Local Calamity

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November 18, 2008 at 8:08 am

Rob Gardner

Airport travel seems the same.  Endless paths of terrazzo, walls papered with consulting firms ads (some my clients!).  It is only when the distances increase and the people multiply that you know you are back in Chicago.  I was coming home to my babies.

My younger daughter named the collection of hot peppers on our dining room buffet, my babies.  There are jalepenos that I slice into everything, a bowl of yellow haberneros I do not know what to put in anything; serranos for when I want a bit of heat without much chile, poblanos for an intended braise I have yet to make, passillas mostly drying and sundry other peppers obtained in the last month or so.  My babies are doing well.  It is the rest of the family that suffered.

We can debate which is the biggest challenge in the eat local challenge.  Peeling butternut squash is still up there for me, but I handily admit there is a challenge in having enough local food around.  The sources of local food are many.  They remain, however, infrequent.  A locavore must mostly buy in anticipation.  On top of that basic problem, there are guys like me that well, love to buy.  Frost kissed kale, c’mon it’s the season; wild mushrooms, well when else will I get them; paw-paws, how often do those come around.  Now, combine this times two, with a wife God bless her she’s working her ass off these days at the bakery and at Mado, but she’s a hoarder.  On good weeks, we teeter on excess.

Throw the balance off.  I head to Austin.  A migraine.  Yens for Chinese food.  Left to her own devise, a child skips lunch.  And like I say, I buy too much.  How ’bout that first winter market or Green City.  So, I face the consequences.  That frost kissed kale did not look so good anymore, all yellow.  There were beets that got moldy, which really should not have happened (too much moisture in the bag?).  I’d kinda been hording this Nichols baby romaine and now I waited too long on that.  Or, there’s a green pepper that ended up in a bag with some carrots.  The carrots are mostly fine except for the few that ended up closet to the melting pepper.  And eggplants, I had big plans for the last of the eggplants.  Too bad I never got around to them.  Finally, there’s tomato trouble a-brewin’, but I’m gonna save that for another time.  A lot was added to the compost bin this weekend.

The season of stored food is a season of lost food.  In the best of storage conditions, an apple or potato will bolt from its crew.  One has to plan for a bit of shrinkage in the inventory.  Then, there will surely be a meal or two planned that gets skipped.  A hankering for mashed rutabaga suddenly transforms into a hastily ordered pizza.  Local eating requires a balancing act of between obtaining food and using food.  The pleasures of local food are many; the impacts wide, but there are always challenges to the eat local challenge.  At times, you kiss your babies bye-bye.

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One Comment

  1. [...] we were last checking in on the Local Family (as compared to checking in on the local expo) we found food gone to waste.  [...]

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