My Eat Local week started out very strong; with shelves full of local foods, I don’t think I’ve had so much delicious and nutritious food options right in my dorm room. Because I didn’t have any consistent access to a kitchen, I planned my meals around foods that didn’t involve a whole lot of cooking. Luckily, my friend Hannah gave me access to the fully stocked kitchen in her dorm building for the cooking I did have to do. In particular, baking the pumpkin I had picked up.
Prior to my Eat Local week, I had only ever seen my mom bake pumpkin; I hadn’t actually done it myself. I decided to give her a call and use her as a reference. She told me to cut the pumpkin in half, take out all the insides, and bake it on a cookie sheet at 350˚ for approximately 30 to 45 minutes or until the pumpkin starts to sink in. I prepared the pumpkin, added pumpkin seeds to the tray, and baked it just as my mom had instructed. The results? Great pumpkin filling that could be eaten with other foods or on its own, along with a ton of crispy pumpkin seeds that provided me with a snack throughout the week. I found that adding some honey to the pumpkin gave it a little added sweetness and the mixture worked well in making sandwiches out of the bagels I bought.
Another food that required some cooking was the wheatberries. I had never tried them before, so I searched the internet for some tips on how to prepare and cook them. Most of the sites I found recommended soaking them in water overnight before cooking, however, I didn’t plan ahead enough to make that happen. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to the kitchen for making the wheatberries, so I attempted to make them in a microwave. Just a little advice: don’t make them in a microwave. It may seem like a clever idea seeming as how wheatberries can take up to an hour to cook on a stove, but don’t be fooled; wheatberries aren’t the type of food that is almost instantly cooked in the microwave. It still takes a heck of a long time! Almost 30 minutes, to be exact. Because I was making them in a pretty small bowl, I cooked them in 3 or 4 minute intervals and had to keep adding water as it was being absorbed by the wheatberries. Though the process was tedious, I ended up making some great hot cereal out of them by adding some milk and maple syrup.
As the week wore on, I was both running out of ideas for meals and getting sick of eating the same things over and over.