A Plug for the Ruminator Review
The latest issue of the terrific Ruminator Review arrived the other day and I’ve been devouring it. This issue is devoted to “Cultivation: Rural Lives, Global Issues” and contains interviews with such thinkers on the subject as Gretel Ehrlich, Verlyn Klinkenboorg, Scott Russell Sanders and Maxine Kumin. (This issue also contains a small review of a childrens’ book by yours truly.)
One of the unexpected pleasures for me of moving to this small town in Montana is how interested people are in food, in the origins of their food, and in eating close to the source of production. People eat a lot of meat here, but it’s meat that is known, that is, it’s not strange meat from the supermarket, meat that comes from who-knows-where. I was at a barbecue this weekend discussing how oddly comforting I find it to wander into Matt’s Meats, our local butcher shop, and see a pig up on the back counter, Matt himself taking a look at it before cutting it up. It’s the kind of sight that would have totally freaked out most of the people I work with in California, but I thought it was curious and interesting. The only startling thing about the dead pig was how raw his eye socket was, but of course, you don’t want any hair on your meat, and eyelashes are hair. But there it was, a nice small-ish pig, and Matt was taking the time to examine the cavity, and about to start cutting it up, it wasn’t being sped through some horror-show of a factory abbatoir being hacked at by frantic workers. This isn’t the kind of discussion you can have a lot of places, but you can here, and you’ll also get a lot of good info about buying a freezer, and about butchering and keeping wild game. Like I said, people eat a lot of meat here, but it’s meat we know.
And then there are vegetables. It’s early yet, but Deep Creek Gardens is harvesting, the Farmer’s Market is starting up, and I’m learning to like Swiss Chard because it grows really well in my garden. I’ve discovered how nice young Swiss Chard is, picked straight out of the garden, sauteed with a little garlic.
Anyhow, if you’re interested in these sort of issues that are central to the LivingSmall experiment, the Ruminator Review has some great essays, reviews of a lot of interesting books on the subject, a few of which I had to go order myself (as if I need an excuse to order more books).