We're an ordinary family, complete with picky eaters, budget concerns, and time management issues. But to prove that "eating local" works - even for busy families in cooler climates - we're trading Chick-Fil-A and goldfish crackers for grassfed meat and local produce. Join our adventure in learning to eat (sort of) sustainably for the summer!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wagon? What wagon?

Oh, hai!  You're still here?

Well, that takes a load off my mind.  Here I thought that with my three weeks of partially non-local debauchery, you'd have wandered off by now.

So, yeah.  That happened.  I had stuff going on, and my husband was out of town, and the kid had summer camp and swim lessons and gym class and art class, and writing on the blog got pushed waaaaaay down on the list of stuff to do.  I didn't even keep track of my menus or my shopping, that's how far down it was.

We still got the CSA basket, and I still hit the farmers' market (when I wasn't walking 60 miles to raise money for breast cancer research).  We ate out a lot, but mostly at places that are sort of defensible, at least when you're in a hurry and desperate.  For example:

- Chipotle, where the kid gets a cheese quesadilla and I order pork so that I get the stuff that's "naturally raised," whatever that means.  At least they make their own guacamole there every day, out of innovative ingredients like avocados and lime juice.
- Wendy's, where the kid gets chicken nuggets and oranges, and I get either a salad or something chicken-based.  No miserable CAFO cow meat for us!  Plus, although it's a nationwide chain, Wendy's is headquartered in Ohio, so it could be worse.
- Bruegger's Bagels, where the kid gets a buttered bagel and I get a bagel with scrambled eggs and bacon.  At least they make the bagels locally, even if they are importing the ingredients from who-knows-where.
- Chick-Fil-A, where they don't serve cows, they use them as advertising.  Least defensible of my choices, probably, but very, very tasty.
- Bay Diner, a new local restaurant that probably serves Sysco's finest, but at least it's a locally owned business where the waitresses are getting to know us by name.  Also - chocolate chip pancakes!

We also went to Cedar Point, where we ate healthy, all-natural local food like cotton candy and doughnuts and frozen lemonade.  And today we're going to the county fair, where I will attempt to eat an elephant ear the size of a garbage can lid.

What can I say?  Nobody's perfect, least of all me.  BUT ...

I haven't bought non-local crap at the grocery store.
I haven't eaten any beef that wasn't pasture-raised (although I really, really wanted a Reuben the other day)
I have only eaten one meal in the car, and that was because we had a total of 20 minutes between activities to drive 15 miles and eat lunch.
I took a dish to a potluck that was entirely local (except for the olive oil and vinegar), and nobody even noticed.
I haven't wasted that much of my CSA food, since I've managed to squeeze in extra vegetables in some old recipes (Grandma's spaghetti sauce tastes just as good if you add a pattypan squash, half a green pepper, and a chopped mildly spicy pepper to it; egg burritos benefit from extra green peppers and yellow squash, not to mention lots of cilantro).

So, since I have to wrap this up because I have to pick up my daughter and take her to Chuck-E-Cheese for lunch, I'll just end with this:
Eating locally is a journey, not a punishment.  I'm trying my best, but even the best of us jump off the wagon with both feet sometimes.  But I'm getting back on the wagon again ... tomorrow.

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