[originally posted at EatLocalVT.com]
When people were first telling me about eating local, I liked when I heard about this concept of “wild cards,” which meant that, yes, the food would be essentially what was grown within 100 miles, but that I could make exceptions. Like coffee. Olive oil. Bananas. Chocolate. Maybe citrus. Probably spices.
The list kept growing. I began to get like Navin in The Jerk:
I don’t need anything except this.
[picks up an ashtray]
And that’s it and that’s the only thing I need, is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray.
And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that’s all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle ball. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that’s all I need. And that’s all I need too. I don’t need one other thing, not one – I need this. The paddle game, and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches, for sure.
And this. And that’s all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair.
And I don’t need one other thing, except my dog.
I don’t need my dog.
There were just too many things I would have started to negotiate for, yes, even for just one week, so I tried to simplify. We picked the most essential things: peanut butter (all of us), frosted shredded wheat (6 y.o.), canned peaches (4 y.o.) and coffee (me, but it really is for the greater good). And the rest, to the best of our abilities, is food “grown by our neighbors.”
It’s providing limitless Fascinating Explanations and Interesting Facts, like:
I see from how you’re lying on the floor screaming that the butterscotch pudding isn’t what you wanted. You probably wanted chocolate, right? Well, did you know that chocolate comes from a big yellow fruit? And that that fruit – it’s called cacao – only grows in very warm places? Did Mommy ever tell you about when she went to live in a tent in a place called Belize and helped harvest chocolate in the jungle …
Riveting stuff, I assure you.
But for many of us, the food day was pretty darn good. It was those yummy waffles with maple syrup for breakfast (mine was burnt and slathered with homemade jam before being wolfed down on the way to a.m. drop-offs), Does’ Leap goat Caprella, Plum Hill farm plums, and homemade-with-Gleason-Grains whole wheat sourdough bread for grown-up lunch.
Dinner was homemade-no-machine-needed whole wheat pasta for dinner, also made with Gleason Grains bread flour, cooked, drained, buttered, and tossed with Vermont Butter & Cheese chevre, wilted swiss chard, and halved grape tomatoes from the garden. Some of us had the aforementioned butterscotch pudding for dessert, while others elected to have pure localvore temper tantrums instead. We go on.