...and eating our normal diets--but tastier!
Yesterday we went to the local farmer's market and picked up an absolutely incredibly assortment of local mushrooms from the vendor we call "the mushroom lady." We sauteed them in local butter with salt, pepper, and dried tarragon. Yummy.
We served the sauteed mushrooms on top of non-local brown basmati rice cooked with non-local chickpeas as well as onions bought at the farmer's market. On the side? Very old broccoli that was well past its peak. (At least it was still moderately green.)
So a lot of this meal was not local, I guess. But the ingredients which were not local were items that travel well without refrigeration and can be shipped in bulk: rice and beans. If we are going to eat foods from elsewhere, eating things that do not require airplanes and refrigerators is certainly more sustainable.
I love cooking easy vegan meals. (Yep--this one is not vegan because I used butter--but if you want to make it vegan, just use olive oil....) Although we do eat meat, dairy and eggs, I'm drawn very much to the vegan ethic--not due to animal rights as much as to the arguments of Frances Moore Lappe (Diet for a Small Planet) who explores the impact on the world's poor of raising grain to feed animals rather than people.
Come to think of it, that is precisely the reason I am committed to buying more sustainable grass-fed meat from local farms. Although a diet high in meat products (even responsibly-produced meat) is not truly sustainable, raising animals on a diversified farm can contribute to the productivity of the land. (Cough cough, *manure*, cough cough, rather than synthetic fertilizers.)
Feeding grain to animals that do not naturally eat grain is bad for animals, bad for humans, and bad for the planet. On the other hand, raising cows on land that cannot grow grain or vegetables easily is an active plus. I still have a lot more learning to do about this issue. Any sources to recommend?
Thinking about what Lappe says about the wasteful system of raising corn to feed to cows rather than people makes me wonder what she would say about raising corn to feed cars rather than humans. (I keep waiting for the bumper sticker that says "No Food for Fuel." I'll put it right under the "No Blood for Oil" sticker I have hypothetically stuck to my forehead....)
That was quite a digression from the recounting of our menu, wasn't it?
For dessert: grapefruit we picked up at a grove stand in Indian River on our drive north from South Florida.
Makes up for the dead broccoli....