Monday isn’t usually a leftover night in my house, but after a weekend of company and a 48-hour storm that did wonders for Colorado’s snow pack but little for my desire to run to the grocery store, my refrigerator was running on empty. On the menu: Sloppy Joes, whole wheat pasta, and frozen sweet corn from last year’s farm share. All leftovers. A little starchy. Not a good way to start the week.
So there I was, 45 minutes to go until dinner, trying to rescue our meal while working on spelling with one child and negotiating a spat over a ball with the other two. I opened the fridge one more time, more as a stall tactic than as an honest attempt to find a fresh addition.
Then I saw them. Artichokes. Two enormous green globes. I was so happy I could have put on a clown face and juggled.
Artichokes are in season…in California. Out in the Golden State they are at their peak from March to May, according to the California Artichoke Advisory Board. Here, they won’t be in until September, according to the crop calendar put out by the Boulder County Farmers Market. This is why my blog says “Dispatches from a (progressively more) local kitchen.” If I ran an exclusively local kitchen, my family would have spent this past winter eating lots of storage onions and pinto beans.
But back to the story. It’s now dinnertime and my kids are happily sucking on artichoke leaves, thrilled to be eating with their fingers under Mommy’s watch. Suddenly my two-year-old announces she doesn’t want to eat anything on her plate except the artichoke, to which my rule-enforcing four-year-old replies: “But then you don’t get dessert. Oh, these artichokes ARE dessert.”
In reality, we had yellow cake. But isn’t that the tension of trying to eat locally and seasonally? I say no to so many things my kids see at the grocery store (not those grapes because they’re from Chile, not those strawberries because they’re not organic). How can I resist these seasonal but not local artichokes? Especially now that I know how highly esteemed this thistly green vegetable really is.