A Return to Eating Well, Eating Locally in Western New York

It’s officially been too long since we’ve talked food. Unfortunately, food has taken a back seat in my life, but not even in a good, “oops I forgot to eat,” way. More like a, “there’s no time, we don’t have an easily usable kitchen, look- there’s an Arby’s” way. Okay, I’m not going to lie to you. We missed Arby’s all year, so I didn’t mind it all that much. Don’t hate. But after a day mostly filled with junk, it’s crazy how fast I mentally and physically feel like junk. It’s not even fun.

We were in a great routine for a while, one of the few positives of our Halifax experience. We were cooking pretty much every night, and still eating better than we would have at any restaurant in that town. Both of us lost weight, and were generally feeling better about things. Now, that’s all I can think about getting back to, and strangely, I am in the mood to get even more dedicated to healthy eating than I was before. Like, just-give-me-a-bowl-of-roasted-veggies, dedicated.

The last six months have been a period of really thinking about the things I’ve become accustomed to doing and eating in my life, and rethinking it all. I’ve never been interested in being one of those really crunchy, granola-y people who wears hemp underwear or whatever, nor one that preaches to those around me about “the right way” to eat, where to shop, or what habits to have. There’s nothing that turns me off more than that crap. Yet, as I get older and get closer to having a family of my own, I see how important it is to reevaluate all of my habits- especially the lazy ones like having Arby’s for dinner. Maybe I had it for lunch, too. You don’t know.

I had another eye opener this week while spending time with my lovely nieces and very active nephew. We got to hang out with them while their parents were on a much-needed vacation. Watching those kids eat (or refuse to eat) certain things was another huge wake up call for me. Obviously, most kids are picky eaters, and are happy to eat chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese most days of their young lives. There’s nothing abnormal about that. Seeing it live made me think again about how much I want to instill healthy eating habits in my future kids, and give them all the options in the world when it comes to tasting real food, trying new fruits and veggies, and hopefully opening up their little palates to appreciating the taste and feeling of eating whole foods. I’m not promising I’ll be that mom pureeing and making all my own baby food, I’m not sure that’s reality either. It’s a very admirable goal, but I know our expectations as first time moms are often a lot higher than they have any right to be. It’ll be finding a balance with a skew towards healthy.

When we get home, for real, to stay, after a trip to Florida next week, I’m diving in head first to the local foodie culture. Yep, that means fun restaurants. Ohhhhh yeah. But most days of the week, it’ll be eating a heck of a lot differently than we have been recently. I want to find the best produce, the best quality meats and fishes, and spend time developing simple meals from those staples. Hey, by the way- I need some more input on fish markets in the area. Where do you go?

Buffalo First: Local Guide (BuffaloFirst.org) – A fantastic outline of everything local. Local food, drink, produce picking, and CSAs. PS: joining a CSA is a dream I hope I can actually partake in next year. Waiting is the hardest part.

WNY Farmer’s Markets, by County (BestofWNY.com) – God, I love a good farmer’s market. It will be my goal to attend one, once a week. And I’m interested in seeing many of them, so let me know your favorite spots!

Artisans of the Flesh (Buffalo Spree) – Okay, I know this article is a little dated, but I LOVE the title of it. Also, it has helpful info on area butchers. Which reminds me, I have to get on renewing my Buffalo Spree subscription, (thanks for treating me last year, Buffalo Foodie!)

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Clinton Bailey Farmer’s Market, via Buffalo Chow
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