deplete a worker without providing real exercise -- and often leave insufficient time to prepare and eat healthy food.

Y'know, it's finally beginning to strike me: There's not even a sidewalk on my street. How did we let this happen? Must make time for the bike later today. I'm sure as hell not giving up my rhubarb pie!


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