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My #eatlocal challenge – week 1

My #eatlocal challenge – week 1
My #eatlocal challenge – week 1
My #eatlocal challenge – week 1
My #eatlocal challenge – week 1

As part of Slow Food’s #menuforchange campaign I’m taking part in the #50MileMeal challenge this October, only I’m going one further by sourcing all of my food within 50 miles, rather than just one meal a week. This project was something that I’d actually been thinking about for some time because despite my love of food I have a shockingly poor understanding of the journey it makes to my plate. By taking on the #50MileMonth I am hoping to:

  • To reduce food miles and packaging waste
  • To celebrate local produce and traditional food production techniques
  • To play up to my eccentric reputation
  • To determine once and for all if I would survive the zombie apocalypse
  • To have something new to blog about

Now that I’ve laid out the premise me explain how I have survived week 1.

Bread

My living local challenge began at 1 am last Sunday. The guests I’d invited to celebrate my last night of food freedom were now tucked up in bed and snoring. I was not in bed. I was stood amongst the debris of picked candle wax and empty wine bottles, feeding my bread. Or to be more accurate feeding my sourdough starter, Boris.

This pulsating mass of fermenting flour has become like a precious child to me. I lovingly tend to him every day, feeding him when he is hungry, wrapping him up warm when the temperature drops and singing to him to sleep at night…wait what? Boris is getting stronger and will soon reach maturity, providing me with a source of much needed carbs.

Ingredient sources:

Wessex mill wholemeal, white bread, and rye flour purchased at Natural Bread Oxford.

Salt

At the end of September I put the following request on helpfulpeeps:

‘I need a large Tupperware of clear sea water for a food project. I can offer a bottle of elderberry gin in return’

Ever since this post strangers have been sporadically appearing on my doorstep brandishing vats of seawater and demanding gin*. I think my housemates are concerned that an aggressive temperance movement is menacing our neighbourhood.

After boiling off the excess water I was able to produce a respectable quantity of sea salt for my store cupboard. Now my food tastes bearable.

BTW if anyone is planning a coastal trip the gin exchange is still open, you can even select your preferred tipple from my vast alcohol collection. I hasten to add here that the offer is limited to seawater only. If you turn up at my house with sand pebbles or driftwood gin will not be forthcoming.

Ingredient sources:

Sea water from the coasts of Devon, Sussex lovingly collected by the helpful people of helpfulpeeps.

Butter

‘[Butter], the most delicate of food among barbarous nations’

– Pliny the Elder

Unless I wanted to be living off boiled vegetables and misery for the next month it was essential that I create some sort of cooking fat. I settled on butter because despite the march of global warming olives are not yet abundant in Oxfordshire.

You are supposed to shape butter with a dedicated set of paddles and mark it with a butter stamp. I settled for using two salad spoons  and a wax seal because my hoard of kitchen equipment is currently lacking an archaic dairy section.

Ingredient sources:

North Aston dairy cream purchased at East Oxford Farmers Market and salt from the Atlantic (see above).

This week’s biggest challenge

On Wednesday and Thursday I attended a proofreading course at which an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet was cruelly provided.  My course-mates tucked into steaming pots creamy risotto and platters of churros dipped in silky chocolate sauce whilst I unclipped my be-tupperwared salad with quiet melancholy. Resisting those churros was the hardest thing that I have ever done.

*Of course none of my gracious seawater suppliers actually demanded gin that would be terribly un-British. All liquor was freely given.

Twitter @foodfromscr_tch

Rebekah Forty


The Slow Food blog is welcoming contributions on the topics of Food, Farming and Agriculture. The contents may not entirely match the views of Slow Food, but reflect the journeys of the authors. To write for us please click here

 

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