Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What About the Taco Truck? or Carbon vs. Culture?

I was musing happily, perhaps a bit self-righteously, on my recent refocus on local food, when I drove by my favorite taco truck out on Guide Meridian. That got me wondering. Then, further down Meridian near my house I went by the Asia Market. That got me wondering some more.

Let's say foodshed eating goes beyond local produce week and becomes a way of life for thousands. If John Rawlins is right about our future in the upcoming post-oil economy, we'll have no choice. (For a report on his recent speech at WCC by John Stark, go to http://news.tradingcharts.com/futures/5/7/104000775.html.) As we savor our cream of nettle soup in spring and our baked pears with blackberry wine sauce (Pasek Cellars, Skagit County), are we really going to lose the chance to eat pan dulce (hard wheat flour and sugar!), or taco de lengua (masa! lime slice!) or Thai gaeng dom yam gai (coconut milk!), or falafel (sesame seeds! garbanzos!).

Can we eat a healthy and delicious diet of local foods? Of course. Would we lose more than just the chance to pamper our palates with new tastes? I think so. Food is such a powerful carrier of culture and memory, a link for thousands of our neighbors between memories of home and the new life in the U.S. For native Northwesterners like me it's a daily reminder of the blessings of diversity. I'll celebrate the day when we don't waste our resources on tasteless mega-strawberries from California and Chilean peaches that should have stayed home. I have high hopes for the baby peach tree that, along with four blueberry bushes, is replacing grass in my front yard (all from Cloud Mountain Farm). But I don't want walls along our borders to keep out people, or flavors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No one likes puritans. Absolutism is responsible for a good share, if not all, of the evil in the world. So, let's not be purists about food either. The fun part about trying to eat and buy local is that it changes your consciousness about food. Once your paradigm shifts, it's not at all tempting to buy out-of-season peaches or tomatoes, but some produce ships pretty well. It would be pretty hard for me to go without avocados or oranges for the whole winter, but once my summer fruits and veggies are in, store-bought avocados and oranges are as likely to spoil as to be eaten.
Eat well! Rozzle