The first day of school for Posy today, who had a terrible, horrible, no-good morning. Her silly putty fell in her milky cereal, she choked when she tried to drink out of her water bottle, and the zip of her jacket attacked her, all before 8.30am. Luckily her day got better from there - this afternoon her new class and teacher were pronounced 'totally awesome'.
And me? Oh, the serenity! I realised today that over the whole summer I have had a total of three hours home alone, when all the girls went to a movie together. So this morning I looked around at a considerably less than pristine house, ignored it, made a cup of tea and sat down to watch Poirot. Ooh, I do love the first day of school.
On the no grocery shopping front, yesterday morning I had two appointments, three quarters of an hour apart, right near the supermarket, wholefood shop and bakery. Normally, I would have grocery shopped, but yesterday I was forced to sit in the car and read my book. Oh, the trials of my life.
I am reading Food First by Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins. I know that the production and distribution of food is a highly political enterprise, predicated on keeping power and wealth in the hands of the few. I want to eat and feed the family outside of that system, and I think this is the book to describe that system, and make me even more irritable about the state of our, erm, civilisation..
...it is a single system, supported by governments, corporations and landed elites, that is undermining food security both in our countries and the Third World. The forces in Africa, Asia and Latin America cutting people out of the production process and therefore out of consumption turn out to be the same forces that have converted the food system into one of the most tightly controlled sectors of our own economies.
Food First, prelude
The other book I am reading is a jolly dalliance in the garden - collected Independent gardening columns by Anna Pavord. Unfortunately, the issues of unsustainable globalisation and the horrible propensity for our luxuries to be paid for by other, faceless people who live far, far away, seem to follow me whatever I am reading.. here is the first February entry:
I've gone off red roses in a big way since a trip to Ecuador this time last year. Vast tracts of the country were covered in polythene tunnels filled with bushes of red roses and further vast tracts of native wildflowers were being bulldozed to prepare for yet more of this rapacious monoculture.
Production was just coming to a peak for St Valentine's Day. The compounds were guarded by blockhouses and sub-machine guns. From the barbed wire of the perimeter fence, you could see girls picking the flowers, the air in the tunnels (and outside) thick with the acrid smell of sulphur. It's burned to destroy pests and disease. It does a good job on lungs too.
The Curious Gardener, A Year in the Garden
Her pick for Valentine's Day? The tulip. Of course, in the Southern Hemisphere, our gardens are full of roses, and hopefully, so are the farmers' markets. But for true romance, take a leaf out of my neighbour's book. He texted me last night, 'Can I borrow your sledge hammer? It's my wedding anniversary..'
They are at the end of a landscaping project, and he still hadn't knocked down the other half of a brick wall which was on the end of his rather long list, and at the top of his wife's list. So that is all she asked for for their anniversary. I can hear the wall coming down as I write. So romantic.
So, to dinner. Tonight we were going to have Korma curry. I could have sworn there was a tin of coconut milk left, but no. So dinner changed to teriyaki chicken stir fry. Over the summer I borrowed a Japanese cook book from the library. I only tried one recipe, and it was brilliant: teriyaki sauce. This apparently does not come in a jar in Japan!
2T mirin (or sherry)
2T tamari (or soy sauce)
Add anything you like to this sauce. I added grated ginger and garlic.
Stir all the ingredients together. Saute your meat with a little oil. Remove from pan. Pour in the sauce and bring to the boil. Let it reduce a little, return meat to pan, and coat. If you want to turn this into stir fry, add vegies (that is the broccoli, beans and spinach used up), and a little water to stretch the sauce. If you want to thicken the sauce, mix a half teaspoon of corn flour with a spoonful of water and tip into the pan. Add more half teaspoons of cornflour until the desired consistency is reached. Never tip dry cornflour into hot liquid or you will get lumps!
This is delicious and divine, and even certain children who were completely wedded to the idea of Korma curry and naan, were convinced that this was an acceptable substitute.