Once when I was a young teenager I went to a restaurant in the West End as part of a birthday treat and had a bowl of strawberries.
Unheard of in April at that time.
I couldn’t resist and as it was my birthday treat I was allowed the extraordinarily expensive fruit. I beamed and smiled and declared them wonderful. I had learnt my lessons well. But I confess I had been strangely let down, underwhelmed at what I had eaten. There is a good reason for not eating strawberries in April they don’t taste as good. They are fruit of sunshine, not necessarily warmth but sunshine.
The famous line
To every thing there is a season,
( Ecclesiastes 3 : King James Version)
rings true throughout life and as this is an A - Z of food I will leave aside the seasons for life and death, sowing and harvesting and concentrate on food.
Humans are clever, I have remarked on this before, they are also greedy, lack self control and as each generation grows become more demanding.
We like strawberries, they tell us of summer and picnics, good life and leisure. They satisfy stomach and mind.
They are good for us!
How often can we say that of a treat?
Therefore it makes sense to eat them all the year around. Doesn’t it? Growers from across the world can now produce them out of season in greenhouses or in deserts. Transport and storage facilities can whisk them across the miles to arrive fresh as proverbial daisies. It is not just strawberries, friends of mine eat soft fruit all year around, buy mandarins every month. The shops are full of runner beans from Chile, potatoes from Egypt cabbage from . . .
The list is endless. The argument being there is never any reason not to have all these goodies which are so healthy.
For me - it feels wrong. I would dearly love to eat cherries all year around however, we can grow perfectly good cherries in this country in the summer. I do not want to buy cherries that have been flown half way around the world. I want to wait with anticipation for those few summer weeks when they taste extraordinarily good, when I can pig out with a clear conscience. I want my strawberries at the peak of their taste sensation grown in UK, the same with raspberries The summer for me is a jou=yful celebration of all fruits British. A fest as well as a feast of pure taste delight.
Oranges and mandarins taste so much better in the depth of winter, they are only seasonal for me because that is when I had them as a child. They cannot be grown over here. But I still don't want to eat them in the summer.
Runner beans grow beautifully here in the summer we are ideally suited to grow them, we have the correct warmth and rainfall,they are a summer treat. We do not use up our underground water supplies in the growing of them. I personally do not want beans out of season and flown thousands of miles.
I like anticipation, I like the passing of my life in seasons. I desire hearty stews and minces, roast potatoes and warming soups in the cold, I desire fruits and salads in the heat. I want mince pies at Christmas and hot cross buns at Easter. I loathe seeing Easter eggs for sale in January and mince pies for sale in October. Travelling through the year coming to each season, month or even day of the year can be looked forward too in almost childlike shivery excitement, can become rare treats. To have everything when we want it is not good for us however much it feels that it is.
A time and place for all foods.
Are they better for you if eaten in the correct season, in the correct climate. There is plenty of argument on both sides of the question, as there is on organic and free range farming. With very little compromise between the opposing sides.
To me it feels intrinsically right to follow the seasons in my food as much as possible, I add that last because it would be completely foolish to deprive myself of essential nutrients in the case of a long hard winter. And I am not perfect, nor can I always resist the narrow path of principle.
A flawed human, moi:)
There are hundreds more blogs in this challenge - pop over and see, you may make new friends, discover new interests.