Tuesday, September 13, 2011

30 days - of local food - hath September

Last Friday night I went over to Alicia Lake's house for dinner. But not just any dinner - an all-local, all-Cape Breton dinner.

You see, Alicia is eating only Cape Breton-grown foods for the thirty days of September. And, she's blogging about it here: cblocaldiet.ca. I wanted to interview her and then write about it for the local paper. But mostly I just wanted to eat a delicious meal and learn more about local foods.

This is what I brought along, courtesy of Mum's garden: tomatoes, zucchini, green peppers, lettuce, sage, and green beans. 

When I got there, Alicia and her husband Doug were whipping up a BBQ sauce, made from stewed tomatoes, garlic, honey, and hot peppers. It had a real zing to it, but also lots of flavour.

Doug went out and starting BBQ-ing pork chops and chicken, and using this sauce on top. Yum!

Then inside, Alicia and I shucked some corn and got it ready for boiling.

And we put together a salad, including these green peppers my very own Mum grew (and is very proud of!). There were also potatoes and beets roasting in the oven.

Here is Alicia - and Doug's chin and hand, looking on - putting more sauce on the BBQ-ing meats. Also note the red peppers roasting - they went in our salad dressing.

Alicia showing me the eggplants she grows, right on her deck! Also, I'm a fan of the colour of her railing, and of her shoes.

Eggplants - not from her plant, but from Blue Marsh Farm in Nevada Valley, Cape Breton - after being grilled. They too ended up in the salad dressing.

Setting the table - with a pile of corn, grilled meat, as well as other goodies like beans...

And so, we ate our fill. Four teenagers - two are Alicia's kids, two were family friends - sat with us three adults, and we all ate until we were stuffed. We ate roast potatoes and beets, green beans, pork chops and chicken, corn on the cob, salad, and a delicious sauce/salad dressing (with no oil or vinegar available to us - as it is not grown or produced on the island - we had to make do with roasted veggies and herbs, all whizzed up in the food processor).

After dinner Alicia and I sat down with tea and rhubarb compote while I finished up my list of questions. We talked for a while - not surprisingly, since Alicia is very friendly and since we are both so passionate about the topic of both food and local community development.

Here is the rhubarb compote that Doug made for us while we were chatting. It was delicious.

All in all - it was a very interesting experience. I eat local a good bit of the time but deciding to eat strictly CB-grown foods for even one evening - much less a whole month! - brought my attention very quickly to what is available here, and what isn't. It really made me think about how vulnerable we are, as an island, as communities, since we don't grow a lot of our own food. Food is a pretty basic part of the puzzle of human existence, and we truck most of it onto the island. Why not support local farmers, get fresh food, and make our communities stronger by doing so?

Do read Alicia's blog - cblocaldiet.ca - and do leave me a comment, if you like.

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