Thursday, June 20, 2013

Liebster Questions

There's a handful of people out in the Baltimore Blogo/Twittersphere who've been nothing but wonderful to me.  Mr. Chop over at The Baltimore Chop, Evan over at City That Breeds,  Ann Marie at Let's Give Peas a Chance, and many others.   Ann Marie is always at the ready with an inspiring quote, a great book suggestion, and of course, a delicious recipe.  She challenged me to answer the Liebster Questions (history here), which is essentially a get-to-know-other-awesome-bloggers, building-our-online-community type of thing.  So, in the interest of building upon this already bountiful community, I've agreed to answer six questions of her choosing, and then must nominate other bloggers to answer six questions of my choosing.

I'm that androgynous child in
what I promise is an elephant costume.
What is the last thing you do before you go to sleep each night?
I love to read, and the periods of my life that are darkest are often also ones where I don't make time to unwind with a book at the end of the day.  This is not an exaggeration - reading before bed keeps me calmer throughout the day.  I hold myself accountable to (at least) one book a month, regardless of the fact that I often fall asleep about three pages into my bedtime reading.

What is it that first prompted you to start blogging?
I started blogging back in 2010 when I did AmeriCorps, at my first and most beloved blog, Snooty on a Stipend. For a year, I religiously posted each week, with generally super mundane things.  Documenting my year was a super cathartic experience, and every now and then, when I'm feeling nostalgic for life in the mountains on minimum wage, I'll reread those old posts.
McAfee Knob, right outside of Salem, VA,
is one of my favorite places on this planet.
I started this blog after I had been in Baltimore for a few months and realized there was a wealth of information I would've loved to have those first few, overwhelming weeks.  A sad part of me hoped (still hopes) that perhaps someone else who moves here with no friends and no prior knowledge of the city will find this and seek solace in the fact that Baltimore is incredible, predominantly because of the incredible people that inhabit it.

Who is your favorite Disney Princess?
Am I allowed to say none?  I have issues with Disney princesses.  (#feminist)  Because Belle is bookish, I'm inclined to say Belle, but she also was suffering some severe Stockholm Syndrome, so there's that.  Ariel is insolent, Sleeping Beauty is just pretty and literally lies there.  Snow White, also, falls asleep (dies, whatever), and has to have a man save her.  Even Merida from Brave is rude to her mother.  If forced to choose, I guess Jasmine's pretty sweet, or Tiana.

When you're cooking for a special occasion, what's your go-to meal?
If I'm cooking for a crowd, then black bean chili.  It's vegan and gluten free, therefore accommodating to various diets, and made predominantly of things already in my pantry.  If I'm trying to impress someone, probably paella.  I've recently been practicing my omelet skills though, and breakfast can always be considered a special occasion. 

What is your favorite pump-up song?
This is something that changes regularly, but right now my pump-up song of choice is the opener of my Spotify playlist called "Clean Your Damn Apartment."  Ever since that GIRLS episode where Hannah and Elijah are at the club, dancing their coked-up hearts out, Icona Pop's "I Love It" has been my pump-up song.  It is great for helping one clean an apartment, or pack up an apartment, or likely for exercise, should you be the type of person who's into that kind of thing.

What TV show do you wish never got cancelled?
I LOVE some Frasier.  I don't care that it makes me square, I honestly don't.  Frasier was a great show full of great scenes and lines.  "Hail Corkmaster, the master of the cork.  He knows which wine goes with fish or pork."  
(Also on this list: Wishbone, 30 Rock, Arrested Development)

I'm going to challenge....
The Chop over at The Baltimore Chop  (I can hear you saying "No" already.  C'mon.  Peer pressure!)
My anonymous friend from undergrad over at Be Where You Are
The lovely, one and only, Charm City Cook
Wonderful Brittany from Navigating the Nuances

The six questions I have for you all are:
1. Chunky or smooth peanut butter?  Please justify your response.  It's for science.
2. What is your favorite place you've ever lived/visited?
3. What's the worst job you've ever held?
4. What were you like in 4th grade?
5. Where do you buy your groceries, and why?
6. What is your preferred brand/scent of handsoap?

Blog away!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Going Local - CSA Glory

It's been two months since I've posted - I know.  I'm sorry.  I have a list of excuses, none of which are interesting or justifiable.  But I'd like to think that merely having a list is sufficient justification.

Stock photo because I've consumed too much
of my CSA for a photo do to the quantity justice.
As spring transitions into summer, one of my favorite things is the wealth of produce variety that arises in the weekly market.  Piles of potatoes morph into stockpiles of strawberries.  First asparagus, then blueberries and peas, and the next thing you know squash is long gone and you get to enjoy colorful meals yet again.  So long, beta carotene; I'll see you in the fall.

I love the new produce in the spring.  It's what incentivized me to get out of bed and to the market last year.  This year, I can proudly say that, motivated largely by sloth, I have joined a CSA.  The idea of supporting local farmers is something I've begun to feel quite strongly about.  Not only are you helping your community, you're cutting down on your own carbon footprint by not buying strawberries from Chile in December.  I like being able to go see where my food is grown, or in some cases, where my cows and pigs pasture.  Why buy something that's traveled thousands of miles, was picked before it was ripe so it could ripen on a plane, as opposed to on the vine where that process should be happening?  It just makes less sense to me.  I'd rather pay the premium to help my local farmers and get guaranteed fresh, chemical free produce, and forgo a few meals out or a new pair of shoes.

I have been a member of the Genuine Food meat CSA since April.  Vegetarians, I know you're disappointed in me.  But you know what?  I can't eat seitan, so get off my back.  Once a month, I get 10lbs of pork and beef products, for an average of $7/lb.  $7/lb, mind you, is a steal compared to what the equivalent of organic meat from Whole Foods would cost you.  And, again, I've seen the cows.  They chill in a pasture and have a pretty awesome life.  It's a local farmer, and the cost of transporting the meat to Baltimore is far less than a grass fed cow coming to me from Argentina.  What's not to love?

My veggie CSA also started last week.  After much (some) research, I settled on One Straw Farm.  I had first heard of them back in the fall of 2011 when I went to see a screening of Cafeteria Man, and they were a member of the panel discussion that followed the film.  Charm City Cook always tweets/blogs/instagrams her love for One Straw Farm, and various friends and colleagues had only good things to say.  So from now until November, I'll enjoy 8 shares of local, organic goodness that I pick up weekly at Mill Valley General on 28th and Sisson.

So you're new to Bmore.  You should at least consider signing up for a CSA.  You're supporting your local farmers, keeping money in the community, helping the environment, and putting organic food in your system.  Everyone wins.

For a list of other CSAs in the area, please go here.