With a Capital EM: I Would Walk 100 Miles… For Jersey Giant Subs
The first time I prepared a raw chicken I literally cried.
I was in my very early 20s and cooking was done only to impress dates (the baked chicken was for a real meat and potatoes guy — things didn’t work out). Other than that I could be found dining out and munching on my specialty — Fruit Loops.
As time has gone on and my relationships have moved past dating to marriage, my cooking skills have greatly improved (although I must say for the price, the rotisserie chickens already prepared at the market make for a much less dramatic dinner time at casa de Caswell).
Anyway, there are a few reasons behind my increased skill level. For one, I got really sick of my friends making fun of the Fruit Loops. Since when is it a crime to enjoy kid’s cereals past the age of 18? But I also have my career as a journalist to thank.
A few years ago at a previous gig I accepted a challenge from my editor — in order to draw attention to the localvore movement I was to eat only foods that were produced or grown within 100 miles for one week and write about my experience.
Great, I thought. Jersey Giant (my fav sub shop in Lansing) is in walking distance to my apartment. Turns out, that’s not what the rules imply. A 100-mile diet means that everything you eat has to be grown, raised, slaughtered, milled, brewed (local beer has to have local hops — told ya it was tricky), etc. within 100 miles. Basically, Jersey Giant need not apply. It was a challenge for sure.
But I learned so much that week. First of all, I’m not really a bad cook when given good raw materials (chickens need not apply). Also the Mooville milk and ice cream produced in Charlotte is honestly the best I have ever had. Ever. Totally worth the drive no matter what your diet plan. And I was able to meet some really awesome people who run in the same crowd as our cover gal — Laura DeLind.
I won’t lie; when the week was over I made a bee line for Jersey Giant and indulged in a Miller Lite, but by no means was the week a waste of time. To this day, I’ve kept a lot of the skills and knowledge I learned close to my heart. I will likely never restrict myself to the 100-mile diet again, but I can also tell you I don’t eat pork chops that aren’t purchased at the Lansing City Market.
Eating such fresh foods opened my taste buds to an entirely new level of taste and enjoyment (that’s a lot considering how much I already loved food).
My advice? Include at least one item per meal time that fits the 100-mile criteria, check out any of the local farmers markets for help or advice and wear rubber gloves when preparing raw chicken.
Tags: 100-mile diet, cooking, with a capital em
Emily Caswell is the Managing Editor of CAWLM. She has a passion for fun, family, friends, shopping sprees, cold drinks and Lansing.