Happy Spring

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I can finally wish everyone a happy spring.  The weather is warming and there is a stiff spring wind out there tossing everything about.  My husband and I are a bit under the weather this week, trying to spare Riley, our infant, but we still have a layer of optimism with the new season.  We’ve been venturing to the library quite a lot lately and read Riley at least a healthy stack of picture books per week and I’ve been checking out as many of the new cookbooks that come in as I can.  The change of season inspires me to add some new recipes to the files.  This week I’m thumbing through, and can recommend, The New Whole Grains Cookbook by Robin Asbell, Let’s Cook Japanese Food: Everyday Recipes for Home Cooking by Amy Kaneko, My Bombay Kitchen by Niloufer Ichaporia King, Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World’s Healthiest Cuisine by Martha Rose Shulman, and The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics.

I was just reading a New York Times article this morning on the idea that what you eat probably determines how you’ll vote in an election.  Pollsters are doing what is now referred to as microtargeting and researching what cereals and beverages you purchase.  This doesn’t seem at all that eye-opening to me; it just reminds me that food and politics do absolutely go hand in hand.  Where we choose to put our money can often determine a lot about who we are and food, especially now and in our country, is so incredibly charged with such political energy.  Personally, I know that when I shop at my locally-owned food coop that the money I hand over to them each week gets distributed well into the hands of local growers, producers, and business owners.  What that means to me is that my community is supported and that in a small way I am making it easier for us, as citizens of this place, to rely on our own production and less on outside sources.  That is really only one of many ways shopping locally (and the best way is at a food coop or farmers market) makes a real difference.  Of course I don’t always think about that when I’m picking up a crisp head of lettuce or a bag of granola but it just so wonderfully happens that local normally tastes better to me.  So many points of discussion here, but one thing I sometimes ponder is how did buying food get so damned complicated and political?  This never used to be the case but now because of broad distribution, assault marketing, and the unbelievable hunger of the American people to get what they want when they want, it is subject to be analyzed by political pollsters.  Fascinating stuff here–well, atleast to me.

Here is a soup recipe for the springtime.  A really simple smooth and versatile carrot soup.

Carrot and Mint Soup

2 lbs carrots (chopped), pat of butter, one medium onion, one potato (chopped), salt, pepper, and sugar, spearmint, one quart chicken stock (or combination of stock and water), milk (optional)

Melt the butter in a soup pot until it foams.  Add the chopped vegetables, and season with salt, pepper, and pinch of sugar.  Add a sprig of mint and sweat for about 10 minutes or until tender.  Add the stock and bring to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes.  Puree the soup in a blender after you’ve added added a bit of chopped mint.  At this point you should check for seasoning, check the consistency and thickness and add a bit of milk if you wish.

Note: This soup is incredibly versatile and you can replace the mint with things like thyme or shredded ginger.