But there's a price we pay for that regularity that we should be fully aware of. In order to squeeze nature into consistent uniformity that's also economical, we have to do some pretty nasty things to the planet and our food producing animals. Those eggs that look so perfect in the carton often come from ghastly imperfect conditions. To the extent that I can, I try to not participate in that. So if my carton of eggs are a little caddywompus? What a relief, actually. What a blessing.
Another factor is deliciousness. The oil that always tastes the same year after year has been refined of all it's nuances and unique characteristics. And again, sometimes that's OK. But it's also really wonderful to purchase an olive oil tastes of last year's unusually cool temperatures and early rains. Or that the cheese this year is extra rich because those early rains allowed the cows to graze longer on green pastures.
I'm a romantic, it's true. But so what. I'm happy to live in a world where the butter may taste a little different in the summer than in the winter because the cows are on different feed. I'm smart and agile enough to adjust my cooking and so are you. Yes, so are you! It just takes a little experience and instinct. And a willingness to be delighted in imperfection.
So I recommend you seek out the crooked and mismatched, the rough and imperfect. I say become comfortable with, grow to prefer even, foods that bear the imperfections of nature and the fumbling hand of human beings. Don't be fooled into thinking that homogeny is superior and instead celebrate the protean and precious unpredictability of things in deep relation to the natural world.
Note: Inspiration for this post comes from our cheesemonger Nora Singley's provocative post on the mystery of why Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk triple creme, washed rind cheese tastes so extraordinarily good this year. Which it does, oh my, it really really does.
(Image: Dana Velden)