Sunday, February 1, 2009
Confessions of a Blog Slacker
Whenever I return from a long hiatus from the Blogosphere, I am always filled with a renewed zest and vigor for blogging, spouting promises about how this time, this time I will update regularly. Truth be told, I am a college student, and an over-committed one at that, and sometimes my life just gets in the way of regular blog updates. And then the events I intend to blog about keep accumulating, and then I procrastinate more, simply because the size of the blog I now need to write seems to be too daunting of an undertaking for my current energy level or amount of free time. It's a vicious cycle, one that I may or may not break this time around, but I will certainly put forth a valiant effort and try. At the very least, Rachel will have something to read at work tomorrow.
All of that being said, I have, of course, had a very eventful food life over the last few months. At the end of October, I had the good fortune to be able to attend Terra Madre, a "gathering of world food communities," which took place in Torino, Italy. What. An. Experience. There were 7,000+ farmers, chefs, restaurant owners, growers, producers, vendors, students, gardeners, and other foodies from literally all over the world (I even befriended some fishermen from Iceland), gathered in one place to talk about one thing we all had in common: a passion for good, clean, and fair food. We used the facilities built for the 2006 winter Olympics that were held in Torino, so I think the conference was very appropriately referred to by some as "the Olympics of food." I could easily dedicate several hours worth of blogging to this trip alone, and hopefully I will write more about it later, but suffice it to say this was an eye-opening, life-changing experience for me. I met so many amazing people and made some incredible connections to use in the future. This trip really solidified my desire to spend the rest of my life working to improve the food system.
Slow Food IU has been making slow but steady progress this year. Last semester we didn't get much done in the way of chartering with Slow Food USA, but we did begin having regular potluck meal gatherings which have been a lot of fun. This semester we are going to continue with the potlucks (our next one is Feb 8th), and are hoping to get all of our loose ends tied up so we can get chartered before semester's end. We are also hoping to host an eat-in (think 60's style sit-in plus food) later in the semester when the weather gets nicer so we can stage it in one of IU's many wonderful green spaces (I've got my eye on Dunn Meadow right now...). In addition to that, I am hoping we can also get involved with either the Real Food Challenge or the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, two organizations I learned about at Terra Madre. The Real Food Challenge is an initiative to get 20% of the food served on college campuses to be "real" food by the year 2020, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is an organization of migrant farm workers based in Florida that fights for better treatment of migrant workers, especially those who pick produce that is sold to giant fast food chains, who are often basically slaves to these corporations. I'm really looking forward to taking Slow Food IU in a direction that is a bit more social justice-oriented, lest we acquire the elitist reputation many Slow Food convivia have (deservingly or not) received.
Much to my chagrin, I haven't been cooking much lately. I find it hard to justify cooking anything elaborate for just one person, and I am notoriously bad at eating leftovers, so I have found myself mostly either eating at work, dining out with friends, or eating cereal at my house. It hasn't been an incredibly glamorous existence, but I have eaten pretty well. I've had a lot of free time to experiment with the menu offerings at Jiffy Treet (the local ice cream store where I work, which also has a pretty extensive food menu), and recently had a great discussion with my boss about sourcing more of his products locally. I'm hoping to get grass-fed beef on the menu and perhaps a homemade, hand-pattied veggie burger made by yours truly. I'm also going to try to convince him to source his produce locally when it's in season. I'm really excited about the possibilities here, especially because he has such an open mind about it. When I haven't been eating at work, I've had some great meals out this semester. I've been frequenting Finch's Brasserie as often as I have been able to afford it (which is not as often as I'd like on an ice cream scooper's salary), and have thus far loved everything I've had there, including a Cote du Rhone wine that I am head over heels for. I've been trying to eat at locally owned establishments as much as possible (though Jimmy John's still gets a few late night calls from me), so I've also been making regular appearances at Blu Boy Cafe & Cakery for cupcakes that are a meal in and of themselves, Soma for chai lattes, vegan decadence cookies (YUM), and the cute girl that works at the counter, The Runcible Spoon for Sunday brunch (Eggs Benedict to die for), and the West side Bloomingfoods (just two blocks from my house) for the hot bar, the salad bar, the only good sushi in Bloomington, and the best chicken salad. Ever.
And that's as much of an update as I have the time and energy for right now. Hopefully you'll hear from me again soon, but for now, it's off to bed.
PS: The pic is from a street market I found while exploring Torino...