Friday, October 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Wineaux: Wining down those philosophy blues

SusanLeonardiWineauxW

By
From page A11 | September 21, 2011 |

I spend a lot of time interrogating (as we used to say in the literary theory circles I frequented in a previous incarnation) my slacker life. For a couple of years, Rebecca and I played around with the idea of writing a book on Slackerhood as a Spiritual and Political Practice, but, well, real slackers don’t write books.

Several weeks ago I read “A Householder’s Guide to the Universe” by Harriet Fasenfest. Describing herself as an urban householder, Fasenfest grows — in her Portland back yard — most of the food for her family of four.

She cooks, she preserves, she composts. She dries, she cures, she’s learning to butcher. She even cans her own tuna. (I’m happy to report that she doesn’t catch it herself.)

I loved the book. Besides putting up a million quarts of tomatoes and wrecking her knees planting peas, she writes well — and is an astute and thoughtful critic of “the way we live now.”

She puts her commitment to householding “within the context of a global economic system run amok, because, if nothing else, householding defies the logic, the premise, and the status quo of that system.”

I’m too lazy to become an urban (or big town or any other sort of) householder, but I’m glad that people like Fasenfest are out there changing the world one jar of peaches at a time. Change, she believes — and I concur (on those days when I think change is possible at all) — “will come in large measure from the small, grass-roots efforts of individuals. It will come from challenging … the way the greed of the market has defined prosperity, success, and ‘the good life.’ ”

I like to think that slackers, too, defy the System and challenge the nation’s notion of prosperity, success and the good life. It’s just that instead of sweating in my tightly planted acre, I sit down — looking out over my 6-by-6-foot garden — to a meal of gorgeous tomatoes and basil that my neighbor Olivia and my farmer friends have planted, watered and harvested. And a glass or two of wine that my talented winemaker friends have generously produced for me and for all of you who are reading this column.

Inner Interrogator No. 1 tells me that living the slacker life consumes very few of the Earth’s precious resources. A quart of water and 10 minutes of heat will boil the pasta. Popping a cork? No energy at all (unless it’s the frustrating personal energy of extracting one of those awful plastic things).

I walked to the Co-op to buy both pasta and wine — and to the Farmers Market for the tomatoes and basil. No resources consumed there.

Inner Interrogator No. 2 reminds me that sometimes both pasta and wine have made their big-carbon-footprinting way from Italy, that slackerhood is pretty dependent on a lot of other folks consuming a lot of energy as well as doing a lot of hard work. She also reminds me that I’m incredibly lucky to be able to slack off: The kids are grown now, my employer didn’t outsource my job, Wall Street didn’t gobble up my savings, and B of A didn’t manipulate my mortgage.

And so goes the debate.

Most of the fiction I’ve written takes place in a contemplative women’s monastery in the Sierra Nevada. Fellow slackers. They stage a slightly different version of this debate over and over again (no wonder they’ve never appeared on the bestseller list): whether ’tis better to immerse yourself in socially and politically important work or to spend your days thinking, reading, meditating, taking care of the woman in the cabin next to you and having fun.

They’re householders, too, of course, but with 10 of them, they don’t have to spend too many hours at it. One of the nuns often says that if everyone lived this way — the slacker life — we’d have many fewer social and political problems to begin with.

“We’re fiddling,” counters another, “while Rome burns.”

It gives me a headache. My usual, cop-out conclusion: The world needs all of us, householders, workers and slackers (well, maybe not all — most of Congress, Monsanto execs, university higher administrators and Big Pharma CEOs should embrace slackerhood immediately. First do no harm.).

But right now I have to attend to the headache, and you will not, perhaps, be surprised at my remedy: late summer tomatoes and basil (with a little garlic and Yolo Press olive oil) over pasta and a big glass of red wine.

In the spirit of letting my neighbors provide, I might pour that glass from a bottle of, say, the Putah Creek tannat I’ve had in my “cellar” for a few years or Bob Marr’s hearty Cuvée Patrick. If I’m feeling extravagant, I could pick up the elegant ’06 unfiltered syrah made by Davisite Robert Traverso or the nice co-fermented, malbec-syrah-tannat ’05 Rominger West Chapman Vineyard Red made by Mark West (which is actually on sale at the Co-op right now and thus not such a splurge after all).

More extravagant than that? Maybe the Fiddlehead Oaksville Reserve made by semi-Davisite Kathy Joseph.

After all, my last PG&E bill was only $20, and someone has to help pay theirs.

With all the time and (mental) effort I expend on this issue, I could easily preserve all the tomatoes, peaches, cucumbers and corn I’d need for an entire winter. On the other hand, I’d have to drive to the Co-op for canning jars. And all that boiling water! Not only would I be using gallons of our most precious resource, but the kitchen would get so hot, I’d have to turn on the air-conditioner (a mortal sin in my household).

Easier to eat winter squash instead. (Perhaps a nice Hubbard risotto dotted with Yolo Press olives, which would taste especially wonderful accompanied by the Fitzpatrick merlot I just tried.

Merlot may be the outcast wine of the decade, but instead of the flabby fruit that merlot haters fear, this wine explodes with firm black cherry, bites you mid-palate — where it also offers you a touch of smoke — and finishes long and dry. It’s $15 — and you can buy it at Farmers Market straight from the winemaker.

We also serve who only sit and dine.

— Reach Susan Leonardi at vinosusana@gmail.com. Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

Comments

comments

Susan Leonardi

.

News

Testimony begins in Winters murder trial

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
A-Z: Downtown Davis is the place to celebrate

By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: C1

 
Courageous Thompson tapped for cycling shrine

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UC researchers: How low-water can our landscapes go?

By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Hong Kong protesters to vote on staying in streets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Host families needed for students and teachers from Mexico

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Halloween Dance set Friday for teens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Yoga and chanting workshop planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Downtown menu: coffee, boba tea, dessert

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: C3

 
Learn how to fill a cornucopia with flowers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Video highlights Props. 1 and 2

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
‘Homeopathy at Home’ program planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Celebrate origami at Davis library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Garden sale and open house features water-wise demos

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C4

Meet Poppenga at dog park Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Day of the Dead folk art class set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Flea Market planned Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Enjoy A Taste of Capay at historic ranch

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Red-hot tunes set at Blues Harvest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Bay Bridge art project needs $4 million to keep shining

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Weir honored, a year early

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Explorit: Poison-proof your home with free lecture

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6

For a good cause

By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A6

 
Americans, internationals make connections

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
School board hopefuls discuss homework policy

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

The magic is long gone

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
A solution to the drought

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Experience nature’s treasures

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Subs have other concerns

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

What’s next with Ebola?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
More theories on the abstention

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Rights beget responsibilities

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Water returns to its source

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

.

Sports

Aggies expect a bonny meeting in Sacramento

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
DHS footballers take on Pleasant Grove

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Bye No. 2 comes at perfect time for nicked-up UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Shhh. Are Aggie women BWC’s best-kept secret?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Bump, set, playoffs: Blue Devil girls clinch spot in postseason

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Preseason awards roll in for Aggie hoopster Hawkins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks suffer from road woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Features

.

Arts

DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Calling all artists for upcoming show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘St. Vincent:’ Quite a character

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Rumpledethumps to play at Village Homes Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

 
Car Care: Five things to ask yourself when shopping for a new vehicle

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

.

Obituaries

Lewis Melvin Dudman

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Ann Foley Scheuring

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, October 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B3