29 August 2009

100 Issues for 100 Days :#13

#13 Real Food

Today I went to the Eat Real festival at Jack London Square in Oakland. Initially, I wasn't even sure if I would go. My friend Ashely had invited me to volunteer at the festival and since I knew that I couldn't commit to that, I decided not to make any plans. But this morning, I knew I wanted to check it out and I'm so glad I did.

The idea behind the festival is to showcase affordable and good for you street food as well as staging cooking demonstrations and contests. All the food plates were under $5 and there were also plenty of free samples. I spent under $20 and I was there from 2 p.m until 9 pm. The majority of my money was spent on beer but I still managed to have plenty of free samples by spending time with the brewers and learning about the different types of beer and how to make them.

I tried some raw milk and learned about the benefits of it. I also tried some delicious plums and great jams and olive oils. I got to watch two sets of butchers go head to head and break down an entire quarter of beef. And the best thing about it (other than all the free beer) was that I got to see where my food started out and where it ended up. Everything was fresh (and delicious) and most importantly, I knew where it came from and even got to meet the people who farmed it.

It was nice to know that the food i ate didn't have to be expensive to be good. The one plate of food that I purchased cost $5 and it was a plate of collard greens and ribs with a sample of catfish. I was completely full the whole day and buzzed for about 90% of it. I don't know if these Eat Real festivals will continue throughout the nation but they should. We've moved so far away from our farms to our tables that we don't know what's good for us and what's bad. It was nice to reconnect but what was even nicer was to be full and not break the bank.

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