Anyone else like to eat? If you’re like me, you put a particular amount of attention into choosing, preparing and enjoying your food. There’s nothing like the deep-fried foie gras from Au Pied du Cochon in Montreal, or a perfect taco purchased on the streets of Mexico City. And do not get me started on the great abundance of fantastic local foods at the East Lansing Farmers’ Market.
But let’s be honest; we don’t always have the time to find the perfect eats. And in Michigan we don’t run out to the backyard in January to clip off some fresh coriander. We here in the great-white-north have the option of going into a megamart and getting our vegetables from the huge mounds in the produce department — or we can go without.
For most of my life, I spent little time thinking about how it is that we can walk in on 25 degree days and purchase brightly colored veggies. Then I read an article in Gourmet, written by Barry Estabrook. It was kind of a turning point for me. All of a sudden I stopped thinking tomatoes just appeared at Kroger; they are really grown and harvested somewhere.
I’d like to invite you to join me in reading Estabrook’s short account of the modern tomato industry in his book Tomatoland.
Through the month of February, we will become a little more aware of how those bright red, beautiful (winter) tomatoes come to be on our plates.
The library has plenty of copies of Tomatoland. It’s available in print, large print, ebook, eAudio, and book on disc. So, no excuses. Place a hold today. I promise it’s a short, quick read; interesting too.
If our online discussion of Tomatoland interests you and you’d like to share more in person, please join us at 6 p.m., March 11 for a showing of a food documentary at CADL Downtown Lansing.