Tuesday, 20 November 2007

North America

Gosh, it's been a long time since I last wrote on here! Please accept my apologies, but I've been to New York, on business and to Canada to visit a friend. Of course, this trip raised the issue of whether I should try to continue the whole eating British thing while traveling, although it didn't take too much thought to realise that this would probably result in me starving to death. To be honest, I don't really know if Britain exports much food, this is something I shall try to investigate in the near future. Anyway, in the end I decided to try to eat local food as much as possible. Of course, since North America is so huge, it isn't really a challenge to live of American food, so I'm fairly sure that most of what I consumed while away would have at least been produced in America.

The friend I visited in Canada told me that at the moment it is popular there to try to eat food that has been produced within 100km of where you live. I thought this was interesting, since it's basically the same idea that I have, except adapted for living in a country the size of Canada. As I say, living off food produced somewhere in Canada (or North America) isn't going to be too much of a challenge and it isn't going to help the environment all that much either, so limiting things to a certain radius from home would be more relevant. I had been impressed at how much interest there appears to be in Britain for eating locally produced food, but I was surprised to find similar trends in other countries as well. I suspect that the primary motivation in most cases is environmental, whereas this has never been one of my major goals. Rather, my aim has always been to try to raise awareness of how much great food is produced in Britain. I suspect that, in Canada at least, everyone already knows that they produce a lot of good food! Maybe someone can comment on this? I visited a farmers market while I was in Canada and I was really impressed with the range of products on offer, everything from live chickens to pumpkins. I took some pictures, but I still use 35mm film, so I'll post them once I've had them developed.

New York was an amazing place to visit, not least because they seem to really know how to eat over there! :-) Good food, huge portions and decent prices (compared to the UK, anyway), what more could you want? One notable meal was at a place called "Trattoria dell'Arte" on 7th Avenue between 56th and 57th. I think this place must serve the thinnest pizza possible, while still actually having a base. Actually, if anything, it was more like a water biscuit with pizza topping then a pizza, but it was really good. I was glad that it was very thin because it certainly made up for this in it's other dimensions!

Other then that, we ate at a variety of less notable places, but the food was always good, especially the bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. I plan to investigate if it's possible to buy bagels made with only British ingredients, or if I would have to start making them myself.

Well, I said I would try to eat local, but I have to admit that I didn't really find out where any of the food I was eating came from. I did, however, make more effort with beer. The first night there, I asked in the hotel bar if they had any local beers, to which the barman shook his head and suggested that "Samual Adams", from Boston, was the closest they had. A couple of pints later, I could say that this was a pretty good beer, although not really as local as I would have liked. The closest I was able to get, at the rotating bar at the top of the Marriott Hotel at Times Square, was "Snow Dog" which was produced in Brooklyn, if my memory serves me correctly. I didn't enjoy this beer all that much though and I think the waitress was quite surprised that we were happy to pay the 7 USD per person surcharge for sitting in the rotating bar, just to have a beer that you could have anywhere (they seem to specialise in cocktails judging by the menu).

I think that's probably more or less enough for one post! But, on my return to the UK I was pleased to see that Sainsbury's is still selling just as much fresh, British fruit and veg as it was before I left! I've never noticed before that you can still buy British tomatoes towards the end of November! Maybe my earlier concerns about not getting enough vitamins through the winter were unnecessary? We'll see, watch this space!

1 comment:

etittley said...

In Canada, were you visiting London? Ungers Farmer's Market was my favourite there. A market not so much for the farmers to sell their wares, but a market for the farmers to shop at. And farmers understandably like supporting local farmers, so the produce was usually as local as seasonable feasible (the bananas weren't local ;) ).