RHYS: Yesterday I played hooky for a day with my friends Deborah Crombie, Terry Shames and Diana Chambers. We drove north from the Bay area to the little town of Healdsburg. This used to a a small farming town, maybe a barbecue place a couple of bars, a feed store. But then the area was taken over by wineries and it's become a destination resort. A couple of lovely hotels in the town square, lots of wine tasting spots and a good selection of restaurants. The place we wanted to have lunch was full with no hope of a table any time soon so we walked around and settled on a Portuguese restaurant instead. We were so glad that we did! The atmosphere was fabulous--we were given an interesting amuse bouche, a salty shot in a glass, then we shared a tasting plate and each had a main course. I had cod cakes--very tasty. So did Debs. Diana heirloom tomato salad and Terry had the tripe--uh, not so much.
One thing that struck me, walking around Healdsburg was how very typically Northern California it was. Apparently one place had the best kale salad in the universe. The clothing stores featured natural fabrics or recycled Japanese kimonos. So expensive. So organic.
I find myself living in an organic world and I'm rather amused that this is a new concept. I grew up on organic food. My dad always had a big veggie garden. We had an acre of fruit trees. We kept chickens. My grandmother, who lived to 91, had never eaten anything from a can or that was frozen in her life. She only ate English meat and local produce. (There was a problem when she lived in Wales and asked if the tomatoes were English. We don't sell foreign food here said the sales lady). I'm all for food that is antibiotic free, raised naturally, grass fed beef, free range chickens. And my veggies that are not GM, not sprayed with lethal pesticides. If I had time and lived in one place I'd like to grow my own veggies.
But organic has become a buzzword, especially here in Norcal. Local ladies go to the farmer's market with baskets on their arms and play at simple peasant women before getting back into their BMWs and Audies and delivering the produce to the help to cook. My son and daughter in law seem to have a refrigerator full of kale. They have green smoothies and cleanses. It's an interesting contrast from when I was first married. The women of an older generation who gave me recipes and advice all cooked with jello, cream of chicken soup and cool whip in almost every dish. So I'm glad we're out of that era. But I'm not a huge green kale smoothie fan either.
And now organics have taken over my bath. I love bath products but I've found they can be a little too organic. I thought that a trail of ants had come and drowned in my bath until I realized it was the lavender flowers from my bath salts. And the organic oatmeal soak? Trying not to be too gross but it looked as if someone had vomited into my tub.
Our family motto is Inter Utrumque Tene. Steer a middle course. This will continue to be my motto. Grass fed where possible, local produce too but I draw the line at the kale.
How about you? Is organic important to you? Are you into the green smoothies or ice cream? Fries or roasted kale?