Take Back The Filter

The first time I visited my father in law he made calabacitas, a combination of zucchini, corn and jalapenos. And he's made it each successive visit since.

But this is the first time he's made calabacitas at our house.

"How many ears of corn do we need?" I asked him at the farmers' market.

"I don't know," he said. "I've always bought the corn in a can." We did a generous approximation and bagged six.

"How many jalapenos do you think it will take?"

"Can we just get them in a can?" he asked. "I use two cans." I bought five fresh jalapenos.

"Do you use garlic?"

"Garlic salt."

Can you use fresh?"

"Oh, I guess so," he said. The canvas bag he was carrying, potatoes bulging in the bottom, corn husks sticking out the top, was beginning to take him sideways. He looked like he would agree to anything to be free of it.

"I've got garlic at home. We'll use that."

The cute guy prepped the corn and garlic for the calabacitas. They added grass fed ground beef my aunt had given us. And at dinner, we swooned. Well, I swooned. TCG didn't stop eating long enough to swoon. And truth be told, my father in law seemed non-plussed with the fresh ingredients. But he had seconds.

Two nights in a row.

Maybe he liked it a little.

(If you use Brita water filters and haven't checked out the Take Back The Filter Campaign, please do. After meeting Beth, of Fake Plastic Fish I've signed on to be a collection point for used filters in Marin County and/or for friends and family that would like to contribute their filters (email me from the sidebar to coordinate). The filters will be returned to Clorox, the owners of Brita, to encourage them to initiate a filter recycling program, which Europe already enjoys.)


Anonymous said...

I could picture all of it -- strolling through the market, picking that armload of beautiful vegetables, cooking by team. And I could practically taste the sweet, spicy food.

Green Bean said...

Well, I guess he stomached it with all those fresh ingredients, huh. ;-)

And good for you for coordinating the Take Back the Filter for Marin. Love this grass roots stuff.

Emily said...

I'm glad you showed grandad what's what. It's interesting to see how our consumption of food is (hopefully) coming full circle. That the generations before us have drifted so far from their agrarian grandparents.

ruchi said...

Eeeeeeeeew, FRESH ingredients?!! ;)

Yes, major props for coordinating Take Back the Filter for Marin. This stuff is so important!

Anonymous said...

It was great to meet you! Thanks for taking on some of the collection effort.


Donna said...

Wow! That would sound so good if I actually enjoyed hot peppers. :)

Good for you for introducing him to local ingredients! I have fun doing the same thing for my parents. They're coming along, too -- they've started shopping at Whole Foods, but I haven't yet convinced them to try the farmers' market that is about a mile from their house.

Kale for Sale said...

audrey - The best part was they had the meal cooked by the time I got home from work.

green bean - My father in law finally admitted tonight that the calabacitas was really good.

Isn't grass roots a funny term when you think about it? I wish I'd coordinated something already. It's been two days. Not one filter.

emily - He's such a good sport. The generations before you have drifted but I've only got one generation between me and agrarian roots.

ruchi - I like the expanded Arduous name. I've never seen eeeeeeeeeeew written before. Thank you.

beth - I keep thinking about the bin of filters you collected last weekend. That's promising. I sent a note to our office building management requesting a receptacle for the filters in our basement by the mailboxes. They're thinking about.

donna - I often wonder how much fluidity I'll have to change when I get older. I already get too attached to having things a certain way. Good for your parents for swtiching to a store that has a growing awareness of local ingredients. One of these days Andrew will likley get them to the farmers' market.

J said...

I just found your blog and really enjoyed this story. This sounds a lot like my partners Grandmother - measuring things in cans, too funny.

I imagine the fresh calabacitas was a lot better than making it with canned stuff though, eh?

Going Crunchy said...

Yum, tasty! Send us the recipe. Shan

Kale for Sale said...

jennifer - The fresh calabacitas was delicious. My father in law is gone now and rumor has it - he's back to cans. Maybe we could introduce him to your partners Grandmother?

going crunchy - Not much of a recipe really. Everything is cooked in one pan with the slowest cooking ingredients first; hamburger (optional but strain before adding veggies), zucchini, corn, jalapenos. It seems too simple to be good but it is, especially with homemade flour tortillas.