I took a break from my “9-to-5” a few weeks ago to cook for a living. I have enjoyed cooking for years, and enjoy most any chance to share some food. On board the Local Mobile food truck, with Curt and Ashley, I had an opportunity for a new experience as the “guest- chef-of-the-day”. More accurately, I was the “guest-chef-that-invited-himself-of-the-day”.
Downtown at Fairpark on a frigid, but sunny day, I cooked and served the menu special – my own recipe of “kickin’ chicken chili”. I turned a small profit. I had a fantastic time. And I learned one valuable lesson to share with everyone … don’t buy local.
“Buy Local”. “Shop Local”. “Source Local”. We’ve heard it proclaimed throughout the country and throughout our local town of Tupelo. It’s become a war cry for small business, but sells short the real truth about these businesses in small towns, and big towns, everywhere.
In Tupelo, when I order an open face chicken biscuit with gravy on the side, I don’t buy local, I buy delicious! When I go to restaurants owned by high school classmates, I don’t buy local, I buy friendly! When I can put my dry cleaning on the front porch, get a smoothie by delivery, or borrow a cookbook from my butcher, I don’t buy local, I buy service! When store owners know my coat size, my mother’s china pattern, or my wife’s favorite shoes – all over the phone – I don’t buy local, I buy knowledge! When my doctor gives me his cell number and a ride home, I don’t buy local, I buy commitment!
When an orthodontist-wannabe-chef gets to cook for a day on a food truck, I hope you didn’t come by to buy local, but I hope you came to buy fun.
Of course I want everyone to buy local, but we shouldn’t buy local just because it’s local. We should buy local because there is excellence to be found here. Excellent food, service, and product are all readily available from local owners throughout Tupelo, and the surrounding communities. Competition with the biggest and the smallest should continue to drive us all to provide at a high level that we should be excited to support. Not because we’re all local. Because we’re all good!