Last week I read a story in The New York Times Magazine called The Island Where People Forget to Die. I won’t ruin the story for you because it’s certainly worth a read, but it highlights Ikaria, a 99 square mile, Greek island with a population of 10,000 that somehow escaped the confines of Western society.
People eat a plant-based diet picked mainly from their personal gardens and every single family has their own garden. The fare is often shared among the island residents with the gaps filled in at the local market. But no one goes hungry and the community thrives on plants grown in soil enriched by love and delicate care. Plates and cups are filled to the brim with beans, wilted greens, local honey, goat’s cheese, and special teas islanders enjoy daily.
Too Old to Remember How Old
Ikarians indulge in both coffee and wine but spend much of their days in the fields or climbing the many hills that they’ve built their gardens into. And well, no one ever dies or atleast, people live so long that they often can’t remember how old they are. Birth certificates were not so common nearly a 100 years ago.
These self-contained farming societies, free of nine-to-five employment and a corporate food system seem so appealing from afar and make you take a closer look at the diet you hold so dear. A plant-based diet is nothing new, not even in the U.S., but the simplified nature of a diet that sources the great majority of food from the tiny island which they call home is another step entirely.
It’s a reminder that recipes sourced from local deliciousness don’t need to include a host of expensive ingredients. Beans shouldn’t come from cans or nuts from a rainforest 5,000 miles away. That article reminded me that just eating plant-based alone isn’t enough. It was a reminder in simplification. Just because you can get it doesn’t mean you should. Instead of going to the farmers’ market or grocery store with a list of what you need, go without a list seeing what’s available, making this week's recipes accordingly.