Santa Fe summers are getting much more dry. We have not had any real moisture since late winter. Sadly the squirrels, rabbits and birds are very hungry. It is very difficult to grow any veggies this year or any perennial with a flower. Today my friend Karen and I are installing a cover for my raised bed. I am hoping that I can grow some kale and collards, which are absolutely divine freshly picked. The happy news is that our evenings are quite cool, making for a sweet restful sleep every night.
So it is time for dishes which satisfy and yet keep the kitchen cool. Just recently I attended the SouthWest Regional leader's meetings of Slow Food USA. I am pleased to be on the Executive Board of our local chapter. Our hosts served us remarkable local foods including a dish of farro and native beans. Native beans can be sourced via: www.nativeseeds.org. They sell many heirloom varieties but I particularly like the teppary or Anasazi beans in this month's dish. A new chapter is Slow Food Navajo Nation. Two representatives joined us. They are churro ranchers. Churro is the native sheep in the Navajo community. While I do not eat meat, churro is critical to the Nation providing food, clothing and income.
On another note I wanted to mark the passing of James Gandolfini. I so enjoyed and respected his body of work. Those of us who were Soprano fans noted his diminishing health, from heavy breathing to extreme facial color. I was more alarmed when I saw him in last year's Not Fade Away when the earlier signs of his condition became more pronounced. I say this not to disparage James Gandolfini, but to urge all of us to take personal responsibility for our health and lives. An interview with a leading doctor on one of yesterday's talk shows laid the blame on genes. We are, assuredly, born with the genes inherited from our parents' conditions. The genes lay in waiting, to be triggered, or not, by our choices in life. Smoking, drugs, alcohol, inappropriate sexual behavior, activity and food are the triggers that open the doors to already weakened genes. It may not be possible to escape our diminishing food and environmental qualities, but we can strengthen our conditions by making good choices and keeping the doors to weakened genes locked. It is time for our medical community to join Drs. Campbell, Esselsyn, Barnard, Lipman and MacDougall in discussing the benefits of a healthy plant based diet.