Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rocket science

Barack Obama may have won himself few friends among heartland Americans when he decried the soaring cost of arugula (that's Yankee for rocket), but the arugula munchers of liberal DC sure shared his pain. 

That hurt, however, was eased a little by today's Taste of Georgetown food festival, the highlight of a sun-soaked weekend in the capital. For $5 a plate, gastronomes could nibble away at some of the city's snazziest restaurants, which had all taken a stall to ply their wares. From Pad Thai, to steak sandwiches, crab cakes, to cupcakes, the festival met your every snacking need. (With the exception of Louis who still prefers to take his calories in liquid form.)

The event went some way to compensate Daddy J for the arugula-free week he had just spent on the road, where his culinary highlight was a McDonalds quarter-pounder in Paducah, KY. So much for his plan to eat only meat once a week; over here once you leave the veggie-friendly enclaves of the big cities, there is little else to eat but animal flesh. The further you venture into the countryside, the harder it is to find the fresh produce that puts the bread and butter on the tables of Joe and Jolene Six-pack. It is easier to find a farmers' market near a DC subway than on the road in middle America. 

Locating decent produce isn't the only battle round here. For a country built on cattle and corn, the cost of eating fresh food is scandalous. I'm not just talking about the cost of shopping at Wholepaycheck - sorry, Wholefoods - but the cost of stocking your cupboards with anything other than the drugstore staple of microwave Mac 'n' Cheese. Friends last week remarked that it was cheaper to eat out of an evening than to shop for a modest meal for four. 

The root of the problem is that away from farmers' markets, quantity easily trumps quality. With money worries soaring for the average American, it is too much to hope that will change any day soon. 

1 comment:

bex4th said...

America - land of the free (vote?) I'm not sure about... certainly land of heavily discounted products.
Of course to get such great bargains the retail price of quality items are enormous. Still... I'm a sucker for Whole foods. Or at least the original one in Austin where you had bulk bins of herbs.

Loving the seaside chic Louis has adopted.

Loving the blog too - reminds me of my US life