16 May 2009

Cooking with Seasonal, Regional Food

Have you ever cooked a meal of entirely seasonal and regional foods? Before last week, I really don't think I had.

Walking through the supermarket these days, you will see food coming from all around the world. Though it certainly convenient -- hey, it gives North Americans the ability to eat strawberries in December -- this global food market is also impacting the environment. Did you know that 90% of bananas eaten by people in the United States are grown in South America? How do these millions of bananas get to the U.S. from Brazil? And how do strawberries, seasonal only in summertime, magically appear in the produce section year-round? Let's just say some of your food may have more frequent flier miles than you do. Food is being shipped around the world for buyer convenience, but at the expense of the environment.

As if there weren't enough things to feel guilty about!

I was always overwhelmed by this fact. I felt helpless. Certainly I couldn't change the system. But I don't necessarily have to comply with it either.

When my Eating San Francisco class was assigned the final project of cooking a delicious dish of all seasonal, regional foods, I had a brief moment of panic. Cooking for me usually involves a trip to the grocery store and the use of at least SOME packaged or processed foods. I decided to check out a local farmers market and I hoped something would fall into place.

Lucky for me, my local farmers market was extremely local: USF recently started having a farmers market on weekends and, living on campus, it just doesn't get more convenient than that.

There I found an abundance of food that I would feel guilt-free about eating. Fruits and vegetables that come from local farms are not shipped halfway around the world, and the money goes directly to support small farmers and their families. And of course there are also your fresh meats, eggs, and dairy products. At a farmers market and you can assume the animals were treated way better than any you'll find at the supermarket.

At the farmers market, I met up with local food lover and recent USF alum Lulu McAllister, who secretly wishes she was in Eating San Francisco. She advised me on some ingredients to pick out, and we devised a sort of recipe for a fava bean dip with pita bread and feta cheese.

I put my recipe in a Flickr set. I think it makes more sense visually.

Look at all the delicious dishes my classmates made!!!

Thanks for the great semester ESF!

1 comment:

JAW said...

Laura, your writing is awesome! I think it's so important that people understand where their food is actually coming from! Your pictures are excellent too!

~joel w.