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The shameful eating habits of a generational farmer (and his food-crazed wife)

October 14, 2011

If you know the Bowmans, you know that we are all about food. Food is where life begins and ends. This is a part of what has made Jason and I a great pair for a long time. He brings the lineage of actually growing the food, for generations in his family. And I bring the deep love and appreciation for the act of preparing and communing over food. We cross purposes and fit together like pb and j. Or like Abbot and Costello. Or like…you get the point. We are well-matched in our food sensibilities in that he grows it, I cook it (well, not exactly, but kinda…). We also both love a good hunt for good food. We have waited in hour-long lines for burgers (most of you reading this have too–no shame, no shame! And if you didn’t join us for the Annual Shake Shack Celebration, you should be ashamed!). We have wound down tiny streets in Shanghai in the rain for dumplings that we couldn’t order because everything was in, well, Chinese (Shanghainese, to be exact) (in case you were wondering, a woman in line behind us who spoke some English ordered for us. We trusted her. She ordered massive amounts of food. Our total bill was around $4. Always trust the lady in line behind you). We have braved flood waters to make our way to the best Taverna in Astoria just to have the celebration of grilled octopus on our tongues. The list goes on. But the funny thing is, we’re really foodie opposites. Let me illustrate:


On Wednesday, Jason and I planned to meet in the shop (Bowman Brothers) for lunch. He’d been too busy to leave for lunch, and I’d been looking for a reason to hang out with old farmers. Our phone conversation transpired. “Hmm, I have on hand hummus and pita and can make a greek salad, and also have some left-over Brazilian fish stew from last night. Will either of those work?” I hear silent hesitation over the phone. “Well,” he, with trepidation, begins, “can you just pick me up a sub from Sheetz?” If there is rage in this body of mine, it can be ignited easily over food, especially food from Sheetz. Or Burger King. Or anywhere else where food by-products are falsely advertised as “food” and are sold at a deceptively low price because we make up the rest of the cost in our health and our ability to cultivate true appreciation in our internal and external taste buds.


My spirit of anger retreats. “Sure. What’s your order?” I mask my deep irritation with palpable love. You see, it’s been a tough season for Jason at work, and with our busy schedules and my refusal to chain myself to the kitchen to cook three healthy meals a day just to ensure that Jason doesn’t eat at Sheetz, I came to an agreement with him that occasionally, occasionally, he can eat badly and I won’t complain. This was one of those times. “Ham, white sub role, American cheese, black olives, shredded lettuce, yellow mustard, and mayo. Oh, and can I have some salt and vinegar chips, and…a…Mountain Dew.” I can’t tell if I shuddered more at the Mountain Dew or the American cheese. Or the fear of what was really in the mayo. We won’t talk about it. Not that a ham samich can’t be awesome and delectable and hit a childhood sweetspot all at once; it’s just that this one can’t. It’ not real. Even if it’s made with less-than-desirable ingredients, it’s not made with love or purpose. And the Mountain Dew as an anecdote to wash the food by-products down probably doesn’t help much either. But then again, that’s just my opinion. And when it comes to food (or any abuse of power), I can get pretty passionate. But I’ll keep my opinions to myself (and maybe will share them with you. But you most likely already share them…even if we all occasionally eat crap now and again).


So I heated up my bowl of Brazilian fish stew, with sweet potatoes dug from Janet’s garden this year, and thick coconut milk, plantains, our garden tomatoes and delicious cod fish, with some rice for good measure. And I enjoyed every bite, watching Jason consume his stultifying by-product lunch. (A note from our sponsors: this post is in no way a measure of my love for my husband; it is rather a reflection of a larger issue challenging our food system and our food community; it is also an anecdotal examination of the hilariousness of difference in marriage).

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