Thursday, November 1, 2007

Plenty

After finding the website for the 100-Mile Diet, I ended up getting their book, Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally, by Alisa Smith and JB MacKinnon. I enjoyed reading it; it goes through many of the same issues that Gary Nabhan and Barbara Kingsolver cover in their books, but in the Pacific Northwest instead of the Southwest or Southeast. One thing I've noticed, though, is that nearly all of the people attempting the challenge to eat exclusively local foods are adults without young children in the household; Kingsolver is the only one I've read who has children to contend with. And lucky for her, her teenage daughter was interested in food and health, and was willing to go along with it; if I tried it, my biggest challenges would be with my teenagers, who are old enough to have developed a taste for junk food and energy drinks. I make a real effort to eat local foods (defined as coming from anywhere in the state of Montana) as often as possible, but I'm not willing to require my kids to give up on their treats - that makes food a power struggle instead of an exploration.

Having said that, it would be easier in one way to eat local in Montana than in Vancouver: we at least have local wheat and flour. We have an abundance of good potatoes, beef, pork, and lamb, but vegetables are fewer and seafood isn't an option. Salt is tough. Local beers are easy to find, including some brewed in Bozeman, wine is more difficult; there are some wine growers in the Flathead Valley, but I haven't tried their wine yet (and it is outside the 100-mile limit). Once my kids are out of the house, I can see our diet getting more local; I'm not hard-core enough to make it exclusive, but I do enjoy the inspiration of reading about people who are.

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