The Comfort of Starbucks
Well, I am not a coffee drinker, but I do like a good Iced Chai Tea every once in a while. Eating locally means I have given up Starbucks and solely hit up locally owned coffee shops for my fix. This morning I was at a local coffee shop called Frothy Monkey here in Nashville. This place is fantastic because they use a lot of locally sourced ingredients, and I can be sure to stick with the Eat Local Challenge. I was in the mood for an iced chai and order a large. As I took my first sip, I forgot that I was not about to take a drink from a Starbucks chai, and was surprised by the flavor. This is when it hit me – eating locally is like giving up the comfort of Starbucks.
No matter where you are in the country – or out of the country for that matter – if you order an Iced Chai from Starbucks you will get exactly the same drink with the same taste from the same ingredients and the same recipe. This is a business model that has worked really well, and why Starbucks is so successful. People know what they are going to get, and they take comfort in that. There are no surprises. Eating locally means learning to be flexible, learning to enjoy new things, and learning to eat with the seasons. There are surprises at every turn. Just when you prepare to make a recipe with summer blackberries, you hit up the market and realize they are gone until next year.
For most, making this shift can be very uncomfortable and seem unreliable. But, the truth is we have lost touch with the way it has always been. It’s only been relatively a short time since we have trained ourselves into expecting this kind of mass consistency. In fact, most of us can probably remember a time before Starbucks. Against popular belief, we actually can teach an old dog new tricks, so I encourage you all to relearn the old habits of moving with the seasons and expecting a drink from one place to taste different from a drink at another place. This is the foundation to eating locally.