Thursday, December 15, 2005

Eat Local Challenge Challenge
(Part II)

As I noted the other day, the eat local challenge has so far, not been much of a challenge, at least when it comes to having stuff to eat. Does not mean there are not challenges. I think I have an idea why people switched to frozen peas and California lettuce.

And it's not boredom. Of course boredom is surely a challenge of the eat local challenge. Think of late May, early June. The markets are inundated with asparagus. It's special, it's delicious, if you are like our family, you find ten ways to Wednesday to make asparagus. And just as we are tiring of asparagus tetrazinni, the market switches to peas or the sugar snaps. Bore of those, and soon it's zuchinni, corn, tomatoes, etc. A lot of the fun of farmer's market shopping is to see what's new and special that week. There is pleasure in eating things every so often. So, the first squashes are a treat. Who does not like apples. Now, two months after the farmer's markets ended, the only fresh fruit we have had (besides our citrus exception) is apples. We have a lot of beets...

There is a certain disdain for keeper produce, memories of depressions and rationiong and all, and the other night when it seemed like dinner was going to be squash soup and beets, I felt so Dickens (but it was a timing thing not a price thing). I also think for a lot of people, something like rutabaga just sounds bad, like you're gagging while you say it. [ed. perhaps we should use the British, swede?] Yet, with a little bit of manipulation, these turnips and beets and celery roots, and parsnips can produce great food. It's nearly all sweet, nearly all of nice texture. But having worked with this produce for a few months, I can tell you why it is a challenge.

My wife the Condiment Queen started making roast vegetables the other night at about 4:30. At 6:00, I came down for dinner, and she was not even close. It takes time and effort to deal with this stuff. Cannot eat the skin of a squash, nor a rutabaga. I suppose you could eat a turnip or beet as is, but any time saved peeling is lost scrubbing. After the skinning and chunking (lotsa work on a squash), many of the keepers require more work. Mashed up, with some butter, wow, really get you eating vegetables kinda food, but grandma did have some triceps on her, no?

That's the challenge. I think a lot of demand for supermarket produce arose outta convenience. It was not peas that people sought, but unshelled peas. It is not beets that people really do not want, it's the purple hands they do not want.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Convenience, variety, and -- truth to tell -- flavor. Lots of things shipped from afar are really good. How can you not love pineapple?

Of course, you really should have taken all that strictly local produce you had in the summer and put it it up -- home-canning, drying, etc. Of course, home-canned peas don't taste as good as frozen ones from Birdseye, but there you go.