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Category Archives: Kyle Bessette

Kyle – Day 6

Day 6, Saturday November 25, 2011 11:34pm

Today I decided that this weeklong project is being done in a work week. I just can’t do it anymore. I have had enough of apple sauce, mealy apples, and dried out shepherd’s pie.

Overall though, I feel like the project has been a success, I accomplished what I set out to do. The goal was to only eat local ingredients for the entire week, which I did, excluding the Thanksgiving meals that my family and friends made.

The conclusions that I have drawn are, firstly, that only eating local is just highly impractical, at least if you are trying to start this time of year. If I was making the choice to only eat local for the rest of my life, I would start in late spring or early summer. This would give me access to a lot of fresh produce and fruits. I would make jams and jellies that I could eat later in the year. I would make as much bread as possible early on and freeze it. I would do everything that I could to learn about preservation through canning, pickling, freezing and dehydrating. All of those techniques and the foods produced by them would definitely make eating local during this time of year easier.

The second conclusion that I have drawn is that eating local is just too expensive if you are not subsidizing your food in some way. If you have a CSA or a small garden of some sort, it becomes increasingly easier to eat local. If you know how to cook or have the space and time to do so, eating local becomes far easier. If you have transportation to farmers markets and the local farm stands like the Mazza stores inColchester, eating local becomes less of a hassle. However, if you miss the farmers markets, lack transportation, do not have a CSA, then City Market or Healthy Living are your only options and there prices are entirely too high. Feeding myself was expensive, if I had to feed an entire family, I have no idea how I would afford it.

However, the outlook isn’t entirely bleak. I will definitely be buying more of my staples local, like bread, milk, eggs, potatoes, onions, and garlic. Those products are not much more expensive when bought local and are plentiful. I am also going to increase my organic consumption as well. Just because something is not local does not mean it can not be sustainable or healthy. I think that organic is a perfect substitute for unavailable local foods.

Although this project has been long, frustrating, and expensive, it has also been an amazing learning experience and I can not wait to compare my results with my group-mates.

 

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Kyle Bessette

 

Kyle – Day 5

Day 5, Friday November 24, 2011 11:13pm

Back to the grind. Thanksgiving was great, but no left-overs for me today. I went right back to the meal I have eaten every other day at work. It was so busy today though (Black Friday in retail…FUN) that I just don’t feel like moving out of this chair. I also have to do it again tomorrow (more FUN). I am eating the last of the cheese and bread right now while drinking some local cider (no, not the hard stuff).  I guess I have nothing more to say, so I will express some of the feelings I have been having over the week.

This week, I am working 40 hours and only have 3 days off, one of which was the holiday so it doesn’t count (post office and such) and because I did all of my shopping and cooking last Sunday, that leaves this coming Sunday for all of my homework and cleaning stuff. This week is leaving me drained and the local food challenge is only adding to the stress.

I normally do not buy all kinds of food during my shifts at work, but just knowing that I cannot makes me want to cross the street for a milk shake, or cross the other street for a bowl of soup, or grab a slice of pizza, or get some chocolates. I have these cravings that never flair up normally, it’s just because of I can’t have those things that makes me want them so badly. Our culture is so strongly rooted in freedom and choice that restricting ourselves is painful. If I were completely changing my lifestyle to this, I couldn’t even reason with myself that at the end of the challenge the non-local foods will all taste better because there would be no end to the challenge, that would be my life. Sure I could say that I am helping the local economy and possibly my health (local butter is still butter…and still delicious) but how could I reason with spending so much money and time on food. All of my hobbies (there aren’t many) would suffer along with my mental stability. This whole experience is making me think really hard about what eating local really means and how we can hope to change our food systems when I can’t even change myself for a week, and I know the ramifications. It would help if I was not a picky eater, but still, there are only so many times I can eat potatoes before I want to watch them all burn.

I am realizing that I am ranting (one of my traits that keeps me from actually blogging) and should probably go to bed. I will enjoy the rest of my “meal” and do it all again tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Kyle Bessette

 

Kyle – Day 4

Day 4, Wednesday November 22, 2011 7:43pm

So the chili didn’t happen last night, I was just so tired from work and had to be back there at 10 this morning. I wanted some relaxing time last night so I skipped the chili and went to bed early. I could have woken up early to make the chili, but it snowed last night and I had to clean off my car before work and drive down. I will also be skipping the chili again tonight because I have friends in town that want to go out. I had always planned on skipping out of the project during Thanksgiving, so I guess I will just start it tonight.

For breakfast and lunch it was the same exact thing from the last 2 days, nothing new. The local-depression is fading, especially with the awesome dinner I made myself tonight. I stir-fried one of the chicken breasts with carrots, onions, garlic and some soy sauce (that counts as a seasoning right?) and served it with garlic mashed potatoes. I considered it an anthropological experiment mixing eastern flavors with a western dish like mashed potatoes (extra credit?). It was so good! The chicken was really tender and flavorful too. I was really excited to be eating that meal, especially because I didn’t spend all night cooking it and, after I finish this, I get to hang out with my roommate before we go out with friends. It also helps that the project is on hold until Friday thanks to the holiday (homework is like the post-office and banks, national holidays don’t count).

I can’t wait to have Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow for two reasons, I won’t be cooking it and I get to eat a massive amount of good food that isn’t apples, applesauce, or nasty yogurt. I have not felt this energetic and happy all week!

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Kyle Bessette

 

Kyle – Day 3

Day 3, Tuesday November 21, 2011 9:48pm

Work was a lot easier today when it came to the hunger.  I brought an apple and apple sauce for my pre-break snacking. I ate my pie again for lunch and found my local-depression slipping away, at least for a little while. This is definitely getting easier, although I think I am going to get sick of eating the same thing over and over.  I am going to try to make a chili after writing this post, if I can find the time and a good recipe that doesn’t require many ingredients that I don’t have/aren’t local.

I don’t really have a lot to say in this entry, today was pretty boring, so I will take this time to look over my expenses. At Healthy Living I spent fifty dollars, with the most expensive item being ground beef at $7.99/#. I didn’t really buy that diverse of a selection there, mostly just the staples, milk, butter, potatoes, garlic, etc. Looking at what I bought, there is very little that I could have done with it, maybe made some biscuits or bread, roasted potatoes, maybe made a soup if I was being adventurous.

At City Market I have spent nearly sixty dollars so far. I bought a gallon of cider so I had something to drink other than water and milk. I bought some chicken breast as well, which totaled twelve dollars for two breasts. Chicken normally costs no more than a dollar or so per pound at the supermarket. I am still floored that I spent that much on chicken; if I was feeding more than just myself I don’t know how I would afford meat. I also found that the ground beef at City Market is more expensive than that at Healthy Living, which I find surprising.

Overall, this is costing me quite a lot. I knew that it was going to be more expensive to eat local, just not this much more expensive. Thinking about this is making me sick to my stomach, so I am going to end this post and try to get my mind off of all the money I have spent.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Kyle Bessette

 

Kyle – Day 2

Day 2, Tuesday November 21, 2011 10:16am

So this update is coming in on the morning of Day 3 for reasons that will become clear soon.

Yesterday I worked from 10:00am-6:00pm and brought my shepherd’s pie for lunch along with an apple for breakfast. I decided that coffee (including cream and sugar) would be my other exception. I ate my apple with my cup of coffee and hoped that it would hold me over until lunch. By lunch I was feeling pretty hungry, but my bowl of shepherd’s pie filled me for the rest of my shift.

The hardest part was watching my co-workers eat around me. Between the awesome sandwiches from Top-of-the-Block and the Asian style left overs, my meat and potatoes did not stack up so well. I also over baked my meal Sunday night making it a little dry and lack luster. Luckily I only have a few more days of it.

After shift I swung by City Market to pick up more apples and hit the proverbial jackpot. I found hot-house tomatoes from North Hero,Vermont! I was so excited that I initially grabbed about 4 pounds of the red gold before realizing I still did not have access to peppers to make sauces or salsa. I settled for a pound and planned to make chili. I called Gena (my friend and my roommate’s girlfriend) so that she could look up what ingredients I would need. She got me the information that I needed and further informed me that we were hosting a miniature Thanksgiving for our Ben and Jerry’s co-workers. This threw me back into the “local-depression” (what I termed the crappy feeling I have been having since I started this project). Not only were all of my friends going to be enjoying a fun meal, they would be drinking alcohol, something that I couldn’t partake in thanks to locality, and I assumed that my apartment would look worse than a war zone. I picked up a six-pack ofVermonthard cider so I could at least join in part of the festivities. I also picked up some more bread, ground beef, and some very expensive chicken breast.

When I returned home, the apartment was spotless and filled with the smells of roasting chicken, stuffing, pie, and buttery potatoes. I quickly decided that the project could go on hold because I was not giving up this opportunity. I enjoyed the meal and evening with friends and am enjoying another local apple as I write this.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Kyle Bessette

 

Kyle – Day 1

Day 1, Sunday November 20, 2011 7:07 pm

I woke up this morning with high hopes for the Eat Local Project. The idea is to only eat foods that are made with local ingredients, not just locally made products. We are allowed two exceptions to this rule. My group-mates and I decided to up the ante a little more by having at least one of us (myself) do the project later in the semester, just to see how much more difficult and expensive it would be. Living inVermontand having a background in cooking, I was thinking this project would be a breeze. I was still thinking this up until about 20 minutes into my shopping trip at Healthy Living.

First of all, that store is a maze. The first grocery stores created were designed in a way that guided customers down every aisle so they could see every product available. I guess Healthy Living thought that the traditional layout was some kind of capitalist marketing scheme that they didn’t want to be a part of and decided to layout their store in a completely non-practical manner. There are aisles that are perpendicular to each other, some are rounded, and if you get distracted for half a second you find yourself standing in the middle of a cafeteria interrupting peoples lunch. I was finding local food difficult enough and the stores layout just made it worse.

But, I digress. I had originally planned to visit the farmer’s market yesterday morning, but it was the only time I had to catch up on sleep after having a terrible stomach virus Thursday night. I honestly thought that Healthy Living would have everything that I needed to survive the week with no trouble at all. I was pretty wrong. I hadn’t intended on buying meat because of how expensive it was going to be, but I realized that I could not think of anything to cook without meat as a base. I don’t cook a lot of root veggies, not because I don’t like them, just because roasting, braising, and stewing take forever. I ended up with mostly potatoes, onions, garlic, flour, eggs, yogurt, applesauce, and cheese. I was so depressed and disheartened that I wanted to just email professor Mares and give up.

I then decided to go to City Market in hopes that they might have something else. I was wrong, they had a smaller selection and I ended buying a can of corn to make a shepherd’s pie just to have lunch for the week at work. I broke down and bought a loaf of locally made, organic bread because the thought of going back to my apartment and spending hours in the kitchen was killing me.

When I finally got back to my apartment, I was starving, but had nothing to readily eat besides the bread, cheese, yogurt, and applesauce. I ate a bowl of yogurt (which was disgusting) and set to work cooking. I made the shepherd’s pie (choosing seasonings as my first exception), but did not eat any for dinner because I needed meals during my 40 hour work week at the shoe store. I ate some of the cheese and bread for dinner and was going to continue to cook, but my roommates needed to eat as well and wanted to use the kitchen.

I am in higher spirits now that I actually have something to eat this week and I will probably have a bowl of applesauce for a before bed snack/meal, but if day 1 is an accurate representation of the rest of the week, I might not make it.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Kyle Bessette