Part of the “Moving toward local eating” series
Let’s face it. You can only combine rice, beans, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, beets, kale, onions, and beef or pork so many ways. The vegetables, especially, really get to me, because there are only so many things that store well through a Michigan winter. I’m not about to expand my repertoire to include canned green beans. *blech*
Dealing with repetition take a lot of adjustment. We are accustomed to change – new restaurants, new ingredients, 40,000 different items at the grocery store. So stripping that back is a mental challenge, and I do worry a little about nutrition. Especially when I’m sick and my appetite’s off anyway. My first reaction to deprivation was just to buy one of the other 39,970 items at the grocery store, which works quite nicely (helloooooo chocolate coconut-milk ice cream!).
But I also realized the benefit of spices and of canning items I had previously thought of as “frivolous” – a variety of fruits, jams, chutneys, pickles, and such. A variety of condiments can really make a difference. What’s the difference between pea soup and mung daal? Turmeric and garam masala. And nothing – nothing – feels like summer love in a jar more than home-canned peaches. More of a treat than ice cream, they are to me.
So now I feel like I’m at the point – three or four years after I started my serious “locavore” pus – where I’m feeling pretty comfortable sourcing the bulk of our staple foods from very close by. And now the “treats,” like peaches and such, don’t seem optional – they seem just as necessary as the staple goods.
See, I don’t believe that eating locally is all about restriction and deprivation. It’s not just about making sure we can survive when the rising price of oil literally takes the food off the shelves. It’s about thriving, right here, right now. Food is a major delight for me, and I don’t want to get to the point where I perceive all the “fun” food as coming from far away, and possibly cut by forces outside of my control. So this year, I’m going to be paying a lot more attention to regionally-sourced treats.
What’s your favorite local treat food?