Friday, January 7, 2011

2010 Eat the Yard Recap: It Was Mostly Salad

Last January I made a New Year's resolution that we would eat something from the yard every day, even if only a spring of parsley or a twig of thyme. Despite some eye-rolling from one who shall not be named, we did a better job of living up to this self-imposed challenge than I would have expected.

I stopped keeping daily records within a month or two -- about the length of time most New Year's resolutions last. But looking back over the past twelve months it's clear that the 2010 Eat the Yard Challenge made a difference in our lives. Laying down a formal goal turned out to be consistently motivating and inspired the little bit of extra daily effort that made it possible to rise to the occasion: dashing out at the last minute for the qualifying sprig or twig, for instance, or taking a flashlight out into a dark winter yard to gather a handful of lettuce.

We ate dinner at home just about every day during 2010. Not eating at home now seems like the very rare special event that happens when far-away friends come to town or some emergency comes up. Restaurant food or take out food simply can't compare with our own home-grown and home-cooked bounty.

Out of 365 days, I think we were at our own table all but about ten of them -- a wedding, a couple of unexpected trips to the hospital, some excursions with friends and family, and one day last February when we got stuck in traffic coming back from San Francisco so stayed in Sausalito watching rainbows over the Golden Gate bridge and having dinner with an old friend who always responds to a last minute phone call.

Apart from the peak-of-the-season feasting in the summer and fall, it was mostly salads that got us through the full twelve months of eating from the yard. One of the realizations this year was how easy it is to keep the salad greens going continuously. We had to buy salad makings a few times to get us through the occasional Lettuce Gap, but I don't think there was ever a time when the backyard did not provide something that could supplement the nightly bowl of tossed greens -- tomatoes or arugula or edible weeds like miner's lettuce.

So now it's time to keep moving forward with the 2011 Eat the Yard Challenge and our own personal tournament of champions (chompions?), the Salad Bowl. Let the games begin!

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