Wegmans to Walmart, Massachusetts to Missouri or New England to the Midwest. However you look at it, it’s a huge adjustment upsetting every aspect of one’s life and having to cope with it. It’s what happened to me, a pickup and start over kind of adventure.
Back in December I posted about my trek, I was moving to Missouri from Massachusetts to be with my Greg. I quit my cushy job which had me traveling all over the country and even to England. I left behind everything I knew including friends, family and supermarkets in order to venture out to the “scary” Mid West. The upheaval of my life was just beginning.
I have to admit that I was no stranger to moving. I started off in Buffalo, NY. Went to school out in Ohio and then after a semester, moved to a school just outside of Syracuse, NY. From there I lived in Kentucky, Florida and Maryland, all before settling in Massachusetts. Essentially though, the East Coast was always my home. This latest move however was very different not only in terms of geography, but also considering customs, culture and “basic” comforts I had grown to enjoy.
Plain and simple, the South and North are very different. I always joked when I lived in Maryland that just as soon as you crossed that Mason Dixon line it was another country. I don’t point out this difference to be stereotypical, but instead to point out that they are in fact VERY different. The food cultures of course will be different as when one talks of southern comfort food, you’re greeted with a Paula Deen style of cooking. A lot of it though comes from the accessibility of ingredients.
Major hubs on the East Coast like Boston and New York, give one the accessibility to just about any food one could desire. Not to mention because of their diverse population, there is availability to source international ingredients all the same. In the south there is a more generalized focus towards growing what you’ll be eating. The climate of course effects the growing season for both livestock and gardens and it’s considered normal.
I knew that my semi-weekly visits to Wegmans were at an end as they would probably will never reach Missouri- it’s a hard reality I’ve had to face. Greg or Wegmans…..kidding!!! I did research before I moved but also through my frequent visits to the area I was able to figure out what I would actually be able to have access to. Our little town of Farmington, MO had Walmart, Aldi’s and a local grocer, this subtle fact really started to upset me way before the move even took place. Not to mention my brainiac self decided to embark on a semi gluten-free lifestyle and eating as much organic and gmo-free food as I could shortly before my departure. Trying to adhere to that locally meant a lot of challenges, but it wasn’t impossible.
I thought I had it all figured out in terms of where I would be sourcing all my ingredients. It was December and most of the stuff I wanted and felt I needed was unavailable. It was Walmart or bust. As much as I despise big corporations, I have to honestly say how wrongly I had judged. Yes of course I still don’t care for them much, but they did have access to quite a number of things I didn’t think possible. There was a selection of organic vegetables, albeit it small it did exist. There were organic canned vegetables and even San Marzano tomatoes. Their gluten-free section was small but it absolutely was there. As far as eggs and milk, yup, they had those organic varieties too.
The biggest surprise to myself and a lot of my close friends is just how in depth I went into producing my own food. I vowed to make pretty much everything from scratch. I grew a gigantic garden that I could barely keep up with. Every week (which the season is still happening) I find myself canning almost till the rooster crows just to preserve some of that wonderful freshness that only my garden can seem to yield.
Even as much as I miss New England and the accessibility, I’ve adapted while still keeping true to my my roots. We bought a half of a cow this winter. I knew exactly where that cow came from and how it was raised. It filled a giant freezer with an unbelievable amount of meat. For just $2/lb which included everything from rib eyes to brisket and ground beef, we were and still are living large. If I need my fix of elite ingredients, I’m now finding sources to enjoy in St. Louis. However if my underlying need for Wegmans still prevails (which it always does), then rest assured the closest one is just fourteen hours away. But raising your own food and knowing exactly where it comes from almost has no equal. Just goes to show you that you can find the good in food no matter where you end up.
To full plates and eating your tarte out.