Purple Polenta

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Polenta is one of my favorite comfort foods. And I’m sick. And tonight was supposed to be Snowmageddon 2013 (although that remains to be seen). So, it seemed only natural… It’s just that, well, purple polenta doesn’t look natural. But that’s what you get when you make polenta with blue cornmeal, which is all I had tonight when I got my craving. I’m not sure it was any good. My taste buds can’t be trusted right now.

Happy Birthday

Today marks the 5th birthday of this blog! In honor of the occasion (and because I’ve been cleaning out my desk drawers), I’m giving away five Oklavore bumper stickers. If you want one, send your mailing address to: tricia [at] oklavore [dot] com.

Search terms that have resulted in visits to oklavore.com:
chicken fat = 1,295
heart vector = 470 (graphic artists, I presume)
pickled eggs = 74
Craigslist magic = 4
beer goddess tricia = 1
oklavore

Icebox Insight, Round 2

Round 1 (2009)

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Burned-out hobby farmer in Georgia | Household: 1, while husband was deployed | Item of note: The top shelf holds a 2-liter bottle of oil for frying fish.
fridge
Stay-at-home mom in Del Valle, Texas | Household: 4 |”The veggie drawer is full of spinach that I promise to eat. My fridge looks healthier than from the first time.” | Item of note: Since there’s no nearby grocery store, they freeze milk in 2-liter bottles. A full freezer is more efficient, and there’s always milk on hand.
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Outdoors enthusiast in Oklahoma City | Household: 1 human, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 1 rat | Item of note: More roasted pumpkin?!
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New York City locavores | Poet/professor and communications associate | Household: 2 | Before Christmas vacation
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Same as above, after Christmas vacation | Item of note: “The bowl [in the freezer] is a sad story. I made stock on Thanksgiving and poured it into a mason jar. … I put it in the freezer thinking it wouldn’t break without a lid, but I was wrong. I never got around to dealing with it, so when we went to Oklahoma for Christmas I sat the whole frozen/broken thing in the bowl in case the freezer quit. The good news: I saved the stock in the end since the glass broke in big pieces!”
food exhibitionist
Copy editor in Oklahoma City | 1-person household | Item of note: That’s a basket of fava beans from Peak Oil Hausfrau.

If this has merely whetted your appetite, check out this Fridge Fetish group on Flickr.
And here’s an artistic alternative to refrigerators, based on the designer’s oral history research in traditional food storage.

Some thoughts I had while compiling this post:

Why do I care about refrigerator contents? Do I care about refrigerator contents? Still pondering this.

A potentially interesting photographic commentary could be created by juxtaposing contents of refrigerators and medicine cabinets. It might illustrate what Michael Pollan stated in his 2008 letter to the presidential candidates: “Spending on health care has risen from 5 percent of national income in 1960 to 16 percent today … Spending on food has fallen by a comparable amount — from 18 percent of household income to less than 10 percent.”

Oh! What about a refrigerator component in online dating? You pick the most appealing refrigerator contents and see who is behind the refrigerator door. That sounds very fun. I think a clean refrigerator with diverse foodstuffs would definitely garner points. I’ve never given this much thought until just now, but I might be on to something.

A New Year Poem

To those who bravely till the ground
And those who make the wheels go ’round
To those who dig the coal and shale
To those who succeed and those who fail
To weak or strong, this word of cheer:
We wish you all a good new year
—author unknown, heard in late December 2010 on “Thistle and Shamrock”

winter hike
The sun sets on the Wichita Mountains, Dec. 26, 2011.

Decokrating

After growing okra for the first time last year, I saved some whole pods for funky indoor decorations. A couple of weeks ago, I pulled out those pods to replace them with fresh ones from this summer’s garden. However, I liked the looks of the papery, old pods — all splayed out after I collected the seeds — so I decided to keep some of them around. (Jeez, this is venturing into agrarian erotica.)  The look probably won’t appeal to everyone, but I think it works with my eclectic style. What do you think?
okra seedsdry okra pods
decOKRAtion
decOKRAtion
An arrangement I took to the Oklahoma Food Co-op Hootenanny: sunflowers, okra pods, Malabar spinach tendrils.

Winter’s Equivalent

Happy March! Spring is coming. And that has me thinking of lightning bugs, the coming summer, sweat, and easy, pretty meals comprised of fresh, whole foods.
Here’s what I’m talking about:

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June 9, 2010; July 19, 2009

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June 24, 2009

I was thinking about how these kinds of meals are my favorite. So, I put together winter’s equivalent. I’m sure a much better job could be done, but given that I don’t have a winter garden, I was pleased with the flavors and colors. And also glad I wasn’t very hungry.
What would be on your plate? Maybe a boiled egg and some fermented turnips? Pickles and bread?

Winter's equivalent
February 18, 2011
Christian Cheese cowboy cheddar, dried tomatoes from Mediterranean Deli, radish and arugula sprouts from my kitchen

A New Kitchen

If you’re particularly observant, you might start noticing a change in scenery in the photos around here. Although it feels like forever ago, it’s been about a month since I moved out of the house I shared with my husband.
I’m getting acquainted with my new kitchen. I had my doubts at first because of the miniature refrigerator and fewer cabinets. I just didn’t know how to cope with such a tiny fridge — I think I channeled my anxiety into fretting about food storage. But all my stuff fit and the fridge is working out perfectly. Some awesome friends (thanks Stephanie and Doug!) gave me a chest freezer and I have plenty of space for my frozen animal parts, jars of chicken fat, garden excess, and tubs of beef stock.
Of course I focus on the kitchen since that’s where I spend most of my time. I mean, that’s where I used to spend most of my time. I hope that remains true. I didn’t realize that a large part of the enjoyment I get from cooking is from cooking for someone. Part of it is very pragmatic: fewer leftovers to deal with (Last week I learned that I just can’t stomach a pound of chorizo, even if spread over an entire week.); but it’s also about sharing the pleasure of food. In time I’ll learn how to plan meals for one person, and hopefully get just as much satisfaction from feeding only myself.
I ate my first meal at the house among the mess that comes with a move: stacks of cardboard, piles of packing material, half-full abandoned boxes, a trail of chaos. I could feel a cold coming on and I was craving some hot and sour soup, which I picked up at China House on my way to spend another evening unpacking and cleaning. (Doesn’t it suck how during the times you need good food most — times of upheaval or devastation — it’s really difficult to make it a priority?) I scooted up to some precious flat surface and ate the soup. It was so satisfying: the taste; that I had found a spot to sit and eat; the realization that this place would eventually represent normalcy. After I finished the soup, I cracked open the fortune cookie and ate the pieces. I observe few superstitions and rituals, but one is that I have to eat the entire fortune cookie before I read the fortune. I should preface this next part by acknowledging that it’s much more convenient to selectively read “signs” as serendipitous, rather than mere happenstance.
Still, it was with a sigh of relief that I read the cookie’s enclosed message: A thrilling time is in your immediate future.
I typically don’t write about my personal life, and at times I’ve debated whether I should reveal such things since I’ve tried to keep my subject matter pretty narrow. But now I’m faced with this situation of my choosing. One that has already affected how I cook, what I cook, and who I am feeding, not to mention the change in scenery.
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