sábado, 5 de dezembro de 2020

Version 2.215

A few months before the pandemic, on January 3, to be exact, Jim Sollisch wrote a piece in the Washington Post exalting the act of shopping for groceries every day. And when he said every day, he meant deciding what to cook after visiting the grocery store, nay, grocery stores, for the author spoke highly of curating our grocery shopping experience at different venues daily. I often think of him during the pandemic and how often he shops now, not that I know whether he changed his habits any.

He does have a point that we should acquire produce from different supply chains, just because that would vary the types of soils that the vegetables came from, which also varies the types of microbes that may make it into our gut, as well as the concentration of nutrients. For example, a study of foraging people in Africa shows that they have guts with a lot more biodiversity than urban people, actually completely different guts. And they do not have diseases like Crohn's disease, despite having bacteria in their guts that we usually associate with it in Western societies. Of course, unless we move to this particular tribe and lead the same lifestyle, we're never going to get to that level, but let not best be the enemy of good.

I am a creature of habit at the grocery store and often end up buying the same thing over and over, but with my food intolerances, I have had to change my ways. With the pandemic, I shop more sporadically and I have not picked up or requested delivery of groceries, but, less than two weeks ago, I signed up for a mail delivery service of vegetables, the Misfits Market, which is similar to what, in Portugal, is Fruta Feia, but it is delivered by mail. When I was in Houston, I received produce via another service, which had its own delivery service, which dropped a thermic bag at my door with the goods. The Misfits Market box costs me less than $30, which I think is rather reasonable, but there are more expensive options.

There are a couple of ways to choose the service: one can select which vegetables we would like to be delivered or we can let the company decide what to send. I pick the latter for the simple reason that I want to be surprised and I want to try foods that I have never tried before. Except for okra, as I do not like it that much, but, if push comes to shove and I am ever in the possesion of a handful of this slimy fruit, I have a plan -- chicken gumbo, gluten-free roux, of course. Chicken is the only gumbo I know how to make because I learned the recipe at New Orleans Cooking School in 1999, right before Y2K. On Saturday, my first box came and it included broccoli romanesco. I was surprised that I knew the name, despite it being so rare to find. Needless to say that I had never bought it.

Before the pandemic, the epitome of a good life was to amass experiences: plan and do things. Now, we are limited in the experiences that are available to us, since we cannot travel and we must avoid each other or, at the very least, limit our contact with others. And I surmise that this will go on until next summer at least. But I am thankful that people are more willing to wear a mask when they are in close proximity of others. And I am also grateful for having a way of trying new foods at home.

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