Thursday, October 29, 2015

Seasonal Eating? Pt. 2

Roast beef with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and vegetables
Title: Roast beef with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and vegetables | Photographer: HotBabyHot | Date: 03/29/2007 | This graphic was released into the public domain by the photographer.
As I said in my last blog, I remarked to my friend, Dani, that a certain recipe would be a good soup for Fall. She looked at me as if I'd confessed to being D.B. Cooper. The idea of "seasonal food" was a foreign idea to her.

I was taken aback by her reaction.  Being a "food person," I figured people generally ate; rustic & smoky dishes (sausages, roast beef, pot pie) in the fall, heavy bone warming dishes (mac and cheese, foul dressing, stew) in the winter, crisp fresh greens (spinach, spring greens, asparagus) in the spring, and grilled foods (corn on the cob, BBQ ribs, burgers) in the summer.

Of course, we eat many other things outside of those boxes, and I knew there was plenty of overlap, but I thought seasonal eating was a generally practiced rule of thumb.  Struck by the possibility that seasonal eating wasn't as common a practice as I had first thought, I conducted a poll and asked my readers if they eat according to season.

 photo poll.jpg
Screenshot of results of poll taken at On My Plate: Seasonal Eating?.

Nobody, who took the poll, was strict about eating only seasonal foods.  However, 60% of those polled said they at least try to eat seasonally.  The other 40% claimed their diet isn't influenced by the time of year.  I'd tend to question the accuracy of the second statistic.

Few people, if anyone, enjoy fruitcake and eggnog in April, roast a turkey with all the trimmings in August, or grill ribs in their backyard in December.  Weather and holiday traditions DO dictate, to some degree, when we eat certain foods.

Tradition aside though, in an era of super markets and chain restaurants, we CAN pretty much eat what we want when we want.  Unlike our ancestors, who were limited in what they could eat by growing seasons and geography, we can go to Applebee's in February for those ribs.  We can buy oranges in June, asparagus in October, and tomatoes in December.  They're watery tomatoes, which have been bread for greenhouse mass production, rather than flavor, but they're tomatoes.

While we're technically not limited in what we can eat at any given time, I don't think there's any denying that many foods are going to taste better during certain times of year.  Tomatoes and corn on the cob are going to taste better purchased from a Farmers' Market in August than ones found in the grocery store in March.

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