Cooking with the sun; and an intro to “food-desert fusion cuisine”

Solar cooking yesterday afternoon. Today’s lunch was cheesy biscuits. Canned biscuit dough smashed flat in the pan, then topped with sliced onion and a bit of butter, and some shredded cheese. Jalapeños on one half.

For veggies, I munched on some celery stalks, and also picked some Okinawa spinach from my little garden. Dressing was the famous super-popular Judah’s salad dressing made by Kale Cafe Juice Bar & Vegan Cuisine.

My name for my genre of cooking is “food-desert fusion cuisine.” Whatever groceries I can obtain within a 25-minute walk of my house. (The nearest full-size grocery stores are 2 to 3 miles away, which makes this area a food desert.)

Ideally, every neighborhood would have a full grocery store within a 10-minute walk. That’s how it traditionally was in neighborhoods. Grocery store, drugstore, and other basic essential needs all within the neighborhood.

My friend Joanne’s wonderful little organic grocery shop, Natural Concepts Revisited LLC, is about a 25-minute brisk walk, over the ISB bridge. She sells local fresh vegetables and fruits, all organic, and packaged foods, nutritional supplements, coffees and teas, and much more. She also hosts classes and vendors’ markets. A real community resource!

Another place I get groceries is a minimart in my neighborhood, where the owner very kindly tries to meet people’s grocery needs to some degree. (That minimart, about a 5-minute walk from my house, is where I got the canned biscuits and shredded cheese and the butter, well actually margarine since they didn’t have any butter.)

Other sources of groceries in walking distance include my little garden, as well as whatever tasty wild nutritious edibles I find growing nearby, which at some times of the year is actually quite a lot – unless the owners of empty lots are being really aggressive about mowing. (I always hate to see a whole field of free food, free herbal medicine, and beautiful wildflowers that provide food & habitat for other species get mowed down to dust!).

There is something humorous yet very practical about a meal that combines fresh-picked wild plants or garden veggies with canned biscuits from the neighborhood minimart, and / or a can of beans left over from the weekly food distribution at the church down the street.

(People who go to the church on Wednesdays to pick up their mixed bag of groceries sometimes leave some of the items on the sidewalk nearby. Maybe because the cans get too heavy to carry home, or maybe they just don’t like canned beans, or maybe their cabinets are full already. Me, I make use of these curbside windfalls to swap out my hurricane rations. Yesterday along with some cans of beans was an extra score, two big bags of raisins!)

I have fun doing this kind of cooking challenge, but I also do it to raise awareness of food deserts, nutritious wild edible plants, the challenges to aging in place, and the need for walkable communities where all have access to basic services.

The ideal would be if we were growing food all over the city. Fruit trees, nuts, vegetables in every neighborhood. And of course a full grocery store in every neighborhood, with lots of fresh produce and other high-quality groceries.

I used to get a very high percentage of my groceries from the Saturday farmers’ market downtown, til it got shut down.

Many people I know use grocery delivery services, which are a great help for people who don’t drive.

Also, a lot of people order food items from Amazon or other online merchants. I myself purchased two big bags of protein powder a while back from a small business I met on TikTok.

#solarcooking #renewableenergy #passivesolar #fooddesertfusioncuisine #PrepperHomeEc #offgrid

You can see pix here.