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Let's Dish: Will You Only Cook an Item if It's in Season?

Let's Dish: Will You Only Cook an Item if It's in Season?

Today in the New York Times dining section, The Minimalist food personality Mark Bittman shares a recipe for asparagus prosciutto rolls.

Shortly after reading his column, I came across a critique of it on The Kitchn that makes a good point: Although the dish looks delicious, asparagus is completely out of season. Instead, The Kitchn suggests, why not opt for something lighter on the conscience, such as squash or roasted beets?

I'm curious to know how you stand on this issue. While it's not in season, the vegetable in question is available in most supermarkets, where it's often been flown in from Guatemala, Peru, and other warmer locations. Importing produce from South America more than likely leaves a larger carbon footprint than eating locally. Even if it doesn't, it goes against the progressive Slow Food philosophy of eating locally, seasonally, and sustainably. Is it unethical to cook an item when it's out of season? Or is it simply unrealistic to expect us to do otherwise? Where do you stand: Will you only cook with items that are in season?


PinkUnicorn PinkUnicorn 8 years
I would love to just eat seasonally and locally but since I live somewhere that is too cold to grow much of anything much of the year, I eat what I feel like and is in the store as it's all pretty much shipped in anyway.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
OK, so I live in Wisconsin and the season for locally grown produce is short and sweet. All the other times, stuff has to be trucked/flown in. I pretty much buy what's cheapest, which is usually what's in season I guess. I won't buy fresh berries in December because they're usually crappy anyway, so if I need berries I try to make sure the recipe can use frozen ones.
Red-Sharpie Red-Sharpie 8 years
For the most part, yes. Since I get 99% of my produce from the farmer's market (the 1% is mostly bananas) it makes that kind of easy to do. But I also live in CA so I have a huge variety available to me and the growing seasons are long anyway, so it's really not too restrictive (seriously, I am still buying fresh berries at my farmer's market). Eating seasonally makes the foods that are available more enjoyable and special, in my opinion.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i know that the right answer is that i shouldn't eat things that aren't in season, but that's just not realistic seeing as how most of my options aren't going to be only locally grown in season products. i can really see and understand the value of it but it's just not something that i can work with right now.
milosmommy milosmommy 8 years
We try for the most part because I'm not paying $4lb for asparagus or artichokes. But we forgo that if it's something my son really likes such as raspberries. I know that they're being shipped from Argentina so it's supposed to be a big no-no, but when you're trying to get a picky toddler to eat healthy you're going to get him what he'll eat.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
No problem, guess I should have clarified since this was more a post about seasonality. Sometimes when I get to ranting I don't make a whole lot of sense :)
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 8 years
Meh. Commitment to seasonality only goes so far when I have a serious food craving.
syako syako 8 years
Ah I get it! Sorry TLS. But either way, even if you are buying nonlocal food - if you went to the store today for asparagus, they'd be expensive and courtesy of Peru. ;)
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
I love broccoli all year long, but certain things: strawberries and asparagus are ONLY good in season :P
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I was mostly talking about sustainable and local in my rant about affordability, since both categories are way more expensive at my grocery store.
syako syako 8 years
It is interesting that some are saying they only buy what they can afford --- well more often than not, you're probably buying seasonal produce. Reason being is that out-of-season produce is RIDICULOUSLY expensive. I cringe at thinking of eating asparagus in December.
marie-lee marie-lee 8 years
I choose in season and Australian grown (am an Aussie) and local if out much cheaper that way! I am not going to pay a couple of extra dollars for asparagus just to eat it whenever, when I know it wont taste as good as when its at its peak. I'd rather go without and save my $$$.
Vaadsfweytes Vaadsfweytes 8 years
I adore Mark Bittman. He's amazing, and his recipes are always so simple and great.
eatingcookies eatingcookies 8 years
I'm with Mesayme - I have to be able to afford it, which almost always rules out the expensive, out of season items anyway.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I have to confess that I'm honestly not aware enough to know. :(
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Nope, I'll cook it whenever if it's in a recipe that I want. And honestly, Slow Food can bite me. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I'm on a budget, so I can't always afford local and sustainable. If they can find a way to make it affordable, then fine, but that philosophy really ignores the fact that for some people going to the grocery store means ignoring the credit card bill. Hmmm, I guess I'm feeling a bit rant happy today. Sorry, it's bill time, and I'm feeling more than a little broke.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
It's a matter of cost for me. If it's out of season but I can buy it frozen I will. Because when it's cold...we need more than squash and root veggies to get all the vitamins and minerals.
psterling psterling 8 years
I try to cook food that's in-season but I don't always remember what is and isn't in season so I'm sure I make a few blunders. But its something I am conscious of.
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