One of the things that I've always loved about food is regionalism. Food local to the area, grown in season. On my (infrequent) visits home to the Okanagan, I seek out the fruit in season, grab some saskatoon berries, eat sour cherries and drink Okanagan wines. In the Kootenays (Christina Lake) I go for Doukhobor food and kokanee (the fish, I'm not a fan of the beer). And here in Ontario I'm finally getting in tune to the rhythms of the growing cycle, looking forward to things as they hit the markets. I can still list the order of ripening fruits from my childhood, oddly enough. Perhaps because I would eat myself sick on them...
There are some great books out right now talking about living with a 100 mile diet (I'll list them later), only consuming that which was grown/raised/made within a 100 mile radius of the home. That philosophy takes us back a few centuries to a time where so much more of what we consumed was in our control. Not to mention that the distance between the consumed and consumer was much smaller - there are kids out there that don't equate cattle and beef, and lose their gourd if you were to point out that Charlotte (of Web fame) is actually BACON. Never mind how few people would be willing to hunt/kill/dress their meat, even if they had to. We'd see a LOT more vegetarians, that's for sure. But I digress - back to regional consumption!
I've worked with food a long time, and have been eating it even longer. I'm pretty aware of what I'm shoving into the bod, I've been in a slaughterhouse and had (very) fresh meat, I've chopped off a chicken head, gutted a fish and had plenty of game (I got game! Sorry, bad pun). I think I'm pretty up to speed on the current food chain in terms of health risks, environmental/social/global impact and sustainability. But reading An Omnivore's Dilemma (among others) scared the pants off of me. I think parents today must be freaking the heck out about what they're feeding their kids. Or at least I kindasorta hope they are.
The city of Toronto has a ton of local farmer's markets - there's one in my hood Thursdays in the evening. There are carbon credits, local organics, free-range hormone-free animal husbandry farms where you can buy into a side of beef with some friends, lists of non-endangered fish you can order instead of sea bass, etc. Wired magazine has a great article out right now on environmentalism and how much of what we think is saving the earth is actually creating a larger footprint.
There are benefits galore to eating locally raised foods in season. No diatribe/polemic here - do what you like and eat what you want, I'm not trying to convert anyone. I'm a crappy eater who defaults to cake and bacon, often together! But I'm trying (hard) to eat more sensibly whenever possible, and there's lots of ways to make changes. Do what you like, but be conscious of your choices.
Long story short, this all started in my head because I was telling the Beau about Thomas Keller's incredible spoonbread. The first time I made it was for my friends Andrea and Sarah, we couldn't stop eating it. The base is a brioche dough, it was like Butter Bubblegum. Deliciously horrific. And thinking of the spoonbread led me to thinking about Thomas Keller and Alice Waters, and their philosophy of food. Alice Waters recently co-wrote a great book called Slow Food Nation with one of the gurus of Slow Food (Carlo Petrini) - I'll post a review when I'm done.
And back to the spoonbread recipe - I'll post that later as well when I figure out how! All credit for it goes to Keller, all I did was make it and eat it.
Slow Food Nation: A Blueprint for Changing the Way We Eat - Alice Waters/Carlo Petrini
100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating - Alisa Smith and JB Mackinnon
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life - Barbara Kingsolver
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals - Michael Pollan
In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan
The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Killing Our Food Supply and What You Can Do About It - Thomas Pawlick
Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products and Services in Canada - Adria Vasil
two classic sangrias
2 days ago