Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Squeeze your own

A couple months ago, I made the best purchase I can recall in a long time: a stainless steel hand citrus squeezer for a whopping $5. In no time, I was in the habit of squeezing my own orange juice several times a week, which felt downright luxurious.

More accurately, it felt simultaneously indulgent--given that fresh-squeezed OJ is a favorite of the yuppie set-- and thrifty for exactly that same reason. It felt like I was bucking the system--like haha, see if I ever pay $4 for a glass of fresh-squeezed OJ at brunch ever again! (I use 2-3 organic oranges for a glass, which according to my calculations, is about a pound...which I paid $1.40 for today at Co-Opportunity). That being said, I do appreciate the labor involved--some serious elbow-grease is necessary. But I've come to quite enjoy this little morning ritual--both the amazingly fresh, tasty result and the squeezing process itself. There's something so satisfying about squeezing every last drop out of each orange half. I must admit I've found the whole process quite grounding and invigorating. It's like a whole new juicing world has opened up to me! Of course, an added bonus is that you save a carton or plastic bottle every time you squeeze your own. And if you aren't a failed composter like me (no negative self-talk, no negative self-talk), then you compost the rinds and are totally zero-waste!

I was recounting my recent citrus adventures to a coworker the other day, and his response was "Cool, but I would never do that because it takes too long". Well, yes, it takes a few minutes, depending on how many oranges you use. You have to wash, cut and squeeze them. It takes more planning and energy than grabbing a Naked Juice from the store. On the other hand, I know I've gained a tiny bit more of a connection to my food supply and that fleeting sense of satisfaction that settles in when you are present for a few moments, concentrating on a task. Perhaps if we had a few more moments of presence rather than convenience throughout the day, we would all be a tad more grounded.

At any rate, I'm hanging onto citrus season as long as I can. My farmer's market is still selling some wonderfully juicy blood oranges, which also make for amazing mimosas, as I discovered a couple lazy Saturdays ago. This year, I luck out because I'll be catching the citrus season again in the southern hemisphere in a couple months. Woohoo! Until then...can you juice nectarines?

Late-night breakage

Does anybody have suggestions for ways to clean up large, chunky spills with something other than paper towels? I just shattered a full bottle of salad dressing and found myself using a massive amount of paper towels. But it's 1 in the morning, and the thick dressing was all mixed in with shards of glass...I guess I could have used a rag? But what about the glass shards? To add insult to injury, it was a full bottle of Annie's Goddess Dressing (you know, nectar of the gods) that I got on sale. Boo!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Long time, no...

The other day, a friend confronted me with the question I've been dreading for a while now--why had it been 1 month since my last blog post? My answer was..."I don't know--I think it's the worms." Yes, folks, ever since the worm incident, I must confess I've lost--or rather, misplaced--my green mojo. First, a quick update about the compost bin.

A couple weeks ago, I moved into a temporary housing situation for the summer before I spend some extended time abroad. My new digs are not "worm-friendly", i.e., there is no outside area, and since the little guys had been escaping, methought locating the bin outdoors was a must. So, unsure about how many were still living, I was hoping I could give them to a more experienced composter who could integrate the ones I hadn't murdered into his/her well-balanced, thriving bin. Luckily, a friend's father knew someone who was looking for a worm bin and was ok taking it "as is". So my no-nonsense friend Heather came over one night, noticed the odd make-up of the bin ("Is there supposed to be that much newspaper in there?"), loaded it into her trunk and off the worms went. It was a bittersweet goodbye: I was relieved to have their fate out of my hands, but also guilt-ridden that I had been so irresponsible with life. Especially when that life arrived on my doorstop in a clump of dirt in a cardboard box.

I don't know why "the worm incident" has left me feeling like such a failure. Although I think I now understand what former Catholics feel when they hear "confession" or "hell" because the word "compost" suddenly causes me to question the very essence of my character. Perhaps the melodrama was heightened because several years ago I adopted a Siberian Husky, loved her mucho for a year, but ultimately realized I was in no position to have a 70-lb dog in a studio apt when I was 23 and never home. I found a good home for her yet have still been riddled with guilt ever since. I'm sure the worm incident compounded the lingering feelings of guilt about being a bad steward of life. And since then, I haven't been able to muster the enthusiasm to cheer others on in their own greening.

Maybe the problem is that I can't always be the cheerleader. A lot of the time I'm actually more like the kid who snuck out of the pep rally to go smoke and criticize "the system". Wait, I WAS that kid. And hey, I had good points to make--all that school spirit crap WAS really creepy, after all. So perhaps the point is, some days I like wearing my green, pleated skirt to chant "Go G-R-E-E-N!". Other days, I'm overwhelmed with how almost everything seems to be the opposite of the way it should be, how did we arrive at such a staggering mess, and who the hell ever thought it was a good idea to make kids go to pep rallies?