Confession time. I have a deep, dark secret that many foodies out there may not appreciate it. Perhaps you may have guessed at it when you happened upon my blog – but didn’t realize what it actually meant. Under EAT Milwaukee it indicates “Equal Opportunity Food Consumption” and gosh darn it, I am all about the equal opportunity food baby. So my confession – I am not a person who you will find touting “Local” or “Sustainable” when it comes to my choices in places to eat or food that is consumed.
I feel this is a tenuous line lately in the food world and I find that it also puts me at odds with other foodies who may exist at this time. I totally dig local and I can appreciate the next Mom and Pop start-up more than anyone – it’s how I grew up, but I know it’s not the only way to enjoy food. Once I attempted to traverse down that long and winding road of local/sustainable food, it was on a date actually. Or not a date….Perhaps not a date cause I left 15 minutes into it. But during that 15 minutes the dude actually gave me some words of wisdom that I keep with me to this day. Amazing, right? He was a local guy who owned a chain pizza place – I indicated that I was trying to only eat local. *Gasp* Really, and why didn’t this date go well? He proceeded to tell me that most of the chains that exist are actually owned by local people, too, so it actually does help to support the community if that is what the original goal is, by supporting these “chains” as well.
Regardless of the length of said date or that it didn’t turn into anything with pizza man – it kinda struck me at that moment. I was being a SNOB! ugh! All those years spent trying to be a special snowflake did nothing but turn me into a food elitist. It had me thinking…and since then, I’ve made a point of eating food that looks good, or sometimes doesn’t even look good. It doesn’t matter where it’s from to me, I’m going to give it a chance. It deserves to given a chance! Plus this mindset has changed the way I look at food and the local economy. Not that this blog will completely give into the Wally World’s of the food kingdom – but I will admit to loving the rehydrated onions on a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Something about it. I know….a lifetime of hail mary’s and a few of our father’s and maybe I’ll get back into food heaven.
So that’s my dirty little secret – I’m not a local foodie or even a sustainable foodie. Lovely vernacular in today’s food world that you won’t often hear me tout, well, often at least. I think it’s great and seriously most weekends you will find me plundering the local farmer’s markets in search of whatever goods the earth has given forth that week. I actually grew up eating whatever my Grandparent’s grew or shot. Seriously! Family photo albums are filled with many a dead thing next to a pretty flower.
My Grandpa had his own beehives and let me tell you – that’s where I’m a snob, on honey or all things fresh. I know what things straight from the ground taste like and not with organic monikers or pesticides to make them beautiful. It was good ole’ 50’s music and a scarecrow scaring away the raccoons to make those babies grow. Honey on pancakes is the next best thing to…(fill in the blank) use your imagination people. Fresh berries picked right off the plant, or homemade grape juice straight from the grapes you grew on the vines. He even had his own special brand of nutcracker he built to crack through the dense black walnut shells. That to me is truly local – grow it, build it, make it yourself.
Food exists as a language and it can be a local language but more than not it’s a universal one. I choose to think of my food as something that can be obtained from all over rather than just locally. Maybe it’s a chain – maybe it’s not. Just like Cooper’s Hawk out in Brookfield has some awesome short ribs – but it’s a chain. I try as often as possible to support all things local, cause it’s your friends and neighbors and you don’t want to look them in the face if you don’t eat their goods. That’s when the arsenic is broken out in your morning coffee.
So there, now you know my dirty little secret. But I beg you – give food a chance, don’t discriminate, it has feelings, too.