Organic food is what we are meant to be eating. It contains no additives, preservatives, fertilizers, or pesticides—widely associated with various types of cancer. It is not genetically modified—widely believed to cause organ damage and other serious health problems. It has not been sterilized with radiation or ammonia, like most fast food meat. Organic farms are required to constantly test both their products for nutrients as well as their irrigation water (non-organic farms use “sewer water” that can contain biosolids like heavy metals, lawn pesticides, gas, detergents). Convinced yet?
A few weeks ago, Slow Food USA challenged Americans to make a meal that costs five dollars or less per person—about the cost of eating fast food—to prove that eating pure (not processed) food doesn’t have to be expensive. It also had the corollary effect of proving that cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as rice and beans. According to Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel, more than 30,000 people took the challenge, and 5,500 events were held that day. Me? I attended Slow Food Urban San Diego’s event in Little Italy and then devoured Chef Chad White’s $5 stew at Sea Rocket Bistro (recipe below). I also asked some fellow San Diego food bloggers to chime in with the $5 recipes they love, and I hope they will inspire you to cook for family or friends tonight. Nothing brings everyone together like a home-cooked meal, and there’s nothing better than being in control of the good ingredients going into it!
On September 17th, Slow Food USA challenged the nation to cook a meal for $5 or less per person to prove that real food is an equally affordable alternative to fast food. From Slow Food Urban San Diego‘s (SFUSD) event at the Little Italy’s farmers’ market to the Let There Be Bite goodie bag giveaway at Sea Rocket Bistro (tasting their $5 stew and much more), it was decidedly an eating extravaganza. Above: SFUSD offered various recipes with ingredients that could all be found just steps away at the market.
As some of you know, I am giving away a Let There Be Bite cotton tote packed with award-winning products to one lucky winner who submits a $5 meal recipe by September 25th. Click here for details. But if you happen to be in San Diego on September 17th, don’t miss two fun events being held in celebration of Slow Food USA’s national challenge (as well as a chance to win a second LTBB goodie bag!).
“30th on 30th“—held on 30th Street on the 30th of each month in North Park, San Diego—is a food and drink event that promotes a handful of neighborhood restaurants while also encouraging the community to come together and celebrate chefs who value sustainable and local ingredients. Eaters can enjoy an affordable bite and one of San Diego’s renowned craft beers in front of the establishments, so people can essentially “food hop,” if you will, from one place to another. In the end, it’s a bit like a food-obsessed block party, and—in the eighth largest city in the country—patrons are able to enjoy the communal bounty of just one tasty street.
I have a love-hate relationship with San Diego. Maybe “hate” is too strong a word. I love the weather and natural beauty; I “regret” the lack of culture and good food. I have discussed this dilemma with many San Diegans—why is San Diego, the eighth largest city in the country, bigger than foodie playgrounds San Francisco and Seattle, so devoid of intellectual curiosity and an ambitious restaurant scene? The two go hand in hand, if you ask me. If you’re not curious about the outside world, and, let’s say, never travel to places other than Las Vegas (Disneyland for adults) or Hawaii (San Diego on steroids), how do you expect to compete as a cosmopolitan city if you don’t know what other cities have to offer? Hone your taste buds by eating a shrimp po’ boy on toasted buttery bread in New Orleans; or paper-thin egg pasta with Brussels sprouts and pancetta in North Beach, San Francisco; or Szechuan soup spiked with chili oil and scallions in Flushing, Queens; then tell me you don’t demand more from your chefs back home. I don’t blame it on the chefs either. Try making an inventive meal and having someone who thinks “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade” is tops push it around on her plate.
Here I was on a mailing list for the last year for a farm dinner outside of Portland, Oregon, and I had neglected to look in my own backyard (don’t tell the locavore police). It was my Pilates teacher—between administering punishing sets of stretching (I am officially not flexible)—who told me about a farm dinner happening outside San Diego at Sage Mountain Farm, known for its sustainable and organic produce.