L74: Leftover Lettuce, Lentils and Lemons

This week is a snore in the food area. The Farmer’s Market didn’t happen because of Easter so I didn’t shop. I also am trying to coax each and every nickel into performing miracles. Maybe it is the season? Anyway, I do still have a bunch of Romaine lettuce and several pea pods from the previous week. The advantage of this fresh food is that it sure lasts longer. My lemons are also hold overs.

The plan for the rest of this week is lots of salads and to use up every bit of food in the refrigerator. I am debating about the kale and beans I made a week ago. I made so much I still have two servings. If it passes the smell test it is a go. When that is done I will be eating lentils. I learned the following recipe years ago from my Lebanese mother-in-law:
Majudarrah - Lebanese Lentils and Rice
1 cup lentils
1/2 -1 cup rice
1 medium to large onions
olive oil
salt & pepper
3 cups water (watch this, may need some more)
plain yogurt for garnish

Sweat the onions: peel and slice or dice them, then fry them slowly in some olive oil until they are golden brown. Add the lentils, water and salt and pepper; cook 15 minutes, then add the rice, cover the pot and finish cooking. I prefer a thick stew, add more water if you desire. Serve with a dollop of yogurt for each bowl. Crusty bread or pita. Serves: 4-6 Note: The image is an Indian version, close enough.

During the Reagan reign I was living on as little as I am now. During those years I fixed it every week as a staple because it was pennies per meal. Add pasta or egg noodles instead of rice, vegetables of the season to change it up. During this leftover week I will be adding whatever is left in the fridge. Since I have the bulk food I have regular lentils as well as the red and yellow.

There isn’t a lot of food excitement within me. Hey, it comes and goes. This is compounded by the new term in these propaganda times of fake titles. It is called food insecurity. We know it as poverty. I was reminded of this recently in No Impact Man’s post about how sustainability is not an option for millions of poor because the system does not support it.

One thing I've become keenly aware of is that living No Impact was entirely predicated on my privileged circumstances. The No Impact project has occasionally been criticized as bourgeois, and I get the point. Eating local is a no-brainer if you live in a rich neighborhood with the cool, local-food farmers' market nearby. Not consuming resources is no problem if a life of purchasing power has provided you with most of what you need.

As Van Jones says: "...you can’t have a sustainable economy when only 20 percent of the people can afford to pay for hybrids, solar panels, and organic cuisine, while the other 80 percent are still driving pollution-based vehicles to the same pollution-based jobs and struggling to make purchases at Wal-Mart..."

I am not poor. Even though I live on about $8K a year, I have a $4K mini-savings. The poor of this country don’t have lump sum amounts available. This is a huge difference as Barbara Ehrenreich pointed out in her book, “Nickel and Dimed - On (Not) Getting By in America.” Also, I live within walking distance from farmer's markets and other healthy food sources. I live near mass transit and nature (the beaches).

I agree with NIM, Colin Beven’s conclusion that living a life of integrity and sustainability is not enough in itself.

"We must beware of environmental solipsism," Bill McKibben once warned me.

Concentrating solely on individual action ignores the fact that there are so many others who either can't or won't live sustainably unless it is as easy as, well, falling off that log. It ignores that fact that one swimmer changing direction does a lot less good than a whole river of swimmers changing direction. And it ignores the fact that living sustainably, and reaping the rewards of that, in the form of, for example, pollution-free air, should not be available only to the privileged.

I’d like to hold this thought, especially as I approach Earth Day in a few weeks.

Flickr Lentil dish photo.(Indian style)


Raw Food Diva said...

ah yes so I am not the only one who remembers "the Reagan Reign".
god those were awful money times! Jobs were so hard to find and yep we ate lots of beans too!

katecontinued said...

This is just the time of Reagan on steroids, as Thom Hartmann says.

Chile said...

The recipe looks good. It's being low cost is just gravy! :)

katecontinued said...

I agree, chile, it still is one of my favorites.