Commentary by Terry Anker
Food – we eat it every day and yet most of us know precious little about it. In my younger years, we grew and maintained a garden. Actually, it was a reasonably sizeable one.
My city girl bride was charmed by the notion of harvesting our own fruits and vegetables. We ate all we could and would often preserve by canning the rest. Through the years, we became most pleased with our salsa. It was tangy and unique. In a day when Chi-Chi’s dominated our collective notion of it, ours was a something, as Monty Python’s troop might say, entirely different.
But as with many good things, life got in the way. Spraying and fertilizing a pair of juvenile apple trees to make a tasty applesauce gave way to the lure of a quick pop of the lid of the Gerber baby food jar to feed our hungry young ones. Convenience overwhelmed good intentions. Family held onto the old ways as mom continued to make homemade applesauce long after we’d given up the pressure cooker. But eventually, we all came to accept store-bought as a fixture of our modern and more urban lives.
It is rightly said, “All things old are new again.” Earlier this year, I was encouraged to join a young, and way-more-hip, friend to take a class on canning. Deciding simple best, I stuck with pickled green beans – perfect for a game-day Bloody Mary. The result was sublime – not that the outcome was remarkable, but I was reminded of the connection between our food and us. Our Hoosier State is rife with innovation in agriculture. Today, tall buildings house indoor vertical farms, and plants grow with innate insect resistance. Maybe it is time to learn a bit more. Maybe, it is time to plant again.