When I arrived to the US about 14 years ago, one of the things that turned my life upside down was the 24hrs supermarket; mostly everything I needed, whenever I needed! At first I took it as an example of modern society, a necessary and modern schedule for a busy society that never stops. Then one day I realized that I was starting to do all my shopping in one place, I guess mostly out of convenience; I could buy diapers for my newborn girl along with a six packs of beer, a couple of steaks and whatever veggies I intended to use in my salad. Eventually I started realizing how much this shopping experience was preventing me from discovering new foods, local ingredients, but mostly how impersonal my shopping experience was becoming. I grew up in a small Village where I shopped in local stores almost on a daily basis; the butcher, the baker, the vegetable stand, the dairy shop… they shaped the way I intend food. As a regular patron of my local food business I developed relationships with my vendors, as they did the same while suggesting me the special items of the day, sometimes suggesting recipe, and always transforming my food shopping chore into a social and cultural event. Now that I live in Brooklyn NY I have discovered again what does it mean to live and be part of a neighborhood. Yes it’s true I have learned to make my own bread, so there is no need for a daily trip to scout my favorite loaf, but I would not trade now my local butcher with anybody else, I happily shop for vegetables at two Farmers Markets in my area, and I have made friends with all the Korean ladies running all three food stores on my Avenue.
Eating Local is important not just because it helps you understand what food is going to be put on the table for dinner, but overall it helps neighborhoods thrive and grow economically, it offers the opportunity to meet people and always learn something more about food and ingredients that are otherwise most likely taken for granted.