Friday, February 11, 2011

To Travel Again and Some GREAT IDEAS

I really want to get on the travel and trek bus again but I have to work on the economics of it!!!! But I have had some great ideas this week. Fortunately, when you look at the source of some of the foods and beverages that we import because they just are not going to be grown in Chicago are grown in some amazing places. So my ideas for trekking and tasting trips are:
1)Ethiopia - To trek in the Simien mountains, to check out Lalibela and the churches that are built into the ground and then to go to the farm where Ipsento, Coffee Ambassadors source their beans. I think it would be really interesting to meet the farmers, see how they live and see how coffee is picked and harvested.

2)Darjeeling - Darjeeling is to tea, the way Rheims is to Champagne. Kachengjunga is the third highest peak in the world, so it would be great to do a trek to Kachengjunga's basecamp, then to go to Darjeeling and visit the specific farms where Ineeku tea is grown. Little did I realize tea is grown from a specific type of tree, the camellia sinensis.

3)Ecuador - Now I have been to Ecuador, I climbed a volcano Cotacachi that was just a day climb and then flew from Quito to the Galapagos which was an amazing thing to do. But a great trip would be to go the rain forest in Ecuador and visit the Kallari Farming cooperative and see how cacao beans are harvested.

Oh, so many cool places to visit in the world, such little time and so many dollars needed..... Enough procrastinating from doing stairs in my building.....


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow, Slow Food, and Coffee Beans

I just finished a workout and I am filled with gratefulness for the Chicago Parks District availability of places to workout, for $5 I got a great cardio workout in with a good view of the Lake and I had a great jog there in the snow.

In the midst of 45 minutes on the stairmaster I realized that with some of my experiences lately, my growing the tomato plant in my apartment completely indoors, going to the cupping session at Ipsento coffee and my devouring slowly and over 2 meals of the MeatyBalls sandwiches, that I need to start saying a gratefulness prayer before I eat. When I went to a weekend out in Utah with Steve Ilg, when we ate dinner he talked about being grateful for each mouthful and chewing many times to savour that mouthful. After learning last night how coffee is grown from fruit to drying or washing the seed, to roasting the coffee, the time and care and processess in producing quality food items is HUGE, it is g-I-normous and I eat so quickly relative to the G-I-NORMOUS process it took to produce that food and that is what Steve Ilg spoke about at dinner many years ago and it is all coming back. A friend many years ago over cheese and wine, made a dismissive, shaming remark to me, "Oh, Jeannie, it is just food" and she said it in a way implying that I care way too much about food. But you know, that is the reason our food system is so screwed up, people don't think about what they are eating, they take the attitude, it is nourishment whatever it is, IT IS JUST FOOD...well you isn't....Buying things at the Green City Market, take Nordic Creamery's butter, it is just not butter, it is a family business, it tastes different depending on the season, it does not taste like supermarket butter, it is just not "ordinary" butter and you can read about that in the latest issue of Edible Chicago magazine by the way.
So, I am going to continue to workout at the little gym that I never knew about all these years by the lakefront, and say a little thank you before I eat things and eat more slowly and think about what I am eating the way I thought about the coffee that I was sipping and slurping last night at Ipsento and the coffee roasted by Coffee Ambassadors.

Finally I am going to appreciate the snow. Yes, I was a polar bear in another life, but snow is great to run on, it is soft on your bones and knees, it makes the lakefront more interesting and it is really beautiful if you at it closely. Off to one of my day jobs...but get outside, drink some good coffee and enjoy the snow!!!!!!!