Since Wednesday I’ve been trying to live a more local existence on the food front. The challenge I set myself had 4 parts to it and centred on using up things I already had in the store cupboards, buying local produce, thinking about the provenance of what I ate and trying not to nip to the supermarket in the car unnecessarily.
So how have I been getting on?
I managed to stick to eating from the store cupboard and not going on a supermarket or food only trip in the car. I didn’t manage to only buy things from the area I had defined, partly because the labelling is not always good (it often just says grown in UK, sometimes it does give the region), partly because I had three business meetings where I had very little control over the food or drink on offer and also because I only managed to find two English wines on sale despite this being English wine week! I also learnt I have enough food in the house to survive a siege…..and that making your own bread is good fun and a lot tastier even when it doesn’t go quite right.
So here are the things I had, I’ve noted new purchases in brackets:
Not at all local (can i ever eat them again!):
Mint and other fruit infusions (need to find a UK grown versions or use fresh from garden when possible), avocado, Serrano ham (have tracked down a few UK air dried hams), cheese – Parmesan, various Norwegian cheese. I had one truly local cheese from Suffolk as well; I can probably switch to almost 100% UK cheese going forward but would only have about 5 choices if I stuck strictly local. Cashews (oh but I love cashews there’d not be many nuts on a UK based diet – cobnuts and walnuts mainly), coffee, chocolate (imagine a future with neither chocolate of coffee……..), white tea, tinned tomatoes, spices, dried pasta (I could make my own as often as possible), chick peas, butter (Danish!), black pepper, sugar. Flatbrod, chorizo (I’ve now found a local supplier hurrah), lamb salami, Spanish wine (Rioja), white wine from Chile, cassis (looking for a UK producer), rice – risotto and basmati
Within my local area definition:
Filtered tap water (mind you I don’t know where it comes from do I?), pork meatballs, rapeseed oil, fresh herbs (from the garden), paneer (yes it was made in Leicestershire) – new purchase. Maldon salt, cider (bought), mushrooms (bought), bacon, sausages (bought), mince beef to make burger (bought – this and sausages from a good farm shop I have found). Mayonnaise and ketchup – both locally produced but might not be completely locally grown. Salad leaves (bought), homemade stock, asparagus.
From the UK but not specifically local or not known if local:
Cauliflower, spinach (bought), baby turnips, tomatoes (local ones not yet available these were IOW), yoghurt, flour and yeast to make bread (I know I can find local alternatives for the flour and will be switching). English wine (from Kent), frozen broad beans, Worcestershire sauce.
Not bad but not an outstanding performance – lets see how things go for the next three days. I’m thinking the bigger challenge will be to keep making the right choices after the seven days are up.
4 thoughts on “#livelocal: the first four days”
A life no coffee or chocolate is no life at all! I have to agree with you… we could eat just what we have in the house and be good for a long while!
Excellent post! From your list, I think I’d find it hardest to survive without chickpeas, tinned toms and nuts. Oddly, I wouldn’t miss choccy and coffee that much, but no rice would be a severe blow.
I think it is a good practice for people to see how locally they can eat – it looks like you learned a lot about your eating habits really fast. I know I have difficulty with this as well, but I think it is good to continue to try to be more conscious about where our food comes from.
It was a great challenge and I’d recommend anyone do it – even if you have to take a bigger radius it helps you realise how far stuff travels much of which doesn’t need to. I’ll be doing a summary in the next few days.
Karen: I definitely couldn’t give up coffee or chocolate for more than a few days – they are one of life’s pleasures.
Fran39: Tinned tomatoes (in facts tomatoes full stop) would be very hard. Imagine what it was like before they got to Europe tho!
JennDZ: I’d really recommend it – you suddenly find loads of great local stuff you hadn’t noticed before.
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