These Were A Few of My Favorite Things
Yesterday was the first distribution of shares at our CSA. As always, this early in the season the offerings included lots of greens. We got lettuce, bok choy, and kale. We also got radishes, turnips (with the greens, which are good eating when cooked), garlic scapes, basil, and strawberries. One young CSA member couldn’t wait till she got home to dig into the strawberries:
In the CSA newsletter there were two recipes that reminded me that even in a group of local food enthusiasts, The 250 makes my eating habits a little different. The first recipe was for Kale with Balsamic Vinegar and Capers. I can get a local balsamic vinegar, but capers are the immature flower bud of a Mediterranean vine.
Part of being a locavore is getting creative with what you do have, so if I really want to make that recipe, I could try some other tangy food instead of the capers. Maybe finely chopped cornichon pickles?
The second recipe was for Sesame Bok Choy with Scapes. Well, I don’t have dark sesame oil anymore (nobody seems to be growing sesame seeds locally, never mind making oil from them). There was fresh ginger in the recipe (which comes from Indonesia). I could substitute some wild ginger for that. But the ingredient that made me pause and realize how much has changed for me was cashews.
Cashews are, or used to be, one of my favorite foods. They were my go-to snack if I was hungry after a long work day–I’d buy some from a subway platform vendor and munch away while waiting for the train. Unfortunately, they come from South America and I live in New York. My culinary creativity comes up short trying to think of a substitute: nothing else tastes like a cashew.
But what is interesting is that until I read that recipe I hadn’t thought about cashews since starting The 250-Mile Diet ten months ago. I don’t even glance at them when I walk past the platform vendors. This got me to thinking about other favorite foods that I haven’t missed because I just don’t think about them anymore: bananas, avocados, peanut butter…I’m sure I’d still love them, but I think I have to declassify them as “favorite foods” because it was surprisingly easy to forget them.
I’ve been too busy celebrating each new favorite food as it shows up with the season, most recently asparagus, sugar snap peas, strawberries, Hudson Valley camembert cheese, and mulberries. It seems my taste buds are more excited about what they can have than what they can’t.