It’s happened again. It’s lunchtime, and you’re reading your email while eating lunch made at the local sandwich shop. For some of our fortunate comrades, the local sandwich shop is indeed an excellent option. For the rest of us, we resign ourselves to the ‘rest-of-Maine’ working reality. Even in a warehouse full of local foods, we COMOCer’s give the neighborhood store its fair share of business.
Yesterday, coming back from Caribou, I pulled over at a vegetable stand with the idea that I’d let the kids out of the car, buy some green beans and carrots, and call it a good, healthy roadtrip. We ended up buying some beautiful looking kale (perhaps because I felt that it was generally underappreciated in Aroostook County) and another shopper, a nurse, asked us how we cooked it. I explained the basic idea and added, “You know, it’s acutally one of those foods that travels to work just fine once you’ve cooked it…” and that launched us onto which supposedly healthy veggies made us curl up our noses after being shlepped around in a handbag all morning.
How to bring your local food to work with you. It’s not just a matter of principle – it’s a testament to one’s ability to be organized, to plan ahead, and to think creatively about a meal more than an hour from now. Not skills I’m all that rich in. Ideally I’d work from home and throw home cooked goodness together while successfully keeping the baby happy and COMOC bookkeeping stellar. (I’m seeing a new version of the 1950’s vacuum cleaner ads, here).
And then, two bolts from each side of the blue…a friend, and a veteran cook and parent…gave me a clue: he takes all the leftover fresh veggies on Sunday and combines them into a ‘ratatouille’ of sorts that gets him through Monday and Tuesday. Not bad. Not high-fallutin and that suits me fine. Got me a few funny looks from the team in terms of aesthetics and construction techinque, but definitely an improvement on yet another BLT.
Then SLOW FOOD sent an email around with a $5 challenge they’ve launched for Sept 17th – a challenge to cook Slow, and cheap. If anyone should be pros at this combo, it’s Mainers – especially working Mainers.
Check out the link: $5 Challenge
I also really loved the post on their Homepage about a ‘Lunch Coop’ where 6 people took turns making lunch for eachother – another one of those ‘good-in-theory’ ideas with lots of challenges. However, we pay in some way for convenience, and it’s a shabby deal to pay for it with our health. Particularly when we are loaded with local produce!
I’m waiting for the eye-rolling to start when this email cycles back to my team who have been holding down the fort while I spent 4 days in Aroostook County. But I keep thinking of the nurse who didn’t know how to cook kale…and the local food distributor who hasn’t figured out how to consistently make meals and pack lunches. I turn 30 next year, and there are a few things I’d really like to have figured out.
Order tomorrow, and order with lunches in mind!