Smith A, MacKinnon J. 2007. The 100 Mile Diet : A Year Of Local Eating. Ontario, Toronto: Random House Canada. 266 p.
I found myself feelingly slightly nostalgic as I read the final five chapters of “The 100 Mile Diet” written by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon. Not only was I finishing one of the books I had enjoyed so much when I began reading it, but this was the also last assigned reading. Although I thought these blog posts were going to be tedious and frustrating, I’ve actually found them the books to be very intriguing and each post very fun to write.
Although I was sad while reading this book, the story and information provided throughout the pages kept me intrigued. Alisa and James describe numerous events such as their couple problems, family issue, canning and preserving events, their personal struggles and more throughout these five chapters. They were also able to track down some local foods that they had been struggling to find earlier in the book such as wheat and walnuts. The most satisfying part of this book was being able to compare their local diet adventures to my own journey making my local potato meal.
While reading about Alisa cooking the chestnuts, I was reminded of my own personal adventure making my rough draft of my meal. I was able to relate to her satisfaction when the child enjoyed her baked treat. “She nibbled a corner of the nut. Then popped it in her mouth with a smile and grabbed another” (169). I felt the similar happiness when my grandma and her house guests complimented me on my meal. Although my first draft was far from perfect, it was still a home-made meal made with love
Having grown up in Kamloops, I was excited to hear James grew up in Kamloops but saddened when I realized he had nothing nice to say about my
city. I have always enjoyed living in Kamloops and have fond memories growing up there. While preparing my local dish, I was able to discover even more interesting places in my home town that I never would have found if it were not for this assignment. On a class field trip, I was introduced to the Green Acres Vegetable Farm where I was able to locate local potatoes and onions. Along with the local vegetables, I was also introduced to a whole new part of Kamloops I hadn’t known before.
I thought it was hilarious how Alisa and James would refer to their stored food as furniture. I could just picture their plastic cartons filled with wheat berries, potatoes, onions, and recently rice. Instinctively it made me think of all the boxes I have stuffed full to the brim tucked under my bed for no one to see. Unfortunately, Alisa and James have more boxes and I and are forced to leave them out in plain sight. However, I think they’re taking an absolutely positive view of the situation, viewing the cartons as house furniture.
In the first half of this book, I didn’t enjoy reading James’ chapters as much as Alisa’s. However, in the second half I enjoyed his writing much more. I was intrigued when he investigated whether or not nutritionist would recommend their diet to the general public. I was surprised to realize that I had just assumed the 100 mile diet was healthy, but it makes why James was concerned, considering their lack of some foods. I was pleased to hear the two expert opinions both agreed that their diet was safe and healthy. “And would she, as a dietitian, recommend such diet to the average American? She laughed in a way that suggested she was rolling her eyes, then managed to say, ‘Yes, I would.'” (227). Furthermore, I also enjoyed reading about all the advocates for local food. All the people who experience everyday what I experienced during my local meal adventure. I liked hearing their passion for local food. It was more that just food for them. “We had become a part of the story of our food” (230).
Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy Alisa’s writing as much as I had in the first half of the book. After ready a lot more informational, botanical books, I found her writing to be more like a personal journal. Especially when she was worrying about her relationship in one chapter, and then over it in the next. Not that her food related stories weren’t interesting, but I preferred James’ chapters in this half of the book.
Finally, I really enjoyed how they ended their book. I loved how they were so enthralled in their 100 mile diet that they were excited and devoted to making a local meal, even when in Malawi, Mexico. “We ate it with bayo beans and tortillas and pineapple salsa an chalky local cheese, and ten good friends walked away from the table fed and happy on a 100-mile meal” (247). Just like I was able to meet a variety of new and friendly people throughout my assignment of making a local dish, Alisa and James were able to share their 100 mile diet with their friends and family.
Throughout this entire blog project, I have learned so much about the link between plants, agriculture, the history of domestication, and people. However, I think the biggest learning experience for me was the journey I went on while making my local meal. I was really pleased that we were assigned the first half of “The 100 Mile Diet” at the beginning of the term and the second half at the end of the term. This allowed me be introduced to the idea of local eating before beginning the preparation of my dish. It also enabled me to reflect on my experience after the full process was complete. Moreover, in this entire term of my course, I have been able to learn so much about local, national, and international correlation between plants and people. By eating locally, we are able to effect food production globally. But no matter how worldly the information may be, the most intriguing part of this class has been discovering the new people we meet and relationships we make while searching for the vast aura of flora in our own homes.