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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Redneck Cheese, Mother In Law's Mustard, and a Chair Named Charlie Chaplin

I've purchased a share in a local organic farm. This means I have to find something to do with eleven pounds of organic vegetables every week. First pickup is today, and I'm expecting to put all the beets into the juicer. Funny how I never liked beets until they were juiced--or made into Ukrainian borscht. That is really yummy.

Of course Ukrainian borscht is not really do-able if you are a vegetarian. I've decided to forego the meat this summer for ethical as well as practical reasons. One: It is easy to eat vegetables in the summer. B. You don't need to cook as much,and I have neither the time nor the inclination to cook in summer. C. Maybe it makes you thinner. Did you ever see a fat vegetable?

Now there is a problem with eleven pounds of veg per week; it's a lot for one person to eat. Well, I decided (being a Socialist at heart) to approach my upstairs neighbors and suggest that if I bought the vegetables and they cooked them, we could split the dinners. It saves me the problem of cooking and them the problem of buying the veg. All of this produce is organic and it's going to be about fifty per cent cheaper than going to the market. Even I could do the math.

Well the neighbors are currently in Uganda looking at bonobo chimps, also known as the "Horniest Apes on Earth". (excepting humans?) I call them the apes that would rather Make Love than War. They are the original Party Animals. People in zoos complain about their behaviour and ask the zoos to make them stop (they don't come with a parental approval button, though they have tried literally all the others). Monique is studying aggressive behaviour in bonobos. This is like studying the popularity of McDonald's Burgers in a Hindu community, I told her. No, it seems that there is aggression in bonobo populations; else why would they need to prevent it, or apologize for it, with hot monkey love?

So they're in Africa for another week and a half. I have been catsitting for Jacques, Soleil and Luna, aka the Three Beach Balls, upstairs. The big one would make three of Gizmo; the smaller ones easily weigh fifty per cent more than she does.

But when they're back we'll have the world's smallest food co-op here. Everyone seems to think it is a good idea. Monique is a good cook with vegetables. I can do it too but would rather just keep working on my drawings...especially since I may be doing a lot more of them.

Anyway, this farm share doesn't include fruit, so I went to the market today to see what was there. Lo and behold, amidst all the imported California stuff was genuine New York state strawberries, asparagus, and apples. You have to be very careful at this particular market since a lot of people are not local farmers, just truckers selling stuff outside the supermarket venues.

But the local people are great. There are lots of Amish people selling cheese and cake and bread and honey. One boy asked me whether my bicycle was expensive. I said no, it just was a nice looking machine. Amish kids cannot ride them.

There are lots of surprises at this market...I found a Russian man selling halavah and bought a block. Halavah, when fresh, is a delight. When it is stale it is like eating a stack of old newspapers covered with sugar. This was fresh.

The Russian also had mustard in a jar with a sour-looking old babushka on the label. "What does the lettering say?" I asked. "Is strong--like mother-in law!" the man replied. I bought the mustard for the label and will see if I can scan it--it's hilarious.

Then there was the farmer selling Red Neck Cheese. This is not cheese with a poor education. The cheese rind is a reddish color since it is 'washed'. I don't know what that is, but I know that it is delicious. This was the best American cheese I've had in a great many years; quite as good as anything from Europe.

For breakfast I went to the large cheese shop that sells European cheese. They have a special breakfast with goat cheese and egg and ham on a bagel. I get it with goat cheese and tapenade instead (My own invention, and it's a lot easier to eat; they charge less as well, probably out of pity.) The chair I sat in had the name CHARLIE CHAPLIN printed boldly on the back. Next time I shall have to ask why.

Simple pleasures are geniuine ones. I'd rather mess around in the farmer's market and play with my cat than go to the multiplex to see most of the new movies today.

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