Monday, February 15, 2010

My Happy Week

In Novella Carpenter's excellent memoir, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, she quotes an old Portuguese saying that the happiest weeks in a person's life are the week after their wedding and the week after a pig goes to butcher.  S picked up our half a pastured hog on Saturday, so this has all the makings of a very good week! With that in mind, this week’s menu is unabashedly pork heavy. We haven’t been eating much pork for quite some time, so we are ready!* Besides, all that hog happiness just seems to work really well with some of the storage items I want to finish up soon – home canned pickled beets, pear sauce, the last of the frozen cranberries, potatoes that are starting to sprout, and a big 5 pound bag of coarse ground cornmeal that’s been in the freezer for a while.

Monday: Pork chops baked with sauerkraut and pear sauce, mashed potatoes, peas

Fat Tuesday: BBQ country ribs, potato and beet salad, coleslaw, corn muffins, bananas Foster

Wednesday: Salmon patties, oven fries, pickled beet coleslaw

Thursday: Bean and bacon soup, corn muffins

Friday: Tuna melts, oven fries, fruit

Saturday: Ladies Night, Erica doesn’t cook, the family eats leftover goodness

Sunday: Maple-mustard pork roast, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, delicate squash, gingerbread with pear sauce and whipped cream

I am participating in Meal Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie, along with a couple, two, three hundred other bloggers.  If you need inspiration, there is lots to be had! 
I stopped buying industrial pork a while back because of all the scary news about hormones, antibiotics, E. coli, a probable link between pork mega-farms and methicillin-resistant staph, and the incredible amounts of pollution produced by factory pork farms. As if we needed any more reasons to avoid industrial meat, the FDA recently approved a new chemical for industrial meat production, one that is very likely to remain in the meat, because it is given to the animals close to slaughter. We have local sources for local, organic, pastured beef, lamb, chicken, and eggs, but until a couple of weeks ago, our only source for pastured pork was our local food coop, and it was incredibly expensive. Then my lovely friend Josie, who keeps her ear to the ground about such things, found a farmer who raises pastured pigs. Let the happiness begin!

Other random stuff:

S and I just watched “Away We Go” on DVD, and I loved it so much. Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida wrote the screenplay, and I think Dave Eggers is, well, a genius. It is nice to watch a movie that reminds you about what’s important. I like it that the main characters are portrayed as being deeply in love, but realistically. They aren’t perfect people and they sometimes get on each others' nerves, but at the same time, they always have each others' backs. On their journey around the country, the couple gets a foretaste of what sorts of challenges life will throw at their attempts to be true to each other and to create family. Most of the other characters add up to one giant cautionary tale about just exactly what we’re all up against and all the many ways we can lose the path and forget what matters, through bad luck, selfishness, or just plain human weakness. The movie manages to be hilariously funny while still retaining its ring of truthfulness. It is affirming and hopeful – overall the perfect romantic movie for our Valentine’s weekend! Now that I’ve shamelessly built it up to the point where your expectations will be far too high to enjoy it, forget everything I’ve said and go rent it.

One of my favorite poets, Lucille Clifton, died yesterday.  I had the privilege to see her read her poetry in college.  She said that someone once asked her why her poems were so short.  She replied that she had raised six children, and that her poems were limited by the number of lines she could remember as she cared for her family and household and worked throughout the day and waited to write them down in the evening.  This is one of my favorites.  Actually, they are all amazing.  There are links to several of her poems here.

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  1. Wow, just when I think I am too busy to do anything but dishes, laundry and childcare, I am reminded that if one really wants to do something, one will. Thanks for the inspiring post, E.

  2. Yum! Bean and bacon soup!! Sounds great! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Its nice to take sometime out for yourself and watch a movie, read a book or a TV program.
    I'm always on the lookout for yummy menu choices. We're still having to watch our pennies.