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Suppport local, one sandwich at a time

August 26, 2010

Trying to eat fresh local or organic is hard. It is a daunting task and is often more expensive that the commercial alternative. Cooking at home is a great way to save money but no one can know everything about cooking. If a person can learn a particular dish or style of food they can grow their food vocabulary, but no one can ever know everything. I eat bread everyday and I cook everyday, but I never cook bread. I have no patience for it. One of the most important keys about knowing how to cook is knowing what you like and what you are good at. I eat fresh quick meals that I can throw together without too much time but I just can’t bear to wait for yeast to rise. There are people out there who make amazing bread and I want them to continue doing what they do so I buy their bread and spend my kitchen time in ways that are more conducive to what I want.

To eat fresh and support local foods you don’t need to bake, or work on a farm or know how to glaze a ham, but you do need to support locally those people who do those things so that you can create a community through food. I was at a grocery store in Boise that makes sandwiches in their deli with boar’s head meats. Boar’s head is the “assurance of quality” in most New York deli’s. It is a good product, but it is made in Brooklyn. So eating it in New York makes sense, but its trail makes no sense in the rest of the country. The meat comes from farms throughout the Midwest that is shipped to Brooklyn where it is processed, packaged then shipped out to delis around the country. So to get to me in Boise a boar’s head ham has to go from a Feedlot somewhere like Kansas, then get shipped to Brooklyn, then get shipped to Boise or wherever else its final destination might be. The same is true with most commercial deli meat. It is not uncommon for a grocery store to have a butcher and a deli, but it would be very uncommon for the deli to cook meat they get from the butcher for sale at their store. Almost all deli meat in the country is made and/or grown in another state.

The same is true with loaves of bread, boxes of cereal and just about every product that comes in a package. There is no telling how far a product has traveled to get to your plate. We cannot as a country know where all of our food comes from, but we can make small steps by supporting bakeries, local farms, delis that roast their own beef and any other person making a food product from scratch.  These people have a vested interest in their communities because they live in them, work in them and put their children through their public schools. Small local companies are also less likely to use controversial food additives that their commercial counter part. Big companies like boar’s head are good for Brooklyn, but that doesn’t make them sensible for the rest of the country. Buying local is harder than it should be for most of the country, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make small changes over time. Support local, one sandwich at a time.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gay Kelleher permalink
    September 12, 2010 11:10 am

    Fabulous to watch the video and know that I was in that kitchen not too long ago. Wish I had been there for the competition. Tell Leil thanks for videoing it for all of us to enjoy. Miss you all.

    Love, Gay

  2. Gay Kelleher permalink
    September 12, 2010 2:26 pm

    Alex I found this recipe with Tofu,Tofu Parmigiana, it sounds good however, I was going to us garlic and not powder. I also won’t use the salt. My concern is the amount of sodium it shows is in the recipe. Can you help me figure out what I should change or do differntly. Thanks, Gay

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