Interview with Marilou K. Suszko, Author of The Locavore's Kitchen

Marilou K. Suszko talks about the importance of eating local and her new book, "The Locavore's Kitchen."

| October 2011 Web

Marilou Suszko

Food writer Marilou K. Suszko has been advocating for, teaching and talking about (not to mention cooking and eat) great, local food for decades in the state of Ohio. In her new book, "The Locavore's Kitchen," Suszko shares information on finding, buying, storing and preserving local foods, as well as more than 200 recipes that highlight seasonal flavors—including these recipes for making flavorful stocks from leftover kitchen scraps.

What inspired you to write "The Locavore's Kitchen"? 

A love of fresh, homegrown food; gardening; farming and agriculture; and the ability to write. The time was right to offer what I know about the increasing focus on local and seasonal foods. People are returning to the way generations used to eat—in natural rhythm with the seasons. And they are getting back into the kitchen to cook from scratch, so there’s a lot of learning and teaching to do. I’m hoping that I am at the very least inspiring a new generation of cooks to get back into the kitchen and teaching them how to make the most out of what is in season, both at mealtime and preserving it for later in the year. I won’t say that "The Locavore’s Kitchen" is a revolutionary idea…just reviving interest in some pretty simple ideas about how we eat.
What, in your opinion, is the importance of eating local? 

Let’s boil it down to the number one reason: flavor. What people will notice immediately is the taste. There’s a very good chance that most people have lost touch with what truly ripe and seasonal foods taste like…so genuine and flavorful. The longer a fruit or vegetable has to ripen in nature, the better it is on your plate. An added benefit, and you can ask any chef who uses seasonal foods on their menu, is that because the flavor is so good, you can choose and use simple recipes that complement, not compete with the flavor. This is where people first get hooked on the idea of local, seasonal, homegrown foods. If the flavor, texture and quality of the food weren’t there, it would give people little reason to dedicate themselves to seeking out locally grown foods. The other benefits of buying locally grown foods just naturally follow.

Keeping your food dollars in your local community is good for the local economy. Don’t keep it a secret from friends and family about where you bought the foods they ooh and aah over. Talk about the farmer's markets and local farms and talk up those products. You are the best advertising for the farmer or producer. Growing is their strong suit, but not always marketing themselves.

Locally grown produce is simply fresher and keeps more of its nutritional value as the distance between you and the product is greatly shortened. 

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