Town and Country

I’ve been hanging out with a high school friend a lot this past week, and it’s been really good. Even though we’ve gone in different directions since high school graduation (more than nine years ago!), we always have a common ground. Sometimes you need to remember where you came from. Sometimes people who started in a similar place can remind you of that…

So, picture this: One night I take her “out” for dinner at Whole Foods. It’s too freaking hot in the apartment to even begin to think about cooking anything using heat, and I imagine her a meat-and-potatoes kind of girl, so I don’t attempt my usual (of late) fruit for dinner. (The truth: I don’t know if I can cook a classic “balanced” meal.) So we go to Whole Foods — I entice her by telling her about how you can get anything for $7.99 a pound. Like that’s such a steal…

She, the girl who I think is all meat-and-potatoes, flocks to the salad bar, and I, the city girl with dietary restrictions (and a crappy appetite lately), head to the hot food bar. I serve myself some meat and potatoes, and a little salad for good measure, but still, it’s becoming clear who is the meat-and-potatoes girl in this friendship. We sit outside on the patio (so calm, overlooking First Avenue in Cherry Creek, traffic whizzing by instead of the 5:00 exhaust-inhaling stop-and-go). She’s put some hard-boiled eggs on her salad, and laments that she misses the chickens she left at home (under the care of a friend of course, but nonetheless).

It is a strange contrast, that conservative country girl (one of my best friends in the world, but someone whose life is so different than mine) talking about her chickens, and how she’s left them in the coop so her friend doesn’t have to come over twice a day to let them in and out, and how they usually roam free. And we’re sitting in the dead center of my liberal world, outside the Cherry Creek Whole Foods, where Anyone With A Conscience shops because their food is Organic and Free Range, Natural, Etc. And also Expensive.

My friend says her eggs are so good, so much better than store-bought eggs. I don’t doubt her. Her hens lay more than she and her husband can eat, so they give them to friends (and sell them when the “buyers” insist on paying).

What do we know about where our food comes from? Really? We think we do all of these things (buy free-range, or organic, or natural, or whatever-they’re-calling-it-today). We pay more for this. We claim to have consciousness of our habits. But what, really, is more conscious than worrying about your hens while you’re away? We’re so disconnected from everything we use. Every. Single. Thing. We. Use…. Or eat.

…Anyway, enough of the lecture (which I need as much as anyone). Let’s all think more about where everything we buy comes from; what it would have taken to get those things (fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, bags, cars, gas, paper, etc., etc., etc.) on our own……. What would we be if everything around us weren’t from someone, somewhere else?



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2 responses to “Town and Country

  1. Mmm food!

    I know that Whole Foods. I wish Whole Foods wasn’t so frantic and consumer-y. That’s why I still love going to the mom and pop health food stores (or Vitamin Cottage which is somewhere in the middle). For some reason I expect Whole Foods to be calm and relaxing, but it’s usually the opposite. Actually worse than a regular grocery store. Weird, right? Whole Foods started in Texas and I went to some of the original locations but it’s still pretty frantic there too. However, I still love looking at the shelves bursting with items and the huge hot food bar, etc. I still think their sushi is very good.

    In fact I went to a location in Austin near my grandparents house (Grandparents Quintanilla) and I think it was the home office location because they had lots of items that they don’t usually have in the other stores like lots of clothes and just tons of…everything. It was cool. They had a rooftop playground with a slide and the whole shebang. It was surrounded by TONS of cactus. At first I was like ‘WTF…cactus?!’ and then I noted that the cactus had no prickly spines. It was a special breed of cactus without them. Nice. I’m just glad no kids got impaled by them.

    I just got back from King Soopers (who came up with that name, anyway?) since it’s right near my house and they have a decent selection of organic foods. I don’t ALWAYS buy organic–I should stress that. I know I should but I only do about 70% of the time. Or something. I love food. Food. Food. Food. Food is loooove. Actually it’s a bit of a thorn in my side but it’s good!

    Sorry for the long ranting post. I don’t think it really had a point, either.

    I’m glad you got to see your high school friend. Who is she? Do I know her?



  2. You know I completely agree. I went vegan because I realized where my meat, milk, cheese, eggs , etc. were coming from. However, being vegan is not really a complete answer. We now have concerns about veggies (spinach and tomatoes). The government doesn’t have any idea where the random outbreaks and contaminations come from and that is scary. Even buying locally is a bit of a deception. I mean, just because people live in the same area does not mean they are growing food to suit your standards. I think the best solution would be to develop relationships with individuals at the farmer’s market, you can ask questions directly. I love that!

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