on food

The sun shines, sweaters
Come off, snow sneaks up mountains,
Quietly, grass grows.

While I spent all last week complaining about how cold it was, I totally failed to notice buds poking our along tree limbs and the fluffy white stuff receding up into the glacial Alp-tops. Today it cracked 11C (52F)!

I also found some pretty terrific haikus on the subject of Godzilla.

But that isn't what I want to talk about! I want to talk about food.

I slipped out of work a little earlier than usual today (it's totally fair: I also got there a little earlier, too ;)) to enjoy the nice weather and take a short shopping trip. I love buying food in Europe. I bought the ugliest button mushrooms (just those regular ones) ever, but do you know they tasted fantastic. The bag of potatoes I bought contains dirt. The eggs I bought are a mix of white and brown. The peppers are malformed.

No one cares what produce looks like here. It's not nearly so treated as the stuff in the US, where we have to beg people not to buy instant dinners or minute rice or whatever. People actually eat this stuff here! Who'd've thought? And actually natural food is pretty damn delicious!

When you go to a restaurant in Switzerland (I don't know which other countries it is this way), everything on the menu has an origin. True, sometimes you get things to the effect of "Pork from Switzerland or Italy or France or Germany," but in general the concept is sound.

Labels are all less cryptic. In the states we have demarcations ranging from "Organic" to "Grass-fed" to "Hormone-free," and no one has any idea what they mean (if anything). A lot of these labels don't have any formal standards associated with them, much less enforced. In Europe it's pretty fair to assume that most animals are treated reasonably (there just isn't as much money to be made in cramming them together. Subsidies and the like are much rarer here too: fields lie fallow in off-years as opposed to being pumped full of chemicals and planted crop-rotation style.), but the label "Bio" means that you needn't doubt it.

Anyway, I guess I'm going to go back to my laundry and cooking. I'm in the midst of preparing cabbage and potatoes (no corned beef, alas) for my St. Patty's lunch tomorrow. Mmmmmmmmmmm, tradition.

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