American Society For Nutrition

A Night of Local Food

A Night of Local Food

Excellence in Nutrition Research and Practice
Posted on 11/10/2009 at 11:47:55 AM by Student Blogger
By: Emily C.

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After last month's post on becoming a locavore, I decided to show you that I do practice what I preach. It's one thing to make simple meals using local foods, but how about a 5 course dinner?

I can't really take credit for this whole endeavor. When I heard about Foodbuzz's monthly 24^3 event, I knew just the person to help me out: Dan, another intern in St. Louis University's dietetic internship with a culinary focus and both the experience and creativity to conceptualize a fantastic 5 course dinner [see his sketches below].

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As future dietitians, we know that local food is often more nutritious than food imported from thousands of miles away. We shopped for most of our produce at an enormous farmers' market. Not everything is from our immediate area, but we tried our best to get locally grown food.

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A recap on the benefits of buying local food….

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Locally grown food is kinder to the environment and reduces pollution due to decreased transport time.

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Buying local food contributes to rural sustainability and helps support the livelihoods of small farmers, who contribute to agricultural biodiversity.

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Local farms are also smaller, less open to hormone and chemical use, produce more grass-fed or free-range animals, and are more organic-friendly.

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This is what happens when you overcook caramel. Oops. So maybe not everything went exactly as planned.

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Cooking a gourmet meal is hard work. {and I wasn't really even cooking, unless you count shelling 100 walnuts and using my expert blender skills, haha}.

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first course: providing a punch of spiciness paired with creamy and complex sensations, the appetizer featured Baetje Farms Goat Milk cheese-stuffed Jalapeno poppers tempered with creamy country grits and a dark chocolate mole.

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second course: perfect for a fall evening, the soup was a corn chowder paired with Brussels sprout confit, roasted pearl onions, and tarragon oil garnished with jalapeno crÈme fraiche.

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third course: a crisp addition to our October menu, the salad consisted of Missouri green and red apples, fennel, Baetje Farms Goat Milk cheese, and Missouri black walnuts paired with a coriander cilantro dressing.

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fourth course: combining the best of savory and sweet, the entree featured pork jowl braised in cilantro honey puree, poached and roasted leeks served with caramel and chimichurri sauce.

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fifth course: Gooey Butter Cake is a St. Louis tradition, so it would only be fair of us to include this delectable dessert as part of our menu. Pairing the cake with a reduction made from Missouri-produced apple cider provided yet another tie into the local food movement.

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There you have it. With a little (okay, a lot) of creativity, you can use local food in amazing ways. From shopping for produce at the farmers' market to cooking and eating with friends….I can't think of a more satisfying and environmentally-friendly way to enjoy food.

Here's hoping you enjoyed this post and that maybe, just maybe…you'll be inspired to create a local food-centered menu of your own.


13 Comments
Posted Nov 10, 2009 11:43 AM by Jeff Jeremiah
I'm curious how much this meal cost and whether the locally-grown ingredients cost more?

Posted Nov 11, 2009 12:17 PM by Emily
Hi Jeff-thanks for your comment. This meal was around $200(generously sponsored by Foodbuzz), and I think that sometimes locally grown ingredients do cost more, but I'm willing to pay the difference in price to support my local farmers.

Posted Nov 12, 2009 4:28 PM by Rachel K.
Great pictures - food looks delicious! Wish I could have been there to enjoy the meal :)

Wow! What an amazing meal! Love the pictures too.

Posted Nov 13, 2009 5:26 AM by Dan B
Local food!!! Over the past two years the trend in food has started to move from Organic to Local. More times than not local food is organic but it cost too much for small independent farmers to get certified.

Connecting with your local food system is the best way to get great tasting nutritious foods. It is hard not to notice the difference between an apple picked ripe 20 miles away or one from across the country or from an other continent that is picked 2-3 months before it is ripe.

Great post! Maybe the ASN can fund another local adventure were you can highlight the relationship between farmers location, terroir, and quality of they food.

Posted Nov 13, 2009 5:27 AM by Dan B
The food was only $120 right?

I'm really impressed by your commitment to eat local! Everything on your menu looks fantastic.

Here's a question though: how do you eat local in the winter? I'm pretty sure nothing grows in the winter in east central IL, so I'm not sure what to do...

Mica, winter is when we look to the birds and migrate our eating habits, if not our actual bodies. Maybe this where compassionate traders could step in with reasonably priced

Mica, winter is when we look to the birds and migrate our eating habits, if not our actual bodies. Maybe this where compassionate traders could step in with reasonably priced

Posted Nov 15, 2009 2:01 PM by Emily
I know some people can and freeze certain fruits and vegetables. My mom usually does a ton of canned peaches, plums, and pears and makes lots of applesauce. She also freezes blueberries. Otherwise, I guess you just have to do the best you can.

great post Emily! thanks!

Can you come make dinner for me! Everything looks awesome.


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