The End of the Lazy Locavore and the Return of Tamarday
The Slippery Slope of Fresh Farms Shopping
I’ve been a horribly lazy locavore. What’s even more pathetic, for ages, I meant to write a post on the virtues of being a lazy locavore, but I was too lazy to get it done. In essence, being a lazy locavore meant I held myself to certain standards of eating, but mostly achieved it through unscrewing jar caps and slicing raw vegetables. For ages, I could not manage to do much in the kitchen. No prepared salads, no roasted vegetables. No nothing. I was lazy (I had my reasons, but I was lazy.) If I could throw some of last year’s bread n’ butter zucchini, add some watermelon radish from the root cellar, I was still a locavore no matter how otherwise I gathered things for my plates. Then a funny thing happened. I bought it from Fresh Farms.
Fresh Farms is a small chain of Chicago area grocery stores, three locations I believe. It is, in so many words, a great place, and the Local Family does not mind traveling from Oak Park to Niles to shop at Fresh Farms. How great is Fresh Farms, I’m not going to say. Go find out for yourself. If nothing else, get some of their house-baked breads and their house made Serbian pastries. If you stopped there, it would help preserve your eat local cred. We could not. It started with Greek feta. Suddenly, we were not getting all our cheese from the Big 10 Conference. I justified that by the twofold facts that Greek barrel feta is just so good, and more importantly the only local feta that could compare, like from Prairie Fruit Farm’s, was three times as expensive. What excuse could afford us to buy the packages of their eggplant relish and other salads? It violated so many of our tenets. Was the end of the Local Family coming?
Luckily, we pulled back. A huge workload finally lessened, giving me more time to cook, and warmer weather finally brought some green inspiration. So when we went to Fresh Farms the other day, we still bought Greek cheese, but we did not get anything else particularly out of season. Instead, we had Tamarday the next day.
If I have any readers left, you know that I’ve long advocated tamaring as a key component of successful eating local. As once written:
Those not so familiar with potential 2012 Oxford English Dictionary word of the year, tamar, var. tamaring, – v. the act of taking raw fruits, vegetables, meats or grain from purchase to a state ready for consumption. Named after author Tamar Adler whose recent book, Everlasting Meal, provides a wholesome guide for household food consumption. Ms. Adler teaches that is not recipes one needs to be well fed; rather it is engagement. You tamar. You wash your lettuces, pick off your leaves of herb; you roast batches of this and saute batches of that. Or you simply boil. Much can be left to chance. If you do the work. You tamar. – See more here.
Like last year, I’ve found that Saturday is the best day to tamar. I got around to fixing up food for the days ahead. As Tamar starts, I started with a boiling pot of water. Next, I got my daughter to peel carrots and parsnips. I pre-heated the oven. It takes much longer for the spinach to drain then it does to par-boil; I had it in a strainer in the sink before I was ready to roast. The hardest thing I did was attempt to make juliennes of carrots, as one of my plans for our large supply of winter carrots was a mustardy “bistro” salad, and bistro carrot salads need to be julienned not shredded. After all that was done, trays of parsnips and carrots sliced, flavored with dry thyme and cooked in a hot oven, I finished the spinach by sauteing it in a pan with local garlic. I did not achieve a great out on this first tamarday back. Still, I liked stretching out my cooking muscles for a change.
We celebrated our first tamarday in ages with our first Turkish breakfast in ages. Besides the cooked greens, the roasted vegetables, the salad made from Spring greens, there was Greek feta.