Mama's Cookpot

I recently moved out of the apartment I’ve shared with two of my best friends for three years. It was a bittersweet moment, as I am excited to move into a new chapter in my life, but I’m going to miss the living room where the girls and I spent many late nights having life-chats and movie-thons. I’m also going to miss my little kitchen.
Much like my mother, I express my love for others by feeding them. Meals, baked goods, all that. If you get food from me, it means I love you.
I cooked lots of meals for the girls in that little kitchen using a cookpot that belonged to Riley. When she moved into her own place, she got new cookware, and told Kyra and I we could have the few frying pans and such that’d she’d left behind.
I’m fixin to (that’s a southern saying, y’all, sorry) put together a wedding registry, so I left most of the pans to Kyra, except for that one little cookpot. I was suddenly very sentimental about it as I thought about leaving it behind.
It’s just the perfect size for cooking for 3-6 people, or 1-2 of you if you don’t mind having a lot of leftovers.
As my brother was helping me pack, I showed him the cookpot.
“This is my favorite one.” I told him.
He laughed, and said, “It doesn’t have quite as much...character... as mom’s favorite pot.”
I laughed too.
Mom’s favorite pot is an old gray and brown metal thing (I think the brown is what’s left of the original finish) with a slightly banged up rim and one missing handle.
I don’t remember a time when that pot had both handles, honestly. I keep expecting the other handle to fall off and cause the pot’s retirement, but it has continued to stubbornly hang on.
It is literally “the” pot at our house. Mom cooks everything in it, spaghetti, goulash, stew, chili, potato soup, beef and noodles, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese...those are just my favorite dishes.
Dad even tried to buy her a new one, a nice ceramic red one with a pyrex lid...but it’s just not the same.
A large portion of my childhood was spent peeling potatoes into that pot, washing it, or lazily leaving the leftovers in it and then just sticking it in the fridge, which causes Mom to frantically search for it and then exasperatedly throw the food in a tupperware (*cough cough* old butter tub) and hurriedly wash it as she needs to cook tonight’s supper in it like, right now.
I cracked my coffee pot carafe yesterday because I accidentally left it on the warmer for two days. I was epically disappointed and wanted to cuss about how “Things don’t last as long as they used to!” but I guess it’s unrealistic to ask pyrex to defy the laws of physics…
However, I hope that pot of mom’s never cracks or breaks- I swear I’m going to bury her with it...along with a bag of Resins and a Diet Coke.
I’ve never considered myself to be an overly material person, but it’s funny how much that stupid little one-handled pot means to me, simply because it holds so many memories.
Maybe my little college-days cookpot will last through the years and star in our family dinners and cooking lessons.
What “family heirlooms” leave a warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach?  


Putting the Food Fight in Perspective

You do not have the right to make other people’s food choices for them.

Okay, so your answer to that was probably “duh”, but I’m serious.

If your tummy is full on a regular basis; i.e. you don’t worry about having food to eat or feed to your children, because you can’t afford it or it simply doesn’t exist… then you need to shut your mouth.
Let me explain.

We, as Americans, live in a world where food is viewed as a choice.
You can choose to eat too much on a regular basis and weigh 100 pounds more than is healthy.
You can choose not to eat on a regular basis and be 100 pounds underweight.

“I don’t feel like cooking, let’s go out to dinner.”
“Okay, where should we eat?”

This is an everyday conversation that involves choices. Instead of being forced to make do with what’s in the cabinet, or to simply warm up the Pizza Rolls in the freezer, we often make the choice to spend more than a product is worth for the sake of convenience simply because we can. We have that as a choice.

I did the same thing today. I realized as I locked the back door that I’d forgotten to grab the little frozen meal I’d intended to bring as a lunch. This was not something I remembered as I pulled into the parking lot at work, or even as I got to the end of the dirt road. I was literally still standing on my doorstep. But did I walk back inside and grab my lunch out of the freezer? No. I decided I’d run to Taco Johns or something at lunch instead.
I made a choice.
Granted, that choice had a lot to do with the fact that I ate that same little frozen meal three times last week and it’s nice to step out of the office at break rather than sit at my desk to eat.
But even then… #firstworldproblems, much?

So here’s my point; you, as a consumer, have every option thinkable out there in regards to what you can choose to put in your bodies. In a country where minimum wage is $7.25 and government assistance is readily available, the average American spends about 6% of their annual income on food. Food here is cheap, and so if you want to pay a higher price for food you deem a higher quality, then you have the capacity and freedom to do so.

But you can stop cramming your so-called healthy rhetoric down other people’s throats.

You do not have the right to make other people’s food choices for them.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, you know? The more noise you make, the more your opinion is considered. In most instances, that is not a bad thing.
However, in the case of issues such as Genetically Modified crops, animal welfare and the organic vs. conventional debate, where both sides have merit and no solution is a one size fits all, it’s become a yelling match.

As agriculturalists, our livelihood depends on having a market for our products. We can’t gouge prices based on our inputs or market demand. We’re at the mercy of the public. So when false information begins to circle about our practices and who we are, we get understandably upset.

We don’t want to force anyone to buy our food if they don’t want it.
I think this goes for any producer, whether they plant GMOs or raise certified organic crops.

You, as a consumer, seem to have a different idea.
Whether you’re being intentionally malicious or are just sadly misinformed, your yelling influences the decisions of others.

In America, food is cheap, and food is plentiful. So much so, that most of what we produce is exported.
I’d have to vote that this a good thing.

However, whatever yelling you do that influences the status of food here in America, directly affects the status of food elsewhere.

Have you ever been hungry? Like really, really hungry? Like maybe you haven’t eaten in three days and it’s not because you’re sick and can’t keep anything down? No? Then shut up.

You buy your tofu and I’ll buy my steak. The fact that my steak may have, at some point in its previous life, been given an antibiotic or an implant, does not affect you. The fact that it might have been fed BT corn does not affect you. 

You do not have the right to make other people’s food choices for them.

**I had hesitated to post this until I saw this piece.
Then I realized I had a valid point.
We take a lot of things for granted, and a little perspective can help.

Thanks for listening.


Etymology in Agriculture

I’ve always been a word junkie. My mother read to me in utero and I told stories from the moment I could talk. I’ll never forget the day my mom showed me how to make letters, which she explained would eventually form words and then sentences and paragraphs. Clearly, I took that possibility and ran with it.