Trouble With Toast

To everything there is a season | February 6, 2009

In a previous post, I mentioned a corn dish from Ina Garten’s “Back to Basics” cookbook that my mom made over the weekend.  Instead of giving you the recipe (largely because I can’t find it on the web, and I didn’t have time to type it “from scratch”), I thought I’d use it as a springboard for conversation.

The recipe called for many things, but the main ingredient was (duh) corn.  Specifically, it featured the kernels from about 5 ears of fresh corn.  When my mom suggested that we make the dish, I reminded her that it was January in Georgia, but she wanted to make it anyway.  No biggie–there was definitely corn to be had at the local megamart, albeit from somewhere in South America.  I picked it up, we cooked, and the recipe turned out just fine.  However, the kernels were very small, and I didn’t think they had much flavor (the oomph came largely from other ingredients, like onions and herbs).  I bet the dish would be killer in the summertime, when corn is at its sweetest and most succulent.  Then again, when corn is at its sweetest and most succulent, all it needs to be delicious is a little salt, and perhaps a few moments on the grill.

The truth is, sometimes you just want a tomato in December or a sweet potato in July.  And, thanks in large part to the southern hemisphere, we have access to traditional summer produce even in the thick of winter.  But just because we CAN get it, doesn’t mean we SHOULD–right?

I’m not trying to get into the socioeconomic and environmental implications of local (or non-local) eating; there are far more educated and passionate people to talk to if you’re interested in those discussions.  I’m not trying to tear down the global industrial farming institution, or to convince you never again to eat corn syrup, or to presume to understand how each individual reader of this blog makes decisions about food for his/her family.  What I am doing is simply asking–how does seasonality factor into your cooking and dining decisions?  Why?  What are the challenges and consequences of your decisions?

I am interested in reading the responses, as I am constantly waffling between a commitment to eat seasonal and local and a desire to have fewer and fewer limits in my kitchen and in my diet.  It’s patience and temperence versus impulse and instant gratification, and I could definitely use some more ammunition in the fight.

Let the debate begin!



  1. Agreed. Even I make exceptions … but what is in season helps determine what i eat.

    Comment by FoodieBuddha — February 6, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

  2. Buddha: I think that’s a good way to look at it, that seasonality is the rule and exceptions are…well, exceptions. Anything done to the extreme has a tendency to feel too rigid and un-fun!

    Comment by bettyjoan — February 6, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

  3. I have switched completely to seasonal-local because the produce tastes so much fresher. It almost seems artificial to be eating summer vegetables now. I’m 100% into CSA these days!

    Comment by barbara — February 7, 2009 @ 9:42 pm

  4. Good for you, Barbara! Does your CSA let you come out and harvest the goods yourself? If so, have you done that yet?

    Comment by bettyjoan — February 9, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

  5. While I wish I could eat seasonal/local ingredients year round, sometimes you just need certain produce whether it be for a recipe or a craving. Yesterday I juiced a watermelon from Mexico. I needed watermelon rind and I’m not NOT having it because it is out of season. Like an earlier reply you made, there are exceptions.

    Comment by Oxen Cox — February 11, 2009 @ 7:12 pm

  6. OC: I wish I could eat local year round, too. Don’t you feel like people on the east coast have to make more exceptions than, say, people who live in California? I mean, all that grows in January in Georgia are greens. And they’re delicious, but if people get bored with their produce, they won’t eat any at all.

    Comment by bettyjoan — February 12, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: