Monday, August 18, 2008

August 18, 2008 - Spreading the Word

Can I help my friends feed their families better?

As I struggle to find a direction for my blog I found myself away with a good friend who went to the market. She is a smart, educated woman with two children. I mention this because she came back with a plethora of processed foods in boxes. Stuff I have a hard time figuring out how a smart educated woman with two children would buy. I am sooooo not perfect and I know that so I helped to put the stuff away and tried, in my head, to figure out how I would parlay that stuff into food me and my son would eat. As I did that I came to the realization that there are times when I will have to give myself over to processed food. This was one of those times and I would be grateful as I was going to be fed. Besides, she also bought some of the best lobster salad I have ever had.

So here is a run down of what was in the larder.

I asked her to get lemonade but all they had was Newman's own. I don't like to buy that one because it has High Fructose Corn Syrup. She knew I didn't like it but didn’t know why. I resign myself to the fact that sometimes that's all there is. Instead she got Hi-C lemonade boxes. From evil to greater evil.

Chips Ahoy refrigerated cookie dough with colored mini chips (I couldn't even count all the ingredients)
Shake N Bake
Sugar free (i.e. Artificially sweetened) popsicles. Since she has a diabetic condition I guess I can understand that one.
Orville Redenbacher butter flavored microwave popcorn
A case of bottled water
Lay's salt and vinegar Stax
Aunt Jamima pancake syrup (corn syrup with a HFCS chaser and a dash of caramel coloring)
Eggo Cinnamon toast frozen waffles
Bagel Bites
Bagged romaine lettuce form California (we are in farm country)

I’m no journalist. I get my information from what I think and hope are informed sources; Michael Pollan, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, Babrara Kingsolver, the film King Corn, the Park Slope Food Coop’s Linewaiter’s Gazette, Gourmet magazine, Vegetarian Times, NPR shows like Leonard Lopate and Radio Lab. I mostly trust these sources. I do not trust the food industry and government agencies that would argue that irradiation is the answer to e-coli in our food rather than looking at the production of the food itself.

I, as do many of the people I know believe the food system in this country is broken and do our part when we can to be active in small ways; buying local when possible, cutting down on packaging, eliminating plastic bags from our lives.

Now I know I could be doing more to save food and out planet like…
Not buying all those yummy things from Trader Joe’s that come in frozen trucks or train cars from places far away.
Not buying cheese from the Cowgirl Creamery and going without Parmigiano Reggiano.

For now I will stick with trying to eliminate HCFS from our diets, buying local when possible and not buying anything with ingredients I can’t pronounce.

You get the picture. I’m not perfect and will never be but what I am trying to do more and more is feed my family food. Real food. I got so much joy making my partner’s birthday dinner and really it wasn’t hard. The whole experience from the shopping to the preparation made me happy. I just have to be more focused on doing that more.

As I was writing this I was wondering if artichokes could be grown in the Northeast and found that there are people doing just that. Why? Because I wanted to know whether or not I could buy them and still reduce my carbon footprint. It does seem as though there are people trying to cultivate artichokes in this region but not on a large scale. I am including a link for a blog entry that addresses just this.

When I replayed my few days away, I realized that we actually ate very little of that processed stuff and a good time was had by all. When I go back I am going to plan a few menu items and treat my friends.

School will be starting in two weeks. Now I can start planning lunches and figuring out how to make lunch at my son's public school a more enjoyable experience.

Thanks for listening.

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