American Jew is to farming as fish is to bicycle. I think I remember that one (or maybe it was screwdriver– whatever) from my SATs 30 years ago. Or perhaps Maimonides said it. Nonetheless, I will be out in the yard today building a raised bed for Alma’s Mother’s Day present, so that we can grow our own organic vegetables for all those healthy meals she prepares. Remembering the great Pinewood Derby humiliation of 1975, I went with the pre-fab set, no hole-drilling required. Still.
I started out as a big skeptic of organics, hesitating at doubling our food bill and having turned out just fine growing up eating conventional foods. But the more I have read, the more I see its not just that some regular food is full of things you don’t want to eat, but that organics, and even non-certified but thoughtfully raised food, have more of what you do want to eat. So growing our own actually seems like a good, perhaps cost-effective idea. And, I learned long ago that I am really bad at coming up with my own ideas for what will make a meaningful Mother’s Day gift, so if Alma wants a garden, then garden it is.
We’re definitely not zealots about how we eat. Our diet (at least mine and the kids’) includes some garbage, but by actively including more of the good stuff on the margins, we hope to improve how we eat overall.
One of the things about Alma that I am most grateful for is the way she is creating great memories for our kids in our kitchen, and curating them to instill an appreciation of, and good habits around, how to take care of their bodies. They all cook with her, take pride in what they have learned and can do in the kitchen, and are very conscious of what good food is, even as they also love and partake in the food that is not so good for them.
This next step up the supply chain, from the kitchen to the garden (assuming we can actually grow something), ought to deepen that understanding, and add to the gift she will have given them through their childhood. Happy Mother’s Day, Alma Schneider! We love you.