Saturday, October 20, 2007

Far afield? Why distance matters

Is there really such a thing as "in season" when it comes to our food? I mean, can't we get tomatoes and grapes and just about any produce all year long? What difference does it make if those tomatoes come from Mexico or the grapes from Chile, we still have our favorites in the dead of winter, right? Ok, you know where I am going with this, so I'll drop the pretense. Yeah, it matters, I think. Food that is in-season and grown locally tastes better plus it doesn't have to travel half way around the world to get to you. Save the carrot, save the world - that's my new motto. Hey, that's catchy, but it seems like I've heard that somewhere before (adjusting horn-rimmed glasses)...

I'm trying to get at least 50% of my food from local sources, which for my house is a lofty goal. I'm starting with getting milk from my local dairy and short trip to the neighborhood farm for some eggs (hubby won't let me put some hens in our backyard).

I'm not giving up tomatoes, mind you, but I am trying to be more conscious about my choices at the market. I'm working to incorporate more in-season foods and more local options whenever I can. To that end, I'm going to post recipes, as I find them, that celebrate what is happening in season. I hope others will pass along their recipes that incorporate seasonal bounty, because some foods aren't as frequent to my menus as others (quinces and hubbard squash come to mind).

So, here's an oldie and I hope a goodie (I'll find out this afternoon, when I make it for the first time): from 1940, "250 Classic Cake Recipes," a Sweet Potato Cake.

1 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups hot mashed sweet potatoes
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Sift flour and baking powder together. Add shortening and beaten eggs to potatoes while still hot; add sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat thoroughly. Add flour and milk alternately in small amounts, beating well after each addition. Add lemon juice. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake in slow oven (325 degrees) for 1 hour. Makes one (8x4 inch) cake.

1 comment:

Seattle Coffee Girl said...

I totally agree with thinking globally and buying locally. I had organic produce home delivered for years, until it suddenly occured to me that eating an organic batch of grapes from Belize in December was creating a huge carbon footprint. (Duh.)

Farmers' markets have replaced my weekly organic produce delivery, and I think it's so wonderful to meet the folk who grow our foods.