Sometimes, you’ve got to just jump back into the water, even if you can’t find your swimsuit.
No, I’m not naked.1 More likely, I’m wearing an ancient t-shirt from a show I’ve no recollection of doing, and sweats covered in house paint. It’s been that sort of past few months.2
But, even if I’m not ready, I have to get back into the water. See, I signed up for something and I’ve got to do it.
That something? One Local Summer hosted by Liz at Pocket Farm.
The goal: from now till the end of summer, once a week, eat an all-local dinner. Or a dinner as local as we can make it. 85% local still gets us an A for effort. The point is to take time once a week to think about where we get our food.
Me, I’m thinking maybe this time I’ll actually fare better than I did during the Pennywise Eat Local Challenge. What? Missed my posts on that one? That’s because there weren’t any. That’s how well I did.3
This time, I figure, hey! More crops are in season. We can do this.
I tell Chopper. He gives me an enthusiastic thumbs up… and then promptly goes out and lands a new job that puts him out of the house five nights a week.4 And, since this week we’re busy the other two nights, and I’ve put it off till the last minute, it comes down to me and my brilliant culinary mind (stop laughing) to produce Belly Timber’s One Local Summer dinner, week one.
And here’s how it goes:
First item of note: For reasons involving utterly chaotic schedules and tight deadlines, I am unable to make it to the farmers market. Go figure. At least this time of year the grocery store’s got more options. On the other hand, I’m in a rush and I don’t have time to do much looking around. Also, we’re between paychecks and I need to skimp. A lot. I remember our eggs at home are relatively local (Stiebr’s Farms in Yelm, Washington, about 135 miles away), and I’ve already got half a Walla Walla onion (245 miles, so sue me), so what better than to grab some local spinach and make a nice big tasty (and easy) omelet! What the hell, I think. I’ll work up to the creative meals later.
So, I get home and I am ready to wash spinach, and then all hell breaks loose.
The dog, you see, has broken a window. Not only has she broken a window, she has decided that her locally-sourced meal of the day will be the bee that is buzzing frantically between the cracked pane and the closed storm window just inches to the outside.
She dives for the bee. Repeatedly. I scold her (repeatedly) and tell her that Very Bad Things will happen to her should she actually catch this bee.
Of course she ignores me, so of course I shoo her away and grab a newspaper, thinking I can reach around the glass and give the bee a quick smackdown.
I do this. My hand slips, the bee flees, and the next thing you know, the outside base of my thumb is bleeding like Steve Nash’s nose in game one of the Western Conference Finals.5
Now, since I (like the NBA) lack a courtside cut man, it took a while for me to get the bleeding to stop, and once it did stop I was in no condition to wash spinach. The mere thought of sticking my heavily bandaged hand under tap water or near a stove was enough to send me running for the microwave.
That’s right. One Local Summer dinner number one: Microwaved eggs.
(Now is our lack of blogging beginning to make a little more sense?)
Oh! Wait! I almost redeemed myself. For dessert, I stepped outside and I ate fresh raspberries and blueberries from the yard and they were quite tasty!6 Better yet, I didn’t even snag my bandages on a raspberry cane!
1. Shameless ploy to get more hits. Shut up, Kevin.
2. Stay tuned for details. I mean it this time. No, don’t leave. Honest. I really truly mean it.
3. My diary for the Pennywise Local Challenge went something like this:
Crap. Farmers market was yesterday, wasn’t it? All right then, let’s try the store. What’s local in April? Produce section should make it easy with the signage, right? Walk down the aisles, and the origin list goes like this: Mexico, California, California, California, California, California, Washington, California, California, California, California, Idaho, California, California, California, California, California, California, California, California, HEY LOOK OREGON!, California, California, California, California, California… and so on. Wow. Microgreens, leeks, and radishes. That’ll fill me right
Day two: We found Penn Cove mussels at the fish market. That’s only (checks google maps) damn… 235 miles away. Hey, we tried.
Day Three: Oh, like I have time to do math. Honey, search the couch cushions for another quarter. I need to buy a radish.
Day Four: I wonder of there’s another farmers market before the week’s out? (Checks listings) Ahahahahah. They all start next month. Ah well, back to the store. Oh, look! Microgreens, leeks, and radishes. Woo hoo! Too bad I actually like to feel like I’ve — oh, I don’t know — EATEN SOMETHING after I’ve eaten something.
Day five: Look, honey, I know Umpqua Valley Lamb is local, but I don’t know if it’s in the budget. I DON’T HAVE TIME TO DO MATH!
Day Six: That’s it. I do not care where it’s from. I’m taking it as an exemption. I can’t afford prozac, so I want my goddamned dark chocolate! What do you think this is, Medicate Local Week?
Day Seven: Free food at your mom’s house? Fuckit. I don’t care if it was imported from Neptune. We are so there.
4. Remember when we said we were going to go freelance and start our own personal chef business? We still are. We’re just starting slowly. Very very slowly. Why? Talk to the Sallie Mae corporation. Tell ‘em we said hi. On the bright side, Chopper’s got the first job he loves since I can’t remember when. Before this blog existed, I can tell you that much.
5. I would like to take this opportunity to note that we here at Casa Belly Timber are big NBA fans, and I am, more specifically, a big Steve Nash fan. I used to hate him, back when he played for the Mavs, because, well, the Mavs. Also, when he had long hair I called him “stringy,” but I was still rather secretly fond of him because he is from Canada and I am from Canada, and us stringy-haired Canucks should stick together, especially when we end up with profusely-bleeding body parts.
6. I suppose you’re wondering where the food photos are, and why I’ve posted a watercolor instead? No, it’s not because microwaved eggs are frighteningly unphotogenic and it was too gloomy outside to photograph the berries — although that does sound like a pretty reasonable excuse. Nope, it’s computer troubles. Again. Remember that lappy? The one that made us so happy back in September? Well Lappy seems to have suffered what we like to call a “surprise,” and Lappy contained my one remaining route for moving photos from camera to computer. But, hey, look on the bright side. If this continues and I keep blogging, either I’ll actually learn how to paint, or I’ll start posting pictures of Chopper at age ten wearing a powder-blue tux.