So my wife’s Tassimo threatened to explode or at very least, it denied her the afternoon latte she so disparately needed yesterday. Hence, I was sent to find descaler in an attempt to not destroy the machine with vinegar. ( My in-laws are apparently defying the strict prohibition against vinegar based descaling in order to avoid paying $10 for 3 packages of citric acid. Poor pensioners risking their lives.) I needed groceries as well so I opted to get my groceries at Wal-Mart to avoid trips to 2 different stores. Sigh. Oh, the extra 15 cents that I saved will surely choke me someday.
It is no surprise to me that there is a standard 80/20 ratio of prepared foods to actual food ingredients in every grocery store these days. But as someone that actually cooks, it really gets me steamed when all of the fresh ingredients are shipped from thousands of miles away. Have you tried to get Ontario grown garlic in a grocery store? Not even vaguely possible. How it can possibly be more economical to get garlic from China is beyond my understanding and I have a bloody degree in Economics. (My degree is actually in War – Military and Strategic Studies, Politics and Economics) I went to the Farmer’s Market across from my office today and garlic from Argentina is $6.99/lb and the elusive Ontario garlic is $8.99/lb. Locavores are apparently rich. I must be too since I shelled out for 2 heads of the local stuff.
Now in general, the Farmer’s Market is absolutely the place to spend your grocery dollars. I’ve taken $50 bucks and eaten fresh vegetables and fruit for 2 weeks. The local produce is better, fresher, lasts longer and sooo much cheaper. It seems that the only people that understand how much better market food is are the old immigrants. As I walk through the market, I check out what the grannies are putting in their bags. If I have no idea what the hell they’re buying, I ask them. They’re happy to tell me what to buy, how to get the good stuff and how to cook it. This is how knowledge is supposed to pass from generation to generation. But there is a huge chunk of our generation that didn’t ever learn from mom and grandma how to cook and they are the ones in the freezer section of the grocery store buying pre-cooked rice. How friggin’ hard is it to put 1 cup of rice and 3 cups of water, a bit of salt in a pan and boil until dry? How much time is really saved buying pre-made hamburger patties? My 5 year old can mush together ground beef, for God’s sake. I’m not asking you to grind the cow up!
I’m socially conscious and listen to hours of public radio on the CBC, so I hear and empathize with people trying to live on limited means. Why does no one every say, “Go to the market! You can feed your family cheaply and they will be healthier than those rich bastards that are eating the chemically altered food from the freezer.” Does it hurt anyone’s feelings? Tonight, I cooked Basa (a fish) fillets crusted with a bag of ground up old pretzels, local potatoes with some shredded cheese in them and fresh hydroponic tomatoes with oil and vinegar on them. Total cost of the meal was about $10. It fed 4 people and there was enough for 2 adult lunches tomorrow. Total prep and cooking time, less than 30 minutes. It took about the same effort as it did money. It can be done and it can taste good.
Of course, I listened to Maya scream at me because she didn’t want to eat what I put on the table and I am so done with that crap. I said, “No! Eat what I made or go hungry.” She screamed until she fell asleep on the couch or passed out from hunger, I’m not sure which. But, if she had eaten it, then she’d have learned that cheap is good. Also good is the silence this evening. She can have a good breakfast tomorrow.