Eat Mendocino

2 women, 365 days, 3,878 square miles


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Resolutions

We are approaching the two week mark of eating, drinking and breathing local, and we are very much alive and well-fed. Please don’t think that we have forgotten about our dear readers/followers/skeptics during the kickoff of the big project. We think of you often. The days are just packed; we are in a constant flow of finding and processing food, cooking, cleaning up and doing it all again. Time is marked by the movement and consumption of food, and somehow everything else has to fit in around it. It can be very difficult to formulate complete sentences at the end of the day.

The topic of resolutions is ripe at this time of year. Some may consider this project the ultimate New Year’s Resolution. I don’t see it that way. Probably because I think that most NY Resolutions fail. Also, because this is so much bigger than a single action or intention. It’s nothing less than a New Way of Life. In the last two weeks, I have identified many sub-projects that require much resolve and will be essential to the success of this wild endeavor. I am sure this list will keep growing.

  • Project find local food: This is particularly challenging in the middle of winter and requires much resourcefulness and networking and sometimes requires emergency 300 mile treks for a dozen duck eggs. We are getting better at this every day and with the help of many friends, local food is also finding us.
  • Project endless dishwashing: Every meal renders my tiny kitchen basically unusable. In less than 2 weeks I have completely conquered my dishwashing allergy, with the help of iTunes shuffle on max volume. My friends do not recognize my kitchen.
  • Project cook every day: Preparing everything from scratch is one of the biggest changes – nothing comes from a package, can or box. And there is no such thing as “eating out.” I now travel with a cooler, a mobile pantry and a sharp knife. Huge perk: leftovers. veggiestirfry
  • Project forage/wildcraft: Food is all around us and we have so much to learn about identifying and harvesting wild edibles.
  • Project don’t be a hermit: I could blame it on winter hibernation, but I tend to like having space and time alone. This project has thrust us out in the world, needing to make new connections, spend time getting to know others. We are going to make a lot of new friends.
  • Project think ahead: We have to know what the next meal will be before we get hungry. My new favorite appliance is the crock pot.
  • Project ask for help: Often. We are entering foreign realms like how to cook parts of animals we’ve never seen before and how to cook with seawater. We Google things every day. And we are going to be calling our moms a lot. We will also surely ask for your help. We are already humbled by the gifts and kind gestures we have received.
  • Project learn how to do a bunch of new (sometimes scary) stuff: Like fishing, kayaking, and killing animals.
  • Project inconvenient: This project defies the American standard of convenience, ease and efficiency – and it’s a daily challenge. We must do it every single day even when we’re tired, stressed, heartbroken, menstruating or just don’t want to. Another reason why not being a hermit is good – it’s really nice to cook and eat with others on the days where you are the little engine that cannot.
  • Project diversify: Variety is essential in terms of what we’re eating, and where we can get it. Food fatigue has already set in and we must keep the colors and flavors of our meals varied. This is a challenge in the middle of winter with limited options, but we are getting creative. And we are especially grateful for the farmers’ markets and grocery stores that source local products.
  • Project carb load: Within the first week I had begun to drop weight. Getting plenty of protein, veggies and nutrients, but I had to increase the mashed potatoes ratio in my diet. No complaints about that – especially when swimming in fresh milk, butter and sea salt.
  • Project ‘This might be totally gross’: gourmetlunchI started this guerrilla cooking “show” years ago with my roommate when we went gluten-free. Now we’re taking it to a whole new level. Sometimes it really is (of note, a particularly bland Soviet-style cabbage potato soup in Week 1), and you eat it anyway. Sometimes is is also totally delicious – like yesterday’s gourmet afternoon meal of seared lamb cheeks with fava bean hummus, goat brie and arugula. Best meal of the year so far!
  • Project increase access to local food: This has become a primary goal of mine. So many people are amazed when we tell them how many products are available locally – if you know where to find them. I hope that we can help connect the dots and improve access to local food so that more people can do what we’re doing with greater ease and convenience.

And, finally, Project WRITE. Sharing our experience is just as important to us as doing it. Last night, we set a new resolution: we will each be blogging 2-3 times a week for the rest of the year. We are truly excited that our blog already has a following, and we look forward to having you along on this journey.