Culinary offerings in America's national parks are about to get a lot tastier. A new initiative announced by the National Park Service last week outlines guidelines for healthier concessions in parks, including the use of local, sustainably produced foods whenever possible, reports the Washington Post. It's all part of first lady Michelle Obama's healthy food initiative, and, at least if the food at a kickoff event in Washington, D.C., last week is any indication, the concessions will be light years beyond the usual wan hamburgers and club sandwiches:
The new era in park service food was on display at last week's event, as chefs from major concessionaires dispensed free samples of menu items, including bison tenderloin, black bean sliders, sweet potato cakes, chilled strawberry rhubarb gazpacho and summer fruit spritzers.
The WaPo story also quotes local food crusader Alice Waters, who unsurprisingly is a fan of the program. She recounted a time when she'd been shocked by the lack of quality concessions at Mesa Verde National Park. Luckily, being Alice Waters, she had a solution.
The Chez Panisse founder and her distraught traveling partners were regrouping outside when Waters realized they were standing in a patch of purslane. Waters fell to her knees, picked bunches of the edible leaf vegetable, washed them and whipped up a purslane salad. "I always travel with olive oil and salt," she noted.
Now those of us who aren't quite so culinarily resourceful will be able to enjoy something like a freshly foraged salad.