Although I always buy local meat and poultry, and I try to buy local produce as much as possible, I had no idea what I was in for when I agreed to host James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith (authors of The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating) at my book club. We take a lot for granted when we use rice, sugar, olive oil and lemons, for example. In the end even James and Alisa found it hard to believe that we had cooked the entire dinner with local ingredients (though I have to admit we extended the range to 150 miles at times).
It was an eye-opening exercise. We managed to chase down local canola and soybean oil, learned that the largest salt mine in the world is in Goderich, and found a great flour mill in Arva–all close to Toronto.
The challenges of eating locally vary depending on where you live. Everyone has to make compromises, and don’t forget, “almost” all local is good, too.
My biggest tip for cooking locally? Keep your ingredient lists short. Or have a 100-mile potluck dinner, so everyone can share the fun and aggravation!
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