Thursday, October 16, 2008

Eat Local Family Dinner


We are halfway into the Eat Local Challenge Month of October. I'm participating, but only in the sense that I am trying not to shop anywhere but my food coop this month. (And that may be a more "worried about the economy" thing.)

Still, it's a good time to try eat local as much as possible. Harvests are in for the Northeastern parts of the country and the late summer-like weather is keeping the farmer's markets brimming with produce. Places like California, where the challenge originates, and parts of the South have more variety and selection of local produce year-round, but you have to work with what you have.

Eating locally for yourself is one thing; getting your family to eat local is quite another. On one hand, my kids are pretty flexible about food. But on the other, they won't eat any of the organic breakfast cereals I buy. They only want "good" cereal which means Life, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Special K with strawberries. I make special trips to Target to get these coveted brands, because as a mom, I think eating breakfast is important too. (Is there a "local" breakfast cereal, anyway?)

Dinner is more open to a local-only domain. Sarah Beam writes about the Eat Local Challenge family-style. One plus is that it has added new dishes to her family dinner rotation and is inspiring her family to try new things. Her somewhat reluctant husband even surprised her by showing up at their CSA (Athens Locally Grown) to join in the spirit.

Sarah hints that one tension for her family during the challenge is meat. Our family eats meat and has the luxury of grass-fed, locally-raised meat from our food coop. The prices are discounted, but it is still very expensive compared to conventionally-raised meat. I constantly have to adjust my expectations about what meat "should" cost. So, we just try too eat less of it. Last night, it was two pork chops (thick ones, but still) among our family of four, plus toddler. We shoot for one pound of meat or less for the family; half a pound, if it is stir-fry. Four or so ounces per person is the actual advised serving size, though many Americans eat far more than that at each meal. The meal is rounded out by extra vegetables and grains, local and/or organic whenever possible. We are moving in the right direction, at least.

A Challenge for the Whole Family. Sarah Beam

A Family Eats Local In Hawaii
. Debbie

Farm Stand on The Run
. Lisa Abend, Gourmet. 10.02.08

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