DOWN ON THE FARM
How many times a week do you think you could eat beans, corn, and squash? Once? Twice? How about every day, several times a day. Sounds like a foodie's worst nightmare. But if you lived in Texas before the advent of European settlement, these staples, along with whatever meat you could capture, would be part of your routine meal plan. Crop diversity and the introduction of livestock to our food supply, courtesy of the rest of the world, helped make an industry in Texas out of growing things to eat. Prior to the Civil War, a typical farm in Texas consisted of an average 150-acres where livestock, crops, and garden foods were raised, usually by non-slaveholding families. Over the course of the last century, industry and commerce replaced the family farm with large commercial farms and an agricultural monoculture dominated by cotton, sorghum, and other mass-produced crops. Economic forces transformed "living off the land" from a necessity to a novelty in a little over 100 years. Oddly, a back-to-the-land movement is on the rise, capturing advocates-and restaurateurs-who believe that composing an entire meal from locally available products might not be such a bad idea. Beans and cornbread anyone?