One of the complaints I hear most frequently from people who have formerly been members in a CSA is that they received too many items they didn’t know how to prepare. “We just didn’t know what to do with kohlrabi.” “There are only so many radishes I can eat…what am I supposed to do with all the radishes?”
I can shred just about any argument made against joining a CSA. Cost, time, convenience are just a few of the prohibitive factors people throw out for reasons why a CSA just won’t work. They all crumble in the face of facts but none so easily as the ‘I don’t know what to do with the vegetables’ argument. Perhaps this is why it’s also the argument that has traditionally driven me the craziest.
You just picked up your CSA share for the week, brought it home and unpacked it, laying out each item on the kitchen counter. There may be some items you don’t know how to prepare. There may be some items you received in abundance and the same old preparations will get old in a hurry. If only there were a tool readily at hand that you could use to connect yourself with, quite literally, a world of information regarding preparation ideas and recipes. Too bad nobody has invented such a thing yet…
If you didn’t pick up the sarcasm there here’s a hint. You’re reading this blog on the INTERNET! It takes next to zero effort to find information about anything anymore. Anything. Including (insert ‘Ta-Da!’ sound bite here) recipes. You don’t even have to use complete sentences for goodness sake! I just typed ‘Radish Recipes’ into a Google search. Know how many hits I got? 2,150,000. Two million one hundred fifty thousand!!! Obviously, some of them are repetitions. But even if you figure that’s true by a factor of one thousand you still have more radish recipes that you can go through in your entire lifetime. Did you know you can make a radish sandwich that’s delicious? Roasted radish and radish greens salad anyone? Wait, you can eat the greens? Yup!!! And we’ve only covered radishes!
I’m not even sure how to classify the spurious argument that one doesn’t know what to do with vegetables. It’s not lack of imagination or creativity. It takes none. Someone else has done that for you. It’s not lack of experience with the internet or the devices used to connect to it. My three-year old son knows how to use my wife’s iPod for goodness sake! It’s not even laziness really. I’ve had people make this argument to me while they’re searching the web on their smart phone! (Which, by the way is enough to make my head explode. How about disconnecting while you have a conversation with the real human in front of you?) I swear to you it’s happened. More than once…
I don’t know what it is. But I don’t care either. It’s ridiculous. Next to zero effort! I’ve even had the experience of looking in the fridge and typing the first three things I saw in there into a search engine. Mind you these three things, in my mind had no business being put together. Forty minutes later I had dinner on the table. It wasn’t bad either. And the internet isn’t your only friend in this venture, though it is the one that should reach up and slap you right in the face when you say you can’t come up with food preparation ideas (which are nothing more than information…that thing for which the internet is famous). Last week I took my kids to the Belfast Co-Op and on the table in the cafe was a little tri-fold card listing a recipe using local, seasonal food. Squash, Bacon and Apple Hash. Just made it for dinner. It’s awesome! All I had to do was pay attention when I was in a place that dealt with food and write something down when I saw it. In this case the name of a recipe and the internet site from whence it came.
And, if you’re like me and you really don’t necessarily care for the bloody internet and you don’t own an i-whatever the latest is, you can do what I do and look for books. Just the other day my wife and I were in Bella Books in Belfast and I came across a new local food cookbook. Sold! I haven’t yet tried anything from it but several of the recipes inside look promising.
So if you’ve been a member of a CSA and decided this problem was too insurmountable to rejoin, or if you’ve considered joining a CSA but didn’t know if you were adventurous enough to invent new recipes this post is for you. This really is not a good excuse to avoid a CSA or even local food. In this day and age you have to want to be unable to come up with a dinner plan.
Did you know you could eat the green leafy tops of carrots? Did you know you can make pesto out of parsley or sage…or for that matter carrot tops? Potato, Leek soup. Butternut Squash Bisque. Bacon on a cookie sheet in the oven instead of in a frying pan. Sauteed cucumbers. Country style ribs slow cooked in milk and dried ginger. All ideas or recipes I’ve garnered from the internet with only a few key strokes. Type away and tuck in. Local food. Eat well – be well.