Friday, February 06, 2009

Starch Quality

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just babbling on to an almost empty room when I get on my soapbox about local foods.

I forget the old adage that "actions speak louder than words" -- until I find that someone in my life is catching on, making changes to his or her eating habits or simply developing a keener awareness about food.

The Renaissance Man provided me with one such reminder this morning with a little email:

"Thought that I would share breakfast -- oatmeal with cranberries, honey, and apple butter; toast with butter and your peach lavender jam.

"I am sure that it will now taste better since I photographed it."

I'll point out two things about this delightful message:

1. The oats and honey were both local, the jam was something I had preserved (with local fruits), and the bread was leftover from last weekend's baking. And the fact that he didn't point out the local nature of his breakfast indicates to me that it's becoming second nature to him to appreciate local foods.

2. He's been hanging around me and my camera at meal times way too much. (He often kids me about making sure I take photos of my food so as to add the final nutritional kick to it!)

What else could I do with such a message but smile, chuckle, and insist on sharing it on the blog? What a keeper!

It's good to know that even little things can make such a difference!

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At 2/09/2009 1:17 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

I think that overall eating locally takes patience and perseverance. I admire those that jump in headlong,fast and furious, like Barbara Kingsolver and the authors of "Plenty." But for me, it's a going to be a gradual and life-long process. I also think community plays a big part. I'm working on making connections to local food sources in a new place and that too takes time.

Do you have an advice on ways to seek out local foods, particularly in Northern Ohio?

BTW, I'm glad R.Man is so cool with you taking food photos. It annoys my husband to no end when I have to spend the first 5 minutes of every meal photographing it!

At 2/09/2009 1:49 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

It does, Sarah, you're right. It can be a long journey of baby steps -- and you may never fully arrive. But working local foods in gradually may actually work to your benefit so that certain things become second nature before you move on to the next challenge. :-)

Trying to find local foods in a new place can be really tricky, but here are a couple of ideas for you:

--Come summer, find a nearby farmers' market (you can find them on Local Harvest) to buy produce. Keep an eye out for other things like honey, maple syrup, grains, and such. Talk to the farmers and find out what they grow, where they find some of their food. You might find meat and eggs at the market, too.

--Check your local grocery store and look for labels indicating where produce is grown or where processed foods are processed. Dairy should be especially easy to find locally. (And here's a tip: Dei Fratelli is a local-to-you processor of tomato products, and their tomatoes are locally harvested, too.) Ask the store manager what you can find that is local.

--Look for local orchards, butchers and meat packers, roadside stands, co-ops, natural foods markets, and other places off the beaten path.

--Grow your own garden or hook up with neighbors and friends who garden to share or swap produce. Talk with them about local foods and see if they have other leads.

Just keep asking and talking -- you will find so many possibilities open up to you!

(And yes, I do appreciate that the Renaissance Man is so patient -- his good humor and willingness to wield the camera himself keep me laughing at the absurdity and grateful for his kindness.)

At 2/11/2009 2:11 PM, Blogger Tara said...

No, no, no! You are not babbling to an empty room! I have been so inspired by your blog, your honesty (posting failures and successes) and the knowledge you share. Thanks to you I am anxious to try drying some foods this year and looking forward to making gourmet herbed salts and sugars for gifts. And you better believe I'll have many small cubes of concentrated "soup starters and flavor boosters" (roasted tomato, garlic, onion and herbs) in my freezer. It's all good stuff!

At 2/11/2009 3:20 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Thanks, Tara. My comment wasn't meant to elicit such lovely compliments -- just that sometimes I feel like a broken record. ;-) But I'm glad I've had some good ideas to share and that you've got new things to try yourself!


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