Monday, October 24, 2011

Food Day 2011

Did you know that today was the first annual Food Day?  Did you do anything special to celebrate it?

Food Day is an event organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, primarily as a political/policy advocacy day to promote sustainable agriculture and reduce the subsidies, environmental impacts, and marketing power for big factory agribusiness (see their stated goals here).

My observation of the day wasn't too political, beside sending their message to my federal representatives via their website.  Rather, I tried fixing dinner made as much as possible from ingredients from some of our small local farmers.  I figured that if Barbara Kingsolver could eat for a year using only local food, as she described in her wonderful book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, I ought to be able to scrape up a locavore dinner for one night.

But even one entire meal wasn't as easy to do as one might think.  I had to start the project on Saturday morning of the weekend before, when our local farmers markets are open.  I bought my usual supplies from our downtown Cary Farmers Market, but then had to go to the Western Wake Farmers Market as well for some foods the downtown one doesn't carry.  I also had to go to a specialty store to buy some cream and butter from a localish dairy, Homeland Creamery, whose milk-based products are just SO luscious (and without growth hormones and antibiotics and such)!

So I ended up making my own recipes for this "Real Meal" local supper, which I was also trying to keep low sugar, low carbohydrate for my diabetic husband.  As a main course, we had a casserole of zucchini, onions, and nitrite-free sausage, baked in a light sauce of natural cream, eggs, and local raw milk cheese.

I served that with a salad and a roll from a local bakery.

Then for dessert, I served a no-added-sugar, carb-light apple crisp.  I cut up the apples, mixed them with butter and cinnamon and ground cloves, then covered them with some oats, some coconut, and some more cinnamon.

This I served with the thick Homeland Creamery cream beaten to soft peaks, but again without any added sugar.  My husband added some artificial sweetener to his portion, but I honestly thought it was fine just as it was.

I think it ended up being a lovely meal, yet still pretty healthy.  The thing about using the superior local cream, butter, and cheese is that you can use a surprisingly small amount, but because they are so tasty, you think that it is much richer and caloric than it really is.

However, I have to admit that not everything was local.  I got the zucchini, salad greens, and apples from our usual produce source, the Norris farm (which I wrote about previously), and the eggs from Spain Farms, who are at the market with the Norrises.  The spicy nitrite-free sausage was from Fickle Creek Farm in Efland, and the wonderful Eno Mountain Sharp cheese was made by the Hillsborough Cheese Company.  And, of course, the dairy items came from Homeland Creamery.

But I did have to go "conventional" to get the onions, olive oil and vinegar for the salad dressing, the oats, the coconut, and the ground cinnamon and cloves.  So, as I said, I can't claim it to be 100% local, although the major ingredients all were.

It was a great challenge--one I think I will try taking on more often.  Perhaps we'll try making "Food Day" dinner a monthly event.

PS--My son recently asked in his blog for me to do a post on cooking.  So in part, this blog post is for him.

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