Just when you think you are doing everything right because the ankle biter inhales everything on his plate, he decides to sprout his authority one evening and say “I don’t eat green.” This coming from the mouth who has curated a fine palate for gorgonzola DOP and Cropwell Bishop Nottinghamshire blue. Don’t get me started on the olives (incidentally a briny green). But anyways, there always comes a day when anything resembling a vegetable gets pushed back. All I can do is push the plate back with a smattering of grapes (a translucent green) or blueberries or rice and soy until this green resistance (obviously aimed at Genus vegetablis) subsides.
So this week’s book, not coincidentally, is a celebration of food. Nikki McClure produces a stunning picture book about local farm fresh food sold by its growers. To Market, To Market follows a mother and her son as they shop at their local market day. They visit stalls selling apples, kale, smoked salmon, honey, blueberry turnovers, napkins and cheese. The story ends with a market feast around the home table with friends and family. The beauty of this book is two-fold. Firstly, Nikki McClure’s paper cut imagery is mesmerising. Each product on the list is showcased in one unmistakeable hue. Secondly, the provenance of each product is shared on a separate page: of how salmon is smoked and cloth napkins dyed. Each mini story ends with a gracious thank you.
Anklebiter 1 liked this book because let’s face it, he’s a closet foodie. For as far as I can remember, he does this thing where he picks food off the page, pops it in his mouth and savours it. For this story, he doesn’t understand why there is blueberry filling spilling from the turnovers or what kale is. But he certainly appreciates the ‘crunchy apples’ and the ‘goat making cheese.’ Insert fingers scooping up imaginary food.
I like it because it does bring to the forefront the slow food movement and emphasises that food doesn’t simply show up on grocery chain store shelves.There is a celebration linking people with their food (for example: here, here and here). Local is good but local doesn’t necessarily mean family-owned farms or organic. Although I am a bit weary of how local food has somehow transformed itself into ‘artisanal’. When has grown local, invest in farmers, no mangoes don’t grow year round become cult? It should be the norm and not in the hands of the elite. I refer the non-anklebiters to be inspired by David Mas Masumoto (who I heard speak so eloquently in Las Vegas of all things). Knowing where our food originates and eating with the seasons nourishes our own bodies and sustains local livelihoods. Just for awhile, farmers of green things, I’ve supporting the other colours.
[Sources: top, Getty Images, below, To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure]