Monday, January 19, 2009
Call to Renew America
Today we here in Austin have the opportunity to participate in USAservice.org's Call to Renew America. I know, because I got my empty grocery bag stuck in my front gate yesterday!
My neighbor, Joel, stuck it there for me. My councilmen, Mike Martinez and Lee Leffingwell had the idea, I think. And, the idea is simple. We take these bags to the grocery store, fill it with things like canned tuna, stew and chili (preferably with pop tops), canned vegetables, pasta and pasta sauce, beans, rice, healthy cereals, peanut butter and baby food. The food will go to the Capital Area Food Bank.
The cool thing is that Joel will actually take the bag to the food bank or the Texans for Obama HQ for me!
The other cool thing is that I read Mark Bittman's NY Times column Fresh Start for A New Year? Let's Begin in the Kitchen and loved it. Most of this stuff I already do. There are NO salad dressings in my fridge that I haven't made myself. I grew up in a family that always used the same oil and vinegar salad dressing. My Mom made it, but my Dad taught her the recipe. It's just oil - when I was young it was vegetable oil, but, of course, now it's olive oil - vinegar, salt, pepper and lots of garlic. Mom slivered her garlic and added it to the bottle, but I chop it up. I do have a couple of cans of beans in my cupboard, just in case I get a last minute invitation to a party and have to throw together either Austin, Texas caviar or black beans layered with guacamole and topped with Mexican fresh cheese. So, I have beans and cans of gold and white corn. I also have a couple of cans of tomatoes and, gasp, a can of Campbells Cream of Chicken soup. All I can say about the latter is that I grew up in the south and there are a LOT of casseroles that require that particular ingredient. But I'm putting those cans into the bag. They don't all have pop tops, but I hope the food bank will forgive me.
Among my New Year's resolutions is to cook at least one pot of beans a week and eat them... Or I guess I could feed them to someone else. Right now there are two pots going on the stove: a pot of black beans, for black bean soup; and a pot of garbanzos for hummus.
New Year's resolutions are kind of a hokey thing, but they are a chance for us to think about the past year, evaluate it and decide what needs to change. We have a sort of artificial 'start date' to begin that change, January 1st, or if you miss that date, the somewhat later Chinese New Years. Of course you could start at any time, too...
This year we have an even greater opportunity. We have a new president after eight years of pure disaster for our nation. He's not just any new president; he's our first black president, which might not mean as much to you if you didn't grow up in the South in the years of segregation... If you don't remember the water fountains with 'WHITE' and 'COLORED' on them (and before you understood what this really meant as a kid, you thot it referred to the color of the water)... If you didn't see the guys with the white hoods marching down the street... If you can't remember the marches against the guys in the hoods... And, he's a president whose slogan is change.
And here's the thing... He can't do that by himself. We have to do it with him. We have to save ourselves. Given that he got 52% of the vote, I'm figuring I'm gonna have to save myself AND someone else. Probably a unrepentant Republican...