We might see 60-plus-degree days in January here in northern Ohio –- once in a while –- but we're definitely back to winter, with snow, slippery walks, and wind chills that burrow under multiple layers of clothing and make you feel as if you'll never be warm again.
OK, it hasn't been quite that frigid here this week, but it's been on the chilly side, with not much sun to be seen.
It's quite obvious, Dear Readers, that this is not a fair-weather state at this time of year, with no tropical breezes wafting through palm trees. (Granted, Florida and California are feeling a bit nippy these days, too, I'm told.)
No, we Ohioans are sturdy folk, accustomed to the onslaught of winter and eating plain because we've got very little in the way of local produce to keep us going this time of year. Right?
Ahem. Well, over at the Ethicurean, both behind the scenes and on the site, we've started an ongoing discussion about seasonal eating and what that means to those of us who aren't fortunate enough to live in the Land of Plenty (or of Too Much, depending on your point of view). I'll contribute to the public discussion this weekend, with an article on winter produce, but you'll find the views of those who adopt both pragmatic and idealistic stances on the matter.
And while I tend toward the idealistic, trying to eat locally as much as possible, even I have my limits.
I've eaten a lot of squash and potatoes this week (under the rubric of "research," naturally), testing recipes and taking photos, and frankly, I've had enough for now. I bought a bunch of kale (not local) at the grocery store yesterday, knowing that I needed a serious infusion of dark leafy greens, and that –- along with the random contents of my fridge –- inspired tonight's dinner:
Here's my temporary restraining order against cabin fever: a pasta dish that is at least half not local. True, I made the pasta from scratch, and the garlic was local, but everything else? That's right, a shocking indulgence from distant climes, using kale, a vegetarian breakfast patty (highly processed, to boot!), half an orange, some Bulgarian feta, olive oil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
If I may be permitted to share a secret with you, friends... it was good. Very good. Lip-smackingly, lick-the-plate-clean good.
And I don't feel one bit guilty about it.
See, I'm trying to take the approach in my eat-local adventure that it's great to give it my best effort, but sometimes it's just fine to "bend the rules." It's not an all-or-nothing proposition.
I'll get back to cleaning out the freezer and the canned goods and the remaining stored vegetables soon enough. Heaven knows I've got enough put up to get me through most of the rest of the winter!
But tonight, it's worth it to dream a little dream about warmer days and more produce variety.