Monday, April 5, 2010

From Farm to Yitka's Kitchen

Homemade zucchini bread.

This week, something big is happening: I will have my first day off from work (all jobs considered) in TWENTY-SEVEN DAYS. I didn't actually realize how ridiculous my schedule had gotten until I sat down today to look at my iCal, and realized, holy cow...I've been swamped. I'm working full time at REI, tutoring four students, proctoring the occasional SAT at local high schools, cleaning Vera once a week (in exchange for free training sessions), and doing some writing here and there. Though not much blogging, apparently...

I'm pooped. It's exacerbated by the fact that I'm battling some severe bruising (Metatarsals? Bone bruise? Not quite sure...) on my right foot...I didn't even hurt it while running, but it's kept me sidelined from my passion for three weeks and counting now. Bummer. After writing an article on the Eugene Marathon, I registered for it this spring...but it's less than a month away now, and I'm pretty sure my injury's left me in no place to run it. Needless to say, the lack of running during this rather hectic stretch in my life has left me a little stir-crazy.

Nevertheless, I'm determined as ever to always carve out the requisite relaxation time. There definitely hasn't been enough of it lately, but I *have* done some nice bonus activities here and there. I finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal Vegetable Miracle", about her family's decision to live on a farm and eat only locally grown food for a whole year. It's a wonderful book - funny, enthralling, poetic, inspiring, poignant all - and one that's been on my reading list since Seyeon and I went down to Austin, Texas about a year and a half ago and I saw it on the bookshelf of the delightful folks from with whom we stayed. That week in Austin was one of blissful vacation in the midst of the only time in my life that I've been even busier and more stressed out than I am now, in the middle of my final semester at Oberlin and 5K-race organization effort. The book went on my "Things I Want to Do/Read When I Have a Life Again" List.

So, having finally read it, I felt (as I'm sure most of its readers have/do/will) inspired to get more in touch with the world of local agriculture. It's kind of scary how out of touch the modern, industrial grocery store has made us with the very thing that sustains us in this world, let alone how much less flavorful and nutrient-rich our typical grocery store fare is today than it was years ago. And all the waste that's involved with shipping food halfway around the world just so we can eat strawberries in January...anyway. A great read that definitely reinforced my desire not only to build my food knowledge but also to work on honing my cooking skills. My first step was to sign up for a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) share: a box every other week of fresh, organic produce from a local farm.

My first box!

I did this for awhile with my housemates the summer I lived in Oberlin, but that was back when I was still intimidated by unfamiliar vegetables - so I feel like the CSA was of little use to me back then. But now I'm all about experimenting and learning in the kitchen, so the prospect of a box of new ingredients to explore - or just familiar ones that I don't go out of my way to buy at the grocery store. Like, in the case of this week...zucchini! Hence the tasty loaf at the top of this entry.

Bonus: Chloe gets a boat to play in after I've unloaded all the produce into my fridge.

Other triumphs in the past week:
- Alan bought his own truck, and thus will be able to be home much more often soon!
- I hosted a girls' night/dinner party a couple evenings ago...delightful.
- I bought plane tickets to Cleveland this spring. So excited to see old friends!
- Also finished reading Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood." Excellent read.
- I played Wii for the first time at Easter at Gale's house (where I also spent Thanksgiving...hooray for Gale's family's sponsorship of orphan holidays) and failed at pretty much everything except WiiFit Hula which I was a "Calorie Incinerator." Awesome.
- I got my first pieces of non-footwear REI gear: my very own packable, 2-person tent and a cozy sleeping bag.

And Chloe approves.


  1. All this sounds awesome, Yitka, and the bread looks delicious! Can't wait to catch up tomorrow!

  2. That bread looks awesome, that produce looks awesome.