Thursday, October 11, 2007

Local Meal #1

OK, I’m in. I’m already buying local meat, dairy and produce. My goal is to push myself to find local sources for other types of products (grains?!!). Part of the fun is posting menus and watching other challenge blogs to see what they are doing. I want to participate in that, so I’ll be posting some local menus & recipes. If you only read my blog for the "cute Munchkin stories," don’t worry – I’ll keep up with his entries!

Every "challenge" needs rules, so here is what I’ve come up with. If you want to join me, please do!!! Make up your own rules! Mine are pretty modest:
  1. My challenge is for the months of October & November, then I’ll reevaluate.
  2. Make at least 3 dinners/month using local ingredients and then blog about them.
  3. "Local" means the state of Oregon. Most people do a 100 mile radius, but since the eastern half of Oregon is mostly desert, my 100 mile radius covers the part that grows food. It’s easier to just do Oregon.
  4. Search out local sources for at least one new ingredient/month.
  5. Exceptions (everyone has these for things they can’t find locally!): 1. Anything Munchkin eats – it’s hard enough to find food for a picky toddler and he has a bunch of diet restrictions on him right now. My challenge won’t apply to him. 2. Anything extra that Scott eats – like coffee or Ranch dressing. 3. Spices and oils. 4. For each "local" meal, I’ll allow one non-local ingredient in addition to my exceptions #1-3.

OK, here we go! My first local dinner was far too easy! We still get CSA veggie boxes through the end of October so I made:

  • Tossed green salad (all local except for Scott’s Ranch dressing)
  • Spaghetti noodles (I’ll use my one non-local exception for this one)
  • Homemade spaghetti sauce (Local: grass-fed ground beef, CSA tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers. Not local: spices)
  • Shredded cheese (This required an adjustment since I would normally use Parmesan. Instead, I used Tillamook cheddar. As I said, this challenge meal was far too easy.)
What I learned: The shock – even though I didn’t include Munchkin in the challenge, I actually looked at labels to see where his food came from. Munchkin’s mandarin oranges were from China. Hmmm. Could that be why they’re called "mandarin" oranges?

The bottom line: Dinner tasted pretty good. My spaghetti sauce isn’t quite right, yet, but I keep working on it.


LeeAnn said...

That's funny about the Mandarin Oranges. I remember first noticing that too. It might be the only food product we eat that I will admit should be "Made in China." (Other than imported Chinese foods, I guess.) A good reminder that good things can come from China too.

S. said...

That is always a terrifying moment... when you realize how anti-local a staple of your diet is. This happened to me a while back over bananas (I read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle). I haven't eaten tropical fruit since
: )

Donna said...

I quit buying bananas after reading her book, too. My husband hasn't noticed, yet. :)