Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Foodie Fun

So, let's not kid ourselves - I've always adored good grub.  However, I have to confess that of late I've been seized anew by all things food-related.  So, for the sake of emptying the brain of the stream-of-consciousness thoughts, here's a collection of random musings on the subject:

1.  I've started a little list of foodie folks, both local and afar:  Suggestions welcome.

2.  I've been delighted by a fresh interest in improving and better marketing the downtown Rogers Farmers' Market.  A group within the NWA Emerging Leaders ( Downtown Rogers workgroup is working with the market and Mayor Steve Womack, and I'm anxious to see good things develop.  Let us know if you're interested in getting involved.

3.  Some other favorite foodie folks the region should know more about: Sarah at The Green Bean,, my dear friend Terese Post of Post Familie ( fame and now heading up statewide culinary programs for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, and of course Mark Bray (chief coffee guru, importer & roaster at World Garden and Benton County Cooperative Extension Agent, all-around super nice guy).  I list them because I think we should all have a round table and discuss changing the (local) food world!

4.  I've been delighted by some recent food developments: World Garden's ever-growing and fantastic doings, the recent UrbanFarming/Triscuit community garden unveiling in Bentonville, the Cobblestone Project's work on "The Farm" ( etc.  Good stuff!  More please!  Of course, I'm also enthused by Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and attempts by the White House to improve school lunch quality.  A recent ramble on that subject:

Our kiddo tells us none of the other kids at her school take their own lunches. Hers is usually one whole grain (PB&J or other sandwich), two dairy (yogurt or cheese and a carton of 2% milk), one veggie (cherry tomatoes, celery, carrots), one fruit (oranges, apples, ...peaches, strawberries) and a "treat" (usually a handful of chocolate teddy grahams or a granola bar).

It definitely takes a little parenting effort, but her health and happiness are evident - plus we're proud every time she begs for a second banana in a day or tries a new food. It's not that there aren't sometimes M&Ms or less pristine foods in our house, it's just that they are the exception rather than the rule. Love this new movement!!

5.  In 2002, a group of friends launched a supper club we fondly called Coterie, an old French word for a small gathering of friends.  It's been up and down through the years, jobs, husbands and babies that have come along since, but we recently resuscitated it in June 2009 with a lively new group of ladies.  We take turns hosting at our homes and businesses, and the hostess usually picks a theme such as Cajun, Soul Food, French, Mexican etc.  We all bring a dish to suit the theme, and there is no judgement if a last-minute recipe accident or time shortage requires an occasional store-bought item.  Lots of experimenting, lots of food, lots of wine and lots of fun.  I share this because I love seeing people in their 20s and 30s who may or may not have been raised in cooking, family-dinner homes try their hand at a domestic trial or two.  Grab a group of friends and try it!

6.  I'm infinitely excited to try a local food challenge with our household and some good friends/neighbors.  Our loose parameters (to be defined in the coming days) include setting a three month challenge for ourselves to eat foods from within a 200 mile radius.  We'll allow a few essential exceptions (most likely olive/cooking oil, for example) but otherwise attempt to eat locally grown and/or prepared foods.  We've timed it with the best produce from our own gardens and the farmers' market.  My biggest concerns are my main protein sources: peanut butter, nuts and seafood/shellfish, which are the only "meats" I've eaten for 17 years.  However, we have a rich supply of local dairy products and other resources.  Even if we don't get it perfectly right, it should be a good, fun, habit-changing challenge.

Enough on all that, I'm hungry.  :)  Thoughts?

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