Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Meal


Each bite of salty, crispy, cast-iron-skillet browned rosemary-olive bread makes my mouth water in anticipation. Then, the sharp tomato juice drips over the smooth, creamy cheese, filling my mouth with contrasting flavors and textures. The crisped bacon crunches in my teeth and I am in pure bliss because this is the most perfect, delicious fall treat I can imagine. I dip slices of crisp, tart apples into creamy-smooth yogurt, and I crunch my way through a carrot that was just dug out of the Connecticut earth. There are many reasons why this meal makes me happy.

I am happy about where this meal came from. Not everything we eat is local, but every week I try to see how well we can get by with farmer's market and in-season products only. Here's how this meal stacks up:

  • Local artisan bread
  • Local artisan cheese
  • Local, organic bacon (from a humanely raised, family-farm pig. We recently purchased a
    half side - about 50lb of meat - at $3/lb)
  • Leftover bacon grease from aforementioned swine
  • Tomatoes from our backyard
  • Local, organic carrots
  • Local-to-DC-where-I-was-visiting-a-friend heirloom, organic apples*
  • Local, farmer's market yogurt

*Greg says local-to-DC doesn't count. But I was in DC anyway, so I think it counts.

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I do my best to put my money where my mouth is - for it is true that artisan products are generally more expensive than their mass-produced counterparts - but I am equally as often surprised that the value for the money allows me to get away with better deals than I thought. Let's take a guess at this sandwich. The loaf was $4, but I only used a quarter of it. The bacon was $3/lb, and we fried up a pound this morning - maybe a third of a pound went into the sandwich. A few slices of cheese ($2), two carrots ($0.40), an apple ($0.50), and two tablespoons of yogurt ($0.50). I estimate the cost at (1+1+2+0.4+0.5+0.5) /2= $2.70 for each spectacular lunch. It took me 10 minutes to make, with two dishes, one knife and a cutting board to wash and one cast iron pan to clean.

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There's not much that I would trade this lifestyle for. I like knowing that every penny I spent on my food went to folks who are working hard to bring back family agriculture, sustainable living practices and all around good values. I like that the meat I ate came from a pig who led a happy animal life (something I feel sure of, because I look the farmer in the eye every week when I buy his pastured chicken eggs and he asks me how Zane and Tori are doing). I like that the food tastes wonderful and that it fills my belly well. I like that I saw two people buy basketfuls of fresh produce using food stamps. I like that in the imperfection of this world, we are all able to live our lives by the principles we believe in, whatever those principles may be. This is what a Happy Meal is for me.

P.S. Greg says I should have called this post "Porky's II", since we had bacon for breakfast and he's funnier than I am


The Raj Man said...

Kudos for taking the pains to know your food's provenance, and for saving money in the process!

Anonymous said...

mmm... deliciousness. And DC totally counts, if you were there already!

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