Sunday, December 12, 2010

November 11, 2010 – Raw Thoughts


November 11, 2010 – Raw Thoughts
I still can’t explain the “exhile” I took to my parents’ farm two years ago. These are my roots – small town I was born, the farm I grew up in, and my family around. The first months of insomnia is now long cured. I wake up in the middle of the night, fighting my sleepiness, for a hot cup of coffee, a book or to write my journal for pure pleasure. The nice temperature allied with the silence seems to be the perfect condition to record my thoughts (rather than to reflect).
I have been thinking about going raw. The uncooking culinary, I mean. I am ready to buy a book on the internet, direct from amazon.com. I need the inspiration. Just when I was inspired for becoming “natural”, the charcuterie class took place. The current high price of beef made my father asked me to slow down on its consumption. I agreed.
My life long quest is for simplicity. Simple living. But I still couldn’t find even a definition for it. Sometimes I think that simplicity is to live like my neighbors; some other times, like the lifestyle of a waitress I had in California. Growing and eating (and sometimes selling or giving away) my organic veggies is not that simple. It is a complex task of daily chores, knowledge, trials and errors, bugs and mud.
My biggest frustration, though, is in not being able to keep my house tidy. It is always messy, disorganized, and dirty. I am not capable of starting and finishing one task from beginning to end without interruption, that sometimes lasts for days (or weeks).
My working hours are short. I wake up at 6 o’clock, fix coffee, watch the rural program for less than 30 minutes, wake up my daughter, and get ready to drive her to school. If I am straight back home without stopping at butcher’s or my cousin’s house, it will be 7:40 am, time for substancial breakfast. Soon, I need to take care of my mother, fix lunch, make a quick visit to the veggie garden/nursery, and it’s time to pick up my daughter at school, and perhaps, to run some errands in town before that. Soon after I am back home, I need to fix lunch and take care of my mom. After I put her for a nap, I am drowsy. That’s my time to go napping. Sometimes I go earlier, after my first lunch, about 10 a.m. I wake up again around 5:00 p.m. already late to work on my garden. Again, taking my mom out of bed, fixing dinner, watching soap opera, and going to bed without washing dishes. I am too tired for anything after dinner.
Just to clear up about my meals. I usually eat breakfast around 7:30 a.m., have lunch at 10:00 a.m., have another lunch at 1:00 p.m., have afternoon snack between 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., and dinner around 8:00 p.m. It’s a lot of cooking and feeding myself.
Just when I used to go on fasting, I had plenty of time for other things. Going raw may shorten my time spend if not cooking, eating. Well, it’s a big step, though. I am fearful. Of course, I don’t have to be strict raw. I could just substitute some meals and drinks. But…how can I give up my morning half liter fresh coffee? My afternoon sugary strong coffee after napping?
Simplicity is not only about food, though.
I have read books about simplifying life. They talk about uncluterring, eliminating credit cards and excess obligations. I wish I could uncluter my house. I can’t let go of any of our 5 TV sets, many mattresses, 4 refrigerators, etc I may need them sometime. On the farm, we keep everything we can for later use. But this is true. Any piece of rope can be useful, specially if at hand’s reach.
On the other side, to organize all the goods waiting to be useful is a time consuming job. My father still keeps old furniture from the time he got married (1960), surprisingly, in good condition, being used by mice and lizzards.
To use my time organizing old things will leave my present chores undone, and therefore, with more things for me to organize later.
I wanted to be like many Brazilian housewives. They scrub the stove, countertop, and the refrigerator after each use. They have time to store back all the appliances! I can’t do that. I will need it for next use shortly. It is just like making bed. Why folding comforters if they are going to be use in less than 18 hours? In my case, with the daytime nap, less than 4 or 8 hours.
My life can’t be simple with all the culinary expedition I take every day. I need all the ingredients and appliances at hand. I don’t stop fixing something for being time consuming or complicated. For instance, juicing. It seems simple, but it makes a tremendous mess afterwards. But that’s not the reason not to make it.
Sometimes I make tofu from scratch. Another messy job with lots of big pots and sticky milk. At least, it is not as messy as cow’s milk.
I was about to give up on charcuterie (making at least, not eating) after watching all those flies hovering around the hog. The nasty smell of raw meat was not the most pleasant experience. Of course, I didn’t touch the natural casings. Some even looked like raw oysters in texture and color. Oh, I didn’t touch it, but for sure, I ate it. It was divine!
I am getting into a conclusion that I am a person full of contradictions. I have voluntered at macrobiotic restaurant in Oakland, eaten at other dozen of natural food restaurants, kept vegetarian cookbooks, and at the same time, attended a charcuterie class and be a big meat eater. One of my favorite restaurants is the Brazilian barbecue/grill that serves all kinds of cuts at your table, all you can eat. Not too good one, but I have one of this restaurants just down the road, two minutes from home. Inconvenient.
My fantasy of eating healthy rarely becomes a reality. I buy brown rice, soy beans, texture soy protein, but nothing can replace that lucious place with generous aroma of white polished garlic rice, with garlic bean stew, some kind of meat, sauteed veggie, potato stew, and a big onion chicory salad. And a sweetened coffee afterwards. And a nap. And more coffee later on.
Zen like food lacks sensuality. It is so neat and controlled. It is an introverted kind of food, not inviting, not generous. It is rather a timid type of personality. Well, it is simple.
So far, natural foods seems to have this indifferent, cold quality to it. I actually have not taken much pleasure in so told natural foods I have eaten around. The vegetarian eastern style food smell strange. It may be the excess use of sesame oil, rice vinegar and sugar, besides too many ingredients mixed in one only dish. Those are the Vietnamese kind of vegetarian food.
The western type of vegetarian restaurants offer pasta and salads with creamy dressings and smells too much like oregano.
So far, the most inspiring food for me is the macrobiotic one. The dish is actually very earthy. Brown rice, brown aduki beans, brown burdock, brown carrots, some boiled collard greens, miso soup (brown, of course, even if used a white or red miso), and bancha (roasted tea). The taste of it is subtle, simple. It has some intrinsic value to it. I think it is alkaline type of food, that makes my body feels good. But I have to eat it slowly. I can’t devour it. Besides, I feel ravenous after 2 hours, wakening my animal instincts for real bloody meat. It provokes the opposite desire of what macrobiotic is all about.
Maybe one can’t eat macrobiotic food without meditation. I don’t mean sit meditation as a practice (that helps), but all-time meditation, being centered and not disturbed by the smell of fried bacon.
My fantasy is to work with holistic healing, wearing white breeze outfit with a touch of lilac, eating vegetarian, whole foods, raw things. And above all, to walk elegantly like floating on clouds, to be disciplined, organized, neat, and kind.
I read once that the greatest example of simplicity was Jesus. He was all that I described above.
Maybe I need to start a new sect. I think, Quakers, Shakers, Amish lead simple life style. I don’t think they will accept me.
I have seen on TV HareKrishnas eating veggie foods while living in a woodsy area with beautiful waterfalls (which worked as a natural washing machine). I just don’t like their incenses, smokes, and seasonings. Too Indian for my taste.
Another one of my young years idols is a singer and actress called Tania Alves. She is (or was) a hygienist, eats raw foods in a certain order to keep the intestine clean. She also owns a spa in the mountainous area of Rio State. If I had the money…

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