We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time. ~T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

07 February 2012

Little Box of Delights

I find myself looking forward to Tuesday mornings,  my organic veggie box delivery day. The box is usually sat outside my door waiting for me, like one never-ending Christmas present. The driver starts deliveries at 6am so its often here before I wake up, but today it was late. It is very cold and things are frozen, slowing everybody down. Using a box scheme has been a wonderful way to shift how we eat and our perspective on food. We now eat in sync with the seasons, eat  more organic and perhaps most importantly, support local farmers. Having been a vegetarian for something like 14 years or so, I had never (knowingly) eaten Celeriac prior to having this box delivery [embarrassed smile].. Its a fairly common British vegetable, rather gnarly and brainy looking, but apparently originated in the Mediterranean basin. Since its part of the celery family- which I have never been a fan of, it doesn't surprise me that I never encountered it before now. I am now using celery more in soups these days and Celeriac chips dipped into baked Camembert is heavenly.
The lovely Celeriac
    Having children on the autistic spectrum, eating can be a stressful and troublesome daily event. Thankfully my kids aren't that rigid in their ways, but given the choice would exist on cereal, yogurt and ice lollies--in that order--- breakfast, lunch and dinner. Butternut squash goes down a treat blended in soup, but not so much roasted in chunks. My son was introduced to Thai food at age two (when we still lived in Chicago and had three lovely restaurants within a few blocks of our house) and still has a decent tolerance for spices, and tofu- which surprises everyone! Now its more Indian based curries, that are his favourites. My daughter is also a fairly decent eater and using a box scheme every week has lifted us out of our vegetable rut- that's the broccoli-cauliflower-pepper rut we were in.
  Now we enjoy purple sprouted broccoli, every colour-shape-variety of cabbage, turnips, celeriac, beet root (admittedly still a challenge), leeks, mushrooms, squashes, etc. Each week a recipe is included to help you along, because obviously there's lots of folks coming out of vegetable ruts. If we were meat eaters, locally produced organic meats are also available on the scheme and we also get a dozen organic eggs each week. It gives me a chance to talk about the veggies with the kids-- they usually want to have a look in the box before they leave for school. Its teaching them about what grows around here, and when. The veg comes to us with the soil still on, and they can handle it and know this is how its meant to look. The kids often cringe and complain its dirty, but I tell them we just have to wash it off.

      This is also part of my plan to reduce supermarket consumption. We haven't been able to return to dairy milk again fully (so don't take advantage of  the local dairy farm) we still rely on soy milk, and we like our Quorn products -which means we haven't been able to make the supermarket break completely. I make the effort to visit  the local market, and topping up weekly in independent shops. Several years ago we were on the box scheme but somehow drifted away from it, and back in the states, we lived near a lovely organic farm which delivered veggies on a box scheme. It seems that now it has sunk in, its feels right on a personal and political level and I enjoy it. For children with autism, eating vegetables that have not been chemically sprayed, and that have more available nutrients is a necessity. As vegetarians where vegetables make up the bulk of our diet it is also a necessity.  Sure it does cost a little more to eat organic, but I just balance it out by tightening the budget elsewhere, because our good health is non-negotiable.


Chris D said...

I found you via Asperger's Webring.

Where in Chicago did you live? Our family is on the southside.

I count myself very blessed that my aspie did not have any sensory problems with food. We are able to do dairy and wheat--for the time being. We may have to go off gluten because my youngest has ADHD.

Nice to meet you.

Ms.Rooster said...

Hi Chris, I lived near Midway Airport 63rd & Pulaski as a child, and then moved north as an adult. I can say now my son at 13 is alot more food friendly/adventurous and not having any problems with it.