This morning I started a pot of soup. The beef shanks came from a farm where the cows live on grass or hay and, during the summer at least, they spend their days outside in broad fields. The family that runs the farm has been raising and selling meat for a long time. They are all business in their farm store, perhaps even taciturn. But they are efficient, and their prices make up for any perceived grumpiness. But back to the soup…
The shanks get roasted in the oven and then left in the crock pot for a few hours to make stock (damn, I forgot to put in some onions! But there’s time for that.) Then the meat is picked off the bones, and set aside while veggies cook in the stock, and finally the meat goes back in. It’s a slow process. While I do have the capacity to whip up a quick meal – I keep organic frozen veggies handy and often take a day to make frozen entrees ahead of time – soup is just best if one takes some time.
The lush smell of it, the warmth on a single digit day, and the balance of flavors are all important, but the care that went into the making brings just at much to the table. It takes time and attention not just to make the soup, but to choose the ingredients. I’m picky about food. I want my food to be clean and grown by people who care. Some of it I grow myself because I love my garden and I do some canning and other food preservation because it saves us money. The soup is not just ingredients, it is time and labor, not just the act of making, but the labor that paid for the ingredients. How we spend our time and labor shows what we love.
And this is where it gets complicated.