Posted by annmcolford

About Me and My Food

I’m a single, f-f-f-fifty-something white woman from the suburbs of Boston who has lived in Spokane, Washington, for the better part of the last 19 years. I’ve also spent significant time living in coastal New Hampshire (1980s) and Portland, Maine (mid-late 1990s), and I still harbor the desire to be bicoastal someday. My bachelor’s degree is in accounting, and I spent 20 years working in accounting and information systems before returning to grad school (University of Southern Maine) in my late 30s and getting a master’s in American (and New England) Studies. Since then I’ve been a writer and editor, primarily with The Pacific Northwest Inlander, the alternative newsweekly here in Spokane. I left my most recent position there (associate editor and food editor) in September 2009 to return to self-employment; I’m still doing some editing for the Inlander behind the scenes, but my writing energy at the moment is going toward a couple of longer-term projects (she says cagily) — and this journal.

Because my budget has recently seen a sudden and precipitous decline, I’m not dining out nearly as much as I used to — although I still splurge occasionally, and I enjoy going out for the more budget-friendly meals (breakfast, lunch, coffee) to catch up with friends. With less money to invest in meals, I’m choosing to invest time — time to shop and time to cook meals from scratch.

During the summer, I’m part of the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program through Tolstoy Farms at the Spokane Farmers Market, so each week I split a box of locally grown organic produce with my friend Jean — and then have to figure out what to do with fennel and turnips and beet greens (not to mention carrots, onions, potatoes and a weekly head of lettuce). Through the rest of the year, I buy local or regional produce when I can; generally I buy organic, but that’s not an inviolable rule. I aim for sustainable or responsible food production — yes, I ask questions and do a lot of reading, but I also consider relationships to be a big part of sustainability.

I am an omnivore. I eat meat (although not too much, for budget reasons), fish, eggs, cheese, dairy, and just about everything else (except liver). I buy my meat from local purveyors (Huckleberry’s, Eggers Meats), doing my best to avoid products from the Scary Big Industrial Meat System. During farmers market season, I buy meat directly from local producers like Olsen Farms, Rocky Ridge and Susie David’s, along with Captain Zach’s Seafood. I haven’t yet splurged on a quarter-beef or half a hog, mainly because I don’t have a big freezer. (I did just purchase a free-range heritage turkey from a farmer friend-of-a-friend near Waterville in Central Washington; it’s currently hanging out in my friend’s freezer — the turkey, that is, not the farmer.)

I like to support our local wineries, although for budget reasons, again, I’m not likely to stock up on cases of my favorites. Still, I belong to the quarterly wine club (aka, “The Health Club”) at Robert Karl Winery (mainly to assure myself of at least two bottles of their claret each year), and the winemakers at both Whitestone and Barrister know me when I walk in the door. (It’s that relationship thing again.) On the other hand, I’m rediscovering the joys of bottles that are available for $12 or less, following the advice of wine impresario Carl Carlsteen — formerly of Rocket Market on Spokane’s South Hill and now part of the Main Market Co-op.

My general food philosophy is quality over quantity, and relationships rule; but I also try to follow the dictum: “Moderation in all things, including moderation.”

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