I just read this article. It is quite long, but if you have some time, it’s worth a read. You can even skip to the third page or so. Very thoughtfully written, and not like those annoying, in-your-face, vegetarian vigilantes.
That being said, I’m not saying “don’t eat meat.” God knows, I do love meat. But while I’ve been on a locavore kick since the spring, and have started buying organinc foods whenever possible, the one thing related to all of the above, that I think is the most important, and makes my heart hurt more than anything, is factory farming. Don’t worry, I’m not including any visual evidence why it makes my heart hurt. It’s one of those situations like when pro-life advocates show people the photos of aborted fetuses (I detest that tactic, so I’ll spare you guys the farm photos… But if you’re curious, I’d encourage you to do a google search. I ain’t sayin’, I’m just sayin’. )
I’ve been involved with womens’ issues, and I work in politics every day. I consider myself a socially aware person (whether or not I generally act or my awareness…) but I swear, there’s never been an issue hit me so hard before. The whole situation just seems so desperate, mostly because so many of us are unaware of it. But, I don’t wanna be one of those annoying, in-your-face vigilantes. In the book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, the co-author, Camille Kingsolver, writes she learned the hard way that’s not how you win people over to not eating factory-farmed meat. Nobody wants to be told what to do, or that they are eating the wrong things. Look at the healthcare crisis, for example. Doctors have been telling people for years to avoid bad foods, and it doesn’t look like anybody is listening. There are more links between the healthcare crisis and not eating local than you can even imagine, but that’s for another post. Ever notice how the prevalence of chronic disease follows the expansion of commercial agriculture???
Anyway, I figured if I could get one more person to be more contientious about what he or she eats, I will have accomplished something that means a lot to me. And, let’s face it. The hubs is the likely target, since I do the grocery shopping and cooking. He doesn’t have a lot of input in what we eat at home… But, I did have show him the movie “Fast Food Nation” so he’d quit getting fast food for lunch. So far, we’re commerical ground beef-free!
I’m not saying I’ll never eat factory-farmed meat again. That’s impossible. People invite us over for dinner, and I try to be gracious. Sometimes you’re just really hungry and can’t be choosy if you’re away from home. As the article points out, that factory-farmed meat is 99% of the meat consumed in the U.S. But, I do recall each time that I have eaten it since the beginning of September. These days, I’m thinking about where all the food I eat comes from. There is a saying “You’re thinking about this way too much.” I say that’s never a bad thing.
Week 2 and I’m on a roll… This is fun!
Breakfast: homemade granola (I substituted local black walnuts for all the nuts and local honey for the maple syrup)
Lunch: leftover white pizza from Sunday night and a local salad with feta cheese and homemade balsalmic vinegarette
Dinner: grass-fed beef pot roast with carrots from my garden, potatos from my father-in-law’s garden and farmer’s market onions. Braised in 12 oz. of Mountaineer Brewing Company Stout Ale (okay for drinking, but better for cooking) and 2 cups Wolfgang Puck organic veg broth. Throw in a bay leaf, salt and pepper. Voila!
Snacks: homemade carrot cake muffin (local carrots and applesauce), string cheese, local Rome apple and local free-range hard boiled egg
Breakfast: homemade granola, milk
Lunch: leftover pot roast and a side salad from the cafeteria
Dinner: Calzones made with local flour, onions, spinach, all-local homemade red sauce, hot peppers, and not local goat cheese.
Snacks: carrot cake muffin, egg, string cheese, apple … do we see a pattern here??
Breakfast: granola and milk
Lunch: Roasted tomato soup
Dinner: Open-face roast beef sandwiches with leftover pot roast and gravy, local mashed potatoes, and homemade hamburger buns made with local flour
Snacks: apple muffin (local flour, apples, eggs–I left the pecans out), egg, Cabot snack cheese and apple
Lunch: leftover open-faced roast beef sandwich
Dinner: Italian wedding soup with venison meatballs, carrots from my garden and local spinach. I hate to admit, but I used store-bougtht chicken broth, but it was Wolfgang Puck organic free-range chicken stock.
Snacks: same as every day…
Lunch: the best BLT I’ve had in a while from Bluegrass Kitchen. I love this place cause the food is awesome, and guess what? The bacon was from Jackson County. I also had their blue cheese coleslaw, which I highly recommend.
Dinner: Graziano’s Pizza. Booo! But it was good and I was busy handing out 5K packets to pre-registered runners for the 5K on Saturday. Convenience food. I also bought some Starr Hill Brewery Red Ale on my way home. The brewery is in Charlottesville, VA. 241 miles away. I checked…
Lunch: Pork BBQ from the food vendor at Pumpkins in the Park. Not even sure the name of them.
Dinner: Fettucini with Meatballs made from venison and homemade sauce. Almost 100% of this meal was local. The breadcrumbs in the meatballs weren’t. Everything else was local or is on my list of exceptions. This is getting easier the more I do it.
Breakfast: two eggs and whole wheat toast with peach jam I made last year.
Lunch Roasted Tomato Soup. I am wearing out this recipe. I made a double batch and froze most of it. Wish I had this recipe when tomatoes were in high season.
Dinner: Stouffer’s Vegetable Lasagna. Hey, when Mom offers to make dinner, you can’t turn it down.
We also drank a bottle of Fisher Ridge Pork Barrel Red. This is my new favorite red wine. Sorta spicy. And, its from Putnam County. Good stuff for $14 a bottle.
Here is my recipe for venison meatballs. Last year, we must’ve put up 15 pounds of ground venison in the freezer. The problem with deer meat is that it has a wild taste, which limits you on using it in place of ground beef in some recipes. I found this meatball recipe from Simply In Season, which I’ve checked out from the library a handful of times. It’s a pretty nice cookbook, as it is organized by season, and has a section for all-year things like breads and sauces. The recipe is specifically for venison, but I’m sure you could substitute lean beef.
1 lb. ground venison
1 egg beaten
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. diced onion
1/2 tsp. garlic
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Mix all ingredients thoroughly and form 1 inch balls. Bake on a greased baking sheet at 350 for 30 minutes.
These freeze very well, too, BTW.
Well, I’ve made it 4 days…
Breakfast: omlet with 1/4 cup egg beaters and 2 free-range local eggs, filled with all local potatoes, onions and red bell pepper, and goat cheese.
Lunch: Tricky Fish!! (Thumbs up and perfect score on “Behind the Kitchen Door” on WCHS news) I like to eat here because a lot of their food is organic, free-range and most of the meat is from local farms. I had 2 crispy chicken tacos with red beans and rice. Too bad Charleston doesn’t have more places like this to eat.
Dinner: I had the salad (all local) and PB/J sandwich I packed for my lunch and didn’t eat. BTW… peanut butter is my “10th” exception. I also made a homemade balsalmic vinegarette that is better than Kraft’s.
Breakfast: Got up early and made biscuits and tomato gravy. I thought I’d never had tomato gravy before. (My mom told me I had.) To be honest, I’d never even heard of it until a few years ago. It’s a “country thing.” Basically, you make gravy and add diced tomatoes and crush them with the back of your spoon a little bit. My mom said that she made it a few times when I was little, but she’d never heard it called “tomato gravy,” just creamed tomatoes. At any rate, Jeremy said his Mawmaw Jones used to make the best tomato gravy. She would brown some bacon and use the bacon fat for the roux for making gravy. Then when she was finished, she’d put the crumbled bacon back in the gravy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Here’s the recipe I used and it was pretty darn good. Next time, I’m using bacon, though.
Lunch: we took Sandy to the Olive Garden for her birthday. I had Grilled Shrimp Caprese and gratuitous amounts of bread sticks and salad.
Dinner: Okay, here’s where I messed up. I wasn’t planning on eating dinner. Big lunch at the OG. Well, Jeremy bought some wings at Sam’s Club that afternoon, and took them up to my mom’s to make while we sat around a fire pit drinking non-local wine. (She had some opened she wanted to finish…) And I had some wings.
Breakfast: oats with milk, coffee and creamer
Lunch: Roasted tomato soup (all local) and Olive Garden leftovers
Dinner: a local salad with feta cheese and homemade balsalmic vinegarette and the best white pizza I’ve ever made. Made the crust with local flour. Topped the pizza with some homemade bechamel sauce with local basil, and topped the pizza with tomato, roasted garlic, a diced cherry pepper, carmelized onions, spinach (all local) and goat cheese.
The good news is that Thursday, when Jeremy went to the WVU game, he stopped by Ike and Tiff’s to see their new baby boy. And he left their house with this:
Eating local is becoming mainstream. “Locavore” was actually the 2007 Word of the Year in the Oxford English Dictionary.
And, today, this was the featured post on the Hungry for Change Blog. Robert Bates puts it best by saying we’ve heard a lot about the evils of our industrialized food system, but not a lot about the small farmers producing the foods we are seeking out.
Also, today is the first day of the Eat Local Challenge. And, I’m not starting strong… The problem is, I am trying to clean out my fridge of the non-local stuff. I don’t think it makes much sense (especially in this economy) to throw out perfectly good food.
Breakfast: omlet with two free-range egg whites (local) and 1/2 cup of egg beaters (cleaning out my fridge), diced potatoes, onions and red peppers (all local), and mozzarella cheese (not local).
Lunch: Roasted tomato soup (all local ingredients, from previous blog entry), baked potato and carrot cake muffin (local ingredients: all purpose flour, eggs, carrots, and applesauce in place of pineapple.)
Dinner: left-over spaghetti. Not local. Ragu and Barilla. Like I said, I am cleaning out the fridge…
Not too shabby, but I know I can do better.