Learning to Eat What`s Available…

One of the counter-intuitive things about a project like Well Preserved is that our pattern of posting 7 days a week means that we miss sharing major themes of the lessons we`re learning about food.  By posting about the macro lessons of our kitchen it`s like we post about the trees while sometimes forgetting to share an update about the forest.  This is particularly problematic as we`re more passionate about the metaphorical forest than the individual greenery within it so it`s good to remember to take a step back from time to time.

A few weeks back, Dana ran into something (it may have been a passage from Mark Bittman or Joel Salatin) that explained that eating locally meant making a shift from eating what was available instead of what you wanted.  Although the sentiment was pure common sense, it was also a pretty big moment for us; it`s amazing how the words of others can help cement feelings into fact.

And those facts help informing your kitchen.

I`ve found myself reflecting on that statement a lot in recent weeks.  I wish one could plan the timing of such moments but when inspiration hits, you`ve got two options: answer to the bell or try to ignore her.  I`ve tried to embrace the challenge and can feel how our kitchen is changing just by purposefully searching for the items that I have on hand rather than defaulting to recipes, tricks or ingredients I may know.

Learning to Eat What`s Available... February

This particular influence is easier to pursue because of our pantry full of preserves.  Consider today`s brunch:

  • It started with a baguette.  We get a baguette every 2-3 weeks as part of our community shared agriculture program (though this one was bought en route to picking up our CSA today).
  • Laid on top of the bread (not visible) is a sweet-potato humus that came from our CSA basket last week.
  • On top of that are onions (again, from the CSA) which were caramelized with cider vinegar, maple syrup (from a friend`s tree), hot peppers (that we dehydrated), salted herbs (we preserved) and tossed with cheese that we also received as part of our CSA.

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Learning to Eat What`s Available... February

  • The sandwich was then topped with two fried eggs from a local small farm (again part of our CSA)
  • and then topped with pickled hot peppers from our pantry.

I would have never mixed all of these things together before – but the focus on using what we have vs. what we want is creating new and delicious combinations in our kitchen that we would have missed before.  And it`s got me that much more excited about exploring what happens when the first thought isn`t `what else do I need?`

What great things do you assemble with the things you have?

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