Slow Food – Gratitude Rant #14


I had an interesting thought tonight.

As I scooped some beans, rice, and fajitas onto a little pink plastic plate and set it in front of my toddler (who was waiting eagerly with a matching pink plastic spork), I realized that that little plate of food in my hands took nearly four years — and countless hours of work — to make its way to our table.

Yup, nearly FOUR whole years.

And it all started with the refried beans…

Lindsey and I were brand new homeowners. No kids. We’d just moved onto our little One Acre Lott, and at the moment, we were on a “romantic date” at the Home Depot — looking at the seed display and picking out stuff for our first garden. We had our hands full of seed packets and were just about to head to the checkout line, when, on a whim, I reached down and picked up a packet of black bean seeds and added it to the pile.

I’d never grown black beans before (or dry beans of any kind, for that matter), but I thought: “What the heck, why not?”

Fast forward six months or so, and I have to admit, I was kinda disappointed with the meager harvest from those black beans. As I sat there looking at the little pint-jar full of beans, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was even worth all the work that went into growing ’em. (Not to mention the picking, threshing, and winnowing that went into harvesting ’em!)

Fortunately, I’m kind of a glutton for punishment, and a slow learner.

We didn’t eat a single bean from that first harvest. Instead, we planted all of them the following spring — and ended up with a bumper crop!


We’ve been propogating that same strain of black beans ever since. Hence, the refried beans.

As I sat at the table tonight, enjoying a nice dinner with the family, I couldn’t help but think about all the stories that were wrapped up in that simple meal.

I thought about that night when my little monkey and I spent a couple hours “dancing” on top of the dry beans to thresh em’
I thought of the cold February day when the two of us planted the onion seeds in recycled milk cartons.
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And then there was the Saturday morning I geared up to cut and dehydrate said onions.

I also saved all the fat scraps from our steer, Rump, and rendered ’em into tallow — which ended up in both the refried beans AND the homemade tortillas.

And then there was the Mexican rice…

…which uses homemade salsa
…and pheasant broth (made from the feet and carcasses of an entire year’s worth of hunting)

And speaking of hunting:

Tonight’s fajitas were actually made from the deer I shot this fall.
…and our bumper crop of peppers
…and, of course, more ONIONS!

And that’s just the ingredients! It doesn’t even take into account the giggles and laughter emanating from the kitchen tonight as me and my little monkey rolled out the tortillas.

(She had a heck of a good time poking “belly buttons” into the soft white dough!)

I know I talk a lot about food on this blog, but eating a meal like that, you can’t help but smile and heave a deep sigh of contentment. There’s just so much fun wrapped up into each and every bite!

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Whether it’s bottle feeding a newborn calf, or all those hunting trips with family and friends, or the cute little moments with my little monkey, or even the late nights spent canning stuff with my sweetheart — that’s what food is all about: the STORIES.

Four years’ worth of hard work. Four years’ worth of struggle. Four years’ worth of memories. Four years’ worth of fun.

Experience, togetherness, adventure, love…

THAT’s what went into tonight’s meal. (And a little bit of salt. You can’t forget the salt!)

Today, I’m very grateful for slow food.

You also might like last year’s rant:
Leftovers – Gratitude Rant #14
Cuz honestly, who doesn’t like to be thankful?!

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