Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Locavore's Bookshelf

Growing up, my dad had a distribution company that focused on Texas foods and I remember thinking it was a great idea...mainly because we got to try the free samples. My family always had a garden and a few fruit trees, spent plenty of time outdoors and loved to cook. Eating was always something that brought us together. So, the framework of eating healthy, being in touch with where my food came from was never a foreign concept, but I'm not sure that the 1980s and 1990s did much to promote healthy or whole food. Like most of the kids from that generation, convenience was king and snacks and meals came from packages and cans. The connection to the farmer was lost. The fat free and low calorie diet fads were in style and veggies were found in frozen blocks in the freezer aisle. Products that were flown in from around the world were considered exotic and better than anything we could produce domestically.  

I've always eaten fairly healthy. My roommates would joke about the weird things they'd find in the pantry or fridge after my latest grocery shopping trip. I usually had some sort of herb garden growing wherever I lived, but I never thought much about the importance of eating locally until I got married and started a family. After my husband and I were married, we started a garden. I remember the first lettuce harvest and tasting what had to be the best lettuce I had ever had. Like proud parents we took our young lettuce on a trip with us to visit family and they agreed that the taste was nothing like you could find in a store. A realization came over me that I could grow my own food and it could actually taste good! I started growing more vegetables and herbs with success. Herbs became a quick way for me to put a little of my own flavor into every dish. 

My sister and her husband were living in NYC at the time and she did some work with the CSAs in the NYC area and passed along her knowledge about local eating as well as some great recipes. I remember visiting the  GreenMarket with them and being overwhelmed with all of the colors and aromas. It is really a sight to see. 

When I became pregnant with our son, I began reading more about healthy, local eating and was immediately hooked! I started visiting the Georgetown Farmers' Market regularly and found the produce, fresh bread and eggs to be so much more delicious than anything I could find at the grocery store. I loved interacting with the farmers week after week. It was the first outing I had after my son was born.

Since then, I've read numerous books and online articles about eating locally, visit The Austin Farmers' Market weekly and try to visit farmers' markets when we travel. These titles are some of my favorites and some that are still on my "to read one day" list. If you have any suggestions, please share them by adding a comment below!

Most of these titles are available at the Austin Public Library, some at Half Price Books and just about all of them at BookPeople

Also, the Fall edition of Edible Austin is out and available at the locations listed on their website:

Local Food Books

For Parents
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children by Ann Cooper and Lisa M. Holmes (with kid friendly recipes)
Real Food for Healthy Kids by Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel
(with kid friendly recipes)

Recipes from America's Small Farms: Fresh Ideas for Season's Bounty by Joanne Lamb Hayes and Lori Stein (my sister's recommendation)
In Season: Cooking with Vegetables and Fruits by Sarah Raven (a friend's recommendation)
Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by Farmer John Peterson and Angelic Organics

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to books about seasonal eating and eating locally! If you're not sure, just ask for a few ideas at BookPeople or take this list with you!

Please feel free to post your favorite books about local and seasonal eating or reviews for the books above!

No comments:

Post a Comment