Kathleen Alcalá

The Clueless Eater

Mid-Winter Food

February 6, 2012

Tags: eating locally, Bainbridge island, sustainable food, local food, Abundantly Green, vegetables

Garnet yams from Abundantly Green
On January 1, we visited friends who live west of the Hood Canal Bridge. In their sunny bowl of a valley, vegetables were still growing under cold frames, and they sent us home with two week’s worth of salads and greens.

Three weeks later, several inches of snow covered western Washington, stranding us all wherever we were. No one on Bainbridge minded much. The snow made everything quiet. Underneath, the plants got a chance to reset, begin again. For now, they are dreaming greenly, nurturing their little buds, waiting for the right amount of heat and light to bring them back from slumber.

We have slowly worked our way through our last pick-up from Abundantly Green. Marilyn and Cliff sent us home with potatoes, carrots, sun-chokes, a box of mandarin oranges, a turnip and a yam. I also shredded and canned a cabbage in apple cider, and we pretend that it is sauer kraut, eating it with sausages. It’s pretty good. There are two bags of green beans still in the freezer, blanched and frozen last August. We had pinto beans one night, sopa de frijoles, and I have been thinking about split peas with carrots.

It has been almost a year since we began trying to eat locally. There are still a lot of things that we buy from other areas – citrus, for example, like the mandarin oranges. And we still buy cereals and rice. If we ate only from the island, someone would build an orangery, and we would walk by and peer in to see how the little potted trees were holding up. We too, could dream.
With Cowichan Elder Hyamiciate, Della (Rice) Sylvester at the The Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Indigenous Foods and Ecological Knowledge Symposium


Selected Works

Creative nonfiction, memoir, environmental sustainability.
Combining memoir, historical records, and a blueprint for sustainability, The Deepest Roots shows us how an island population can mature into responsible food stewards and reminds us that innovation, adaptation, diversity, and common sense will help us make wise decisions about our future. And along the way, we learn how food is intertwined with our present but offers a path to a better understanding of the future.
Creative Nonfiction
Essays on Family and Writing

The Desert Remembers My Name makes an important contribution to discussions of ethnicity, identity, and the literature of place.”
Bloomsbury Review
"...a mesmerizing tale... the author explores the fascinating confusions and contradictions plaguing a culture precariously poised between tradition and modernization."
"She never forgot the power of storytelling as testimony."
The Utne Reader
"Kathleen Alcalá's Spirits of the Ordinary is an enthralling book..."
–Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books

"This book entered my dreams."
–Alberto Rios
Short Fiction
"Thoroughly satisfying."
The New York Times Book Review

"By turns touching, entertaining, and surprising, and uniquely her own."
Publishers Weekly

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