Good food.

Fitting that I'm writing this entry on Valentine's Day, because I think there's something inherently romantic and intimate about food. It is routine and it sustains life - yet can be enjoyed and relished and savored - there's the foreplay of preparations. The anticipation. Salivating as you chop and shred and slice and dice. The sounds of sizzling and steaming. The varieties of spices and seasonings. And you finally eat it and experience bliss. There's turn-taking in the rituals. Followed by content satisfaction.

We recently signed up for New Roots Organics. My brother and sister-in-law signed up for a CSA last summer and they both seemed to really enjoy it. They're comments - they loved the food and that it forced them to try new things. But it is a challenge to try to use up all of the food.

We signed up for the small ($25) bin every other week. I'd rather start slowly, and then upgrade later if we love it. So far: We love it.

I may forget a few items, but our first bin included: apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, potatoes, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, onion, bell peppers, carrots and chard.

The first night we got the bin, we used their suggested recipe - we made mashed potatoes and mixed them with steamed cabbage. We ate it with chicken.

JK doesn't care for cauliflower, so I just steamed the whole head one morning, put some freshly grated Parmesan on it and brought it to work. I actually ate it cold - there was something refreshing about it that way.

The fruit was mostly consumed by itself - when either of us was craving something sweet. One night we had pears and blue cheese for dessert. One of my favorite combos.

I snacked on a few of the carrots, but eventually used them, the bok choy (chopped) and some onion in a stir fry. I had some rice noodles and black pepper stir fry sauce on hand. Added a couple eggs for additional protein. It was tasty.

The bell peppers were used in a Thai chicken curry dish. We have finally learned to put enough red pepper flakes in it to get it spicy enough for both of us. Other ingredients included onion, bamboo shoots, coconut milk and fish sauce. We're getting this dish to the point where I'd rather have our homemade curry over jasmine rice than go out to Thai.

I finally steamed the chard a couple nights ago. It reminded me of collared greens.

We managed to eat everything in the bin and not throw anything away!

Our fruit bowl looks empty, but for now we'll keep the every other week schedule. Just two more days until our next delivery. Can't wait to see it change as the seasons/harvests change.

I'm not going to go into the economical, environmental, health and social benefits of choosing organic produce delivery. (But check out this NYT article) But from a practical point of view - it's been easy and I've eaten more (fresh!) fruits and vegetables in the last 2 weeks than I otherwise would have.

One of the best things so far has been the variety. Not to sound boring, but most of the time, when I'm at the grocery store shopping for produce - I go for the basics. The vegetables I'm used to using. So having things like chard and bok choy were good challenges. It forces us to try new things, new recipes. To learn how to prepare these things I don't usually buy.

New Roots seems like a good way to go for first-timers. There isn't a long-term commitment and they deliver it directly to you. With most CSAs you have to go pick it up at a local spot. Granted, the ones I looked into had pick up locations within walking distance to our home - but they also seemed a little more pricey. Also, their customer service has been great.

I highly recommend the experience so far and hope to write more about our experiences with it as well as post pictures of some of our dishes. Because who doesn't love some good food porn.


Remember that whole Choose Life narrated monologue in Trainspotting?

I was just thinking about how we don't really get to choose a whole lot in our lives. I mean really - we don't. We can't control everything that happens.

But we do get to choose how we react to things.

And, more importantly, we get to choose how open we are to new things. We get to choose to look around, open our eyes, open the door, say hello, click on the link, sign up, accept the offer, smile at the stranger, offer our hospitality, and take the risk.

I often think about how arbitrary certain decisions were at the time. And how they've totally, completely defined who I am today.

I often think about the parallel realities that would have been, had I chosen differently.

But I don't dwell on those things, because we have no control over them. We don't have control over anything. But, like I said, we can choose how we react.

Raise your gaze and be ready.

Intergenerationally speaking.

I never understand people who don't like to talk about their age. I'm 28. I was born in 1980. This doesn't wholly define me as a person, but it does help give you context. When I talk about being in elementary school - it was the mid-late 80's. We watched the Smurfs and Transformers. When I was in junior high, Kurt Cobain rose to fame and committed suicide. When I was in high-school, Clinton was in his 2nd term and Lewinsky was a household name.

Maybe there will be a point in my life where I will want to be perceived as younger. But I don't see why. Time keeps ticking and lying or being vague about one's age will not change reality.

I have peers who are younger than I am , and I have peers who are older than I am. Growing up, people always said, "The older you get, the less age differences matter." And this is, of course true. It's funny to think about how drastically different life felt year to year in elementary school. As curriculum shifts, so do one's interests and ability to converse on subjects. Less so in high school - but it still felt comfortable to socialize within an age range.

I think part of it is those milestones when you're younger. Learning multiplication and fractions, Reading ability, Driving, turning 18 (implications for dating, voting, etc), legal drinking age. These rites of passage.

And then you hit your mid-twenties and it all starts to blend more. You're likely working, post college. And the differences don't seem as important. One person owns and another rents. Some people have pets, others don't. Some seek further education. Some marry and start families.

When you're in school, you're very aware of who has a car. Who is drinking legally. Who can vote in their first election.

When you're post-school, it really doesn't matter. 5-10 year age gaps go unnoticed. Conversation and life experiences flow - and only little nuances reveal that gap - how old you were when you first heard a certain song, saw a movie, experienced an historic moment.

Simple reflections, but something I've thought about recently. When you seek community, you seek all community. When you want to change the world, it isn't limited to your own finite experience in this world. It's important to gain perspective. And age offers perspective.

In my upcoming mentoring experience, I'll be hearing a 9-year old's perspective on life in 2009. That's an entire lifetime post-y2k. I've been thinking about how, in my day to day activities, I don't always interact with this age range. I don't have kids. I am not a teacher. I love kids and see them often - but I don't have a chance to actually get to know them. To actually have a chance to form that relationship with them.

That was one thing I liked about babysitting and didn't like about clowning. I'd meet the coolest kids clowning, but rarely would I see them again. I learned once that a little girl had a picture of me (Butterfly) with her and kept it near her bed. She treasured this relationship, but I wasn't even aware of it until a year later when I came to clown at her next birthday party. I was this significant person in her life, and had no idea. It was sweet to learn that, but it almost made me sad.

Last night, I went to a friend's dad's birthday celebration. They recently relocated to live closer to their daughter. She's in her mid-thirties and she's awesome. And her parents are awesome. My friend invited her friends to celebrate with them. There was a good turnout and it was a ton of fun. Her parents seemed to have a blast. They were surrounded by new friends who had come out to celebrate with them.

Another friend of hers' parents also came out. I was struck by this couple. We chatted with them quite a bit. They were well dressed, in great physical shape. They live in the city. She's a former teacher and volunteers now. They've traveled and they're engaged in their community. They were very cool.

I left thinking about how much I appreciated that experience. We are a culture that loves compartmentalization. We live in our little worlds, interacting with people who look, think and act as we do. It's comfortable and we fall into a rut. When we do think of diversity, we often think of race or ethnic background. But I think age diversity is important to consider.

When we come and sit together at the same table, we are seeking the same things. We are humans seeking comfort. Seeking sustenance. Seeking fellowship. We bring our lives to the table - our hopes, dreams, adventures, regrets - our unique stories. We break bread and we laugh together. And we leave the table, every time, with a greater understanding of the human experience.

How does one keep from "growing old inside"? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people…. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are indispensable.

-Robert McAfee Brown