Thursday, August 14, 2008

Locavore Experiment: Will No One Think of the Ethnics?

I have not recently commented on the whole locavore experiment. The old man was out of town, so things got pretty easy for a while there. You know, since he's always over my shoulder demanding bananas and avocadoes. Seriously, I don't know why it's been much easier -- just one less person to worry about, but I've also gotten into the swing of things, plus the farmer's markets are so lush right now it makes it easy to find things to eat.

This Wednesday I went over to my sister's place for dinner. She's been very supportive of the locavore experiment. Although, she seems to view it as something of a charity month. I am Oliver Twist, but I can only eat local and it's her duty to give me bread, yogurt, and tomatoes.

Her husband was cooking that night using chickens and broccoli that my sister explained to me, in a very loud voice, "THESE WERE BOUGHT LOCALLY." Not really. But they were local.

The catch was that my brother in law was making mee fun, a family favorite that my dad taught him to make many summers ago. "Mee fun" is just a general word for thin chinese rice noodles. My dad and now Mike make it with a chicken and vegetable stir fry with a salty gravy reminiscent of Thai radnaa. We eat it with lots of white pepper and spicy goodness. Total comfort food.
The catch is that it's made with rice noodles and shitake mushrooms, neither of which are made locally. Besides which, I like to throw lots of sriracha (my sister calls it Asian ketchup) on it and last I checked, sriracha is a province in Thailand, not southern Minnesota. Of course, the irony of the fact that my brother in law, the only white guy in the house that night, was the one cooking the Asian food was not lost my my sister and me, who are also conveniently caucasians and are therefore excused (at least in our own minds) from being able to cook this Asian dish.
So this is the problem. A lot of my comfort foods (pad thai, fried rice, pad krapow) are "ethnic" and therefore contain many ingredients that are hard to come by locally. There are a few really great Asian markets in Minneapolis but, trust me, none of them carry anything that hasn't been shipped, at a very minimum, across at least one major body of water. Will I make it to the end of the month? How would I make it for an entire year without these foods? Do I have to learn how to make rice noodles from scratch? Will no one think of the ethnics?

Eating local is great because it has allowed me to become more aware of local Minnesota cuisine and what's available here and when, but I doubt that I'll be able to give up my jasmine rice for much longer than a month.

PS Today is technically supposed to be Feature Friday, but the item I was going to feature has not appeared in the mail, so I might have to make it a Feature Monday or just skip a week.

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