Glutton’s Guilt

What recession? I was spoiled with two delicious brunches out this weekend. If I had the patience to set up yet another e-account @ Yelp, this would be my review of Sunday brunch @ Green St. Cafe:
The cafe is found on the periphery of the Smith campus. It’s owned by partners, one of whom is unfailingly rude to customers – Luckily, if you go into your dining experience expecting ‘tude, it can actually be quite funny. The staff was building a splendid crackling fire when my party sat was seated. We were stationed in front of a dreadful mural. However, Green St. made up for this aesthetic faux-pas with completely handwritten menus and bills. As usual, the meal began with a basket of carby goods, a generous four samples each of the following: cheddar and chive biscuits, citrus muffins, and slices of sourdough. This is accompanied by a pot of cinnamon butter, crunchy with sugar crystals! I had the onion and Gruyere tart, which came with a Boston lettuce salad and a simple dressing; K had Eggs Benedict with thick slices of ham and unreal (realer than real) Hollandaise sauce; M1 had lemon ricotta pancakes, and M2 had the Gruyere and broccoli omelet with potatoes. Superb.

I didn’t bring my camera to document. Instead, here are some pictures of the owners’ garden, where much of the restaurant’s produce comes from. I took these on the 2008 Friends of the Forbes Library Northampton Garden tour.

Towards the end of the meal, a mime arrived! He performed by the wine bar (where my friend Ella sometimes plays on Saturday nights). Also towards the end of our meal, our conversation turned to the economy, and Keith and I brought up some of the lessons we learned from Chris Martenson’s The End of Money: The Crash Course, a radical special we caught on PBS a couple weeks ago.

I strongly urge you, whoever you are, to watch this despite the seemingly dry subject matter and the obsolete presentation medium. In sum, Martenson argues that the next twenty years are going to be nothing like the last twenty years of exponential growth. The trend of exponential growth means living beyond our means, and with it an ever-increasing debt we Americans can never pay back. We can ultimately default (i.e., the end of money) or make profound changes in our lifestyles to live sustainably. I think it’s really compelling based on what happened in Martenson’s personal life: he terminated his position as VP at a Fortune 300 company and moved into a more modest home. In his own words:

I grow a garden every year; preserve food, know how to brew beer & wine, and raise chickens. I’ve carefully examined each support system (food, energy, security, etc), and for each of them I’ve figured out either a means of being more self-sufficient or a way to do without. But, most importantly, I now know that the most important descriptor of wealth is not my dollar holdings, but the depth and richness of my community.

Which reminds me! My goal this summer is to eat produce exclusively from my garden plot.


1 Response to “Glutton’s Guilt”

  1. 1 basha March 4, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    i have a yelp – it’s changing the way i online-research my urban environment.

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