Hello! Ada here. I'm just returning from 3 weeks of travel. I spent about 2 in the Idaho wilderness for my honeymoon (a confusing choice for many, I know.) It was awesome, and I plan to share some of my food stories from that trip, soon. After that, I went to Boston for a marketing conference where I got to meet some amazing fellow farm marketing nerds from across the country, as well as see the likes of JANE GOODALL and Obama. Somewhere in the middle of all this, I got word that back in Texas, my four-legged companion, Missoula, suddenly died. Dogs can become our family, and she was certainly mine. With broken hearts, my husband and I finally buried her yesterday near the garden, deep below a newly planted pecan tree that I'm determined to keep alive. Afterward, I picked the one watermelon I managed to grow this summer that I knew was hiding beneath the weeds. There's a chance it's overripe, but nevertheless, I'm grateful the raccoons didn't find it while I was away.
My husband and I are devastated. I hadn't planned to share any of this on this week's recipe roundup (dog death isn't particularly appetizing), but on this first, quiet day back to work, the absence of my lazy coworker is all-consuming. I guess I owe Becky a thank you for continuously telling me to "Write whatever you want! Format these Recipe Roundups however you'd like!". This week's format? A quick exercise in letting this grief wash over me. What to cook? This week I'm all about how not-to-cook. I don't feel like cooking, but am happy to be eating. Dopamine surges, welcome.
Yesterday, on our way to HEB after picking up some sweet potato soup from my mother-in-law, we made a pit stop at McDonald's for some french fries which were delicious and tasted just like I remembered. My grocery store pickup was full of easy and mostly-prepared things: salad greens and pre-made dressings, frozen pizzas and (more, frozen) french fries, bananas, cereal, coffee, tea, and tons of sandwich stuff. Corn tortillas and shredded chedar for quesadillas which could, or could not, include blanched kale, chard, or zucchini from the freezer. Romaine, blue cheese, and walnuts for more salad. I've also got all the makings for an easy Instant pot taco soup, in case in case I grow weary of quick food and need something with a bit more depth.
When organizing my weekly cooking, I usually enjoy the process of creating a map from one night's dinner to the next day's lunch, parsing out special ingredients into thoughtful moments of delicious, nutrient-dense food. I hate to waste food and am always keeping brainstorming on what to make with those few lingering carrots or the one rogue can of chickpeas. If you're like me, you know that creative meal planning like this requires labor, and this week, I'm just not having it. I'm sure you've all had weeks, or maybe entire years, when you're just not having it. Caring so much about what I consume, and devoting so much energy into the process of growing, procuring and preparing meals, is a privilege. Hat tips to you all who, despite hard times, choose to cook with locally-grown vegetables grown by your nearby farmers.
If you're not an animal person, just take my word for it that pet grief is real grief. That being said, I know it's relative compared to the sudden loss of a close family member. It all sucks. I've made a mental note this week on the comforting power of food, from the perspective of those experiencing grief... pet or otherwise. If there is someone in your life going through a particularly sorrowful or tough period, gifting food can be more than just a gesture - it can actually provide some (momentary) comfort. (Do you know about Red Beans and Ricely Yours?) (Did you know you can actually gift VRDNT veggies?). Because I can't think of anything else, the theme of this week's roundup is food-for-grief, or comfort food, if you will. My personal version of comfort food involves lots of starch, crunch, cheese, a play of salty and sweet, and of course, french fries.
As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for supporting the farm. (No need to respond to this email, btw.) Give your pets some extra love today, and maybe even share a carrot or two. (Recipes below.)
Seasonal Recipes for Comfort
Cheesy Zucchini Lasagna (No Noodles)