Green Eggs and Ham: a resolution.

There are a host of us who have been accused of having a Peter Pan complex out there, and we're sensitive. The inference that we might be acting childishly, or clinging to childish things is one that some of us generally avoid. 'Why even go there?', we might ask? 'What good would it do in the end?'

So - trust me - I am not turning my back on my fellow victims of Peter Pan complex accuse, when I say that my resolution this year is to have more Green Eggs and Ham.

This is a reference to Kale (the vegetable) more than it is to Dr. Suess. It describes a context in which things are cooked. Namely that they are cooked in a rural kitchen, all at one time, all in one pan.

Let me explain...

Eggs and ham infer a rural setting. Eggs are a food readily available to farming communities in a time when families generally kept their own chickens. A setting similar to that which Dr. Suess (who lived in rural Springfield, MA in the early part of the 20th century) would have grown up in.

Ham is a cured meat, and would have been more reliable during lean times such as would have been the case around World War I, or in times when other meat sources were more scarce.

But where's the green coming from?

Again, we can de-construct this from the context. His mother, in a fashion consistent to working class families in that part of the country at that time, would have been cooking meals over a wood stove, which has one rectangular surface for cooking on.

Because of the limitations of space on that kind of a cooking surface, a common strategy employed for cooking in that kind of environment is to simultaneously cook a variety of foods in one big pan.

In the winter time (people were still eating according to season then) kale and other greens would have been one of the only solid sources of important vitamins. But kids, and their finicky appetites, have not changed much in the past several generations: they have never liked eating their greens. In fact, at that time, there was a whole cartoon marketing campaign (Popeye) for spinach in the hopes that kids would catch on.

The parents were eating their greens because it was part of a staple diet. But on a child's plate, the greens might have been left off (hence that the story only being about Eggs and Ham). But it was too late. Spinach, Kale and other leafy greens often bleed their color out - turning everything in the pan green. So even though the greens were not on the plate, they had left their mark in the green tint of everything else.

"Wait! Do not judge hastily! The food is not yet ruined!", seem to be the messages of the book. The yucky taste of the greens almost universally despised by children does not typically bleed, as it's color has, to the other food. In other words, the coast is clear. Please continue to eat, and ignore the unfortunate green hue, as it means nothing about the flavor.

Long story short, when I say I want to eat Green Eggs and Ham more, what I mean to say is that I want to cook good food on a stove that I have to feed with wood. I want to have the economy in the way I do things conserve heat, space, and water. I want the different nutrients in my life to mingle with one another, and yet have their own autonomy. I want to work smarter, and have the bulk of the energy it takes to do something be spent creatively combining food and spices, and less on cleaning up afterwards. And I want my economy to be more local. I want to know (and if possible have fed) the chickens who provide me with eggs. I want to grow, harvest and cook organic food and use it to nourish my life. I want these to be my goals for the new year.

As a funny aside (completely off topic) Dr. Suess was married to a woman (whom he later divorced) who seems to look an awful lot like the grinch...