14 September 2007

More Exceptions

1. Balsamic vinegar.

I already had olive oil on my list. I figured I'd want it for cooking. But I wanted to dress my home-grown lettuce for dinner. Usually when I run out of vinegar, I'm happy to substitute lemon juice. That's not going to work for the 100-mile diet.

2. Concentrated tomato paste

I made a marinara sauce for spaghetti that I wanted my kids to eat. When you chop fresh tomatoes, you get a lot of watery juice. It helps flavor the sauce and makes it easier to simmer the sauce for a long time. I don't mind the way a watery sauce looks on pasta, but I was worried about my kids rejecting it before they even took a taste. It was bad enough that my sauce was going to be chunkier than the jar sauce they're used to. So I succumbed to temptation and added a squirt of concentrated tomato paste (the stuff that comes in a tube).

Turns out my exceptions are very particular and mostly imported. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and concentrated tomato paste from Italy, coffee from Central and South America, chocolate from umm... I don't really know. (Even when I can source the chocolatier, I don't know where they get their cocoa.)

Seems okay to me. If I get the majority of my food from nearby, I don't have any issue with purchasing a few select items, even premium ones, from the world at large. But it's a slippery slope where to draw the line. I'll continue to be strict with my exceptions for the month and then see how I feel about the foods I've banned.

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