- Barbara Kingsolver in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, quoting Tod Murphy, former owner of The Farmer's Diner
A wake up call(Read more about eat local month here.)
We were sitting down to lunch yesterday, and I looked at Dennis and said "Can we eat like this forever"? I really expected this to be a hard month, and I'm sure it will get harder towards the end, after I've perhaps tired of cooking and the budget starts to get overstretched. For now, though, I'm so enjoying the fresh tasting produce and the fact that I can feel good about every aspect of what's on our plates - it tastes great, it's good for us, it's good for the local economy and a family farmer who's trying to carry on tradition. I've experimented with some new recipes, and they've all turned out well, which is always encouraging for me. I've made tortillas, burritos, chips, roasted everything. We've had steak and home baked lots of things. Yesterday, the kids and I made homemade butter from the cream we skimmed off of milk from our local dairy.
"Former foodie"I call myself a "former foodie" because I love to cook - i just have to remind myself sometimes. Cooking for a family usually involves devoting more thought to health, budget, pleasing each palette, and working within severe time restraints (and with multiple interruptions). This week, I've simple enjoyed the food - the whole process of it. That foodie in me has had a chance to come out of hiding for a bit.
A spiritual issue?As I was clearing dinner yesterday, I pondered the idea that food can be a spiritual issue. As the quote at the beginning of this article suggests, eating locally can be an act of love. Not only that, but buying our food directly from the producer opens the door for some beautiful relationships. We are mutually invested in this farm, we are all depending on it, and we see each other week after week. I've wished sometimes that I could go without the whole cooking/eating/cleaning up routine just to save time and get more done in the day, but most of the time, I don't see it that way. I think we were designed to need to stop and enjoy food together - the whole event of it. Preparing it, eating it as we share about our day, and cleaning it up together. (Although, I could do without the cleaning part, if I'm perfectly honest...) Add to that the whole "our body is a temple" and "The earth is God's handiwork" ideas, and it just may be a beautiful act of worship to source our food locally - a way to love people, love our bodies, and care for creation.
Not a guilt thingI don't want this to become a guilt issue, and I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad for not doing the impossible - after all, ethically produced food is much more expensive! We have a lot of other priorities in our lives, too, and it's up to each one of us to find the balance that helps us make right decisions with our money (which includes keeping our families out of the poor house). However, perhaps we need to reprioritize a bit. Is it more important for our kids to do that expensive extracurricular activity, or that we feed them real, nourishing foods? Is it better to take a family vacation that costs thousands of dollars, or to support local business and agriculture and to spare our environment yet more abuse and degradation? Sometimes, we need that family getaway. Our kids lives do need enriching - but maybe we need to take a long, inward look at what's the best way to do that.
As for my family, I know we won't always be able to dedicate our saturday morning to driving to the farmer's market. I know we can't afford all locally produced meat. It would be unreasonable to think we could give up hard cheeses or exotic spices. I won't always be able to (or want to) spend a few hours a day rolling tortillas, making butter, or chopping veggies. Still, I can't imagine that, after even this one week of eating locally, that we could easily go back to the way we were eating. I would miss doing things "the hard way." I'm hoping we can find a hybrid way of doing things and continually be working toward a more locally grown diet.
How about you? What's your biggest food priority? What would you like to focus on more in your family's food habits?