US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Local foods: Not only good but delicious!

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On Sunday, I was drooling over my TV while watching Super Iron Chef on the Food Network, featuring the secret ingredient of the White House garden.

The show pitted two pairs of amazing chefs, Bobby Flay with White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford against Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse. For those unfamiliar with the show, the chefs compete by preparing a four- or five-course meal based around a secret ingredient in one hour.

The real stars of this show, though, were the fruits and vegetable from the garden along with locally sourced, organic proteins and plenty of talk from the chefs and judges about how much better these foods taste than the ordinary veggies.

Obviously this was not filmed in the middle of freezing cold January, but the show was a great showcase for local, sustainable foods. And because nobody (except maybe a mother) can force you to eat your veggies, this type of promotion is important.

Of course there's the danger that such a show would make people think such food is for elitists, but garden-fresh produce is as cheap as a package of seeds, a patch of ground, and some hard labor. I've heard many stories of people turning to gardening due to the recession, and I personally want to learn more about urban farming. The White House garden feeds visitors at a local soup kitchen as well as the president.

As I said in a previous post, local food systems might just help a variety of issues--food waste, obesity, hunger. On The Daily Show last night (it was just a great episode), Michael Pollan also outlined how intertwined food and health and economics are. But beyond the techincal arguments, it just tastes good.

I highly recommend watching this episode of Iron Chef and hope you are as inspired as I was by it.