I received some great responses to my last posting in this series and they gave me some food for thought.So why do I say there is a difference in food and Food?
In my opinion food is just the ready made,one meal and lifeless food you can find in any store.This type of eating is also expensive, someone has already done the work for you and you are paying for that work.Someone else has also chosen for you how the food should taste,look and how much you are getting for your dollar.Well I should add here they have also chosen what is in your food,those hidden things packages print in micro fonts with the hope that you either can't read the tiny print or will never take the time to ask "What is some of this stuff? "
Now Food is a different dish that involves a whole range of things. Food is all about taking mix and match ingredients that you yourself put together to create meals that carry you through more than one meal,tastes just the way you want and much more affordable because you are not paying someone else to do your own work.And um,you know what's bubbling in your pot,it is dinner not a witches brew of who knows what.
It's also custom made to fit your own budget.Say for example you know the dish you are making is mostly inexpensive ingredients or can be cobbled together from left over things in the fridge but calls for cheese.When I find myself in that spot I can say to myself (I talk to myself a lot.) " Well I have spent nothing or little on this meal so maybe I could buy a bit of super good cheese to make my cheap dinner taste like it's not so cheap."
*** Our boys have yet to figure out that when I make Potato Soup it means the cupboard is bare,really, really bare, Old Mother Hubbard would feel right at home bare. They have not figured this out because I use a bit of good bacon and simmer long and slow to pull out every last bit of flavor.Pat out a loaf of Soda Bread and there is dinner.On Potato Soup nights and the boys ask "What's for dinner?" and I reply "Potato Soup" I get big smiles and a big whoop of a "Yes!" A full pot made from a bare cupboard made not so spare seeming because I can cook.
I am not going to go into the health benefits of knowing how to cook. I cook the way I do partly for health reasons but they are not for everyone. We are not rigid in our food.Sometimes I feel like we stand in the middle of the road when it comes to what we eat and buy.The Food you make needs to suit you and what you need from it.But I will pass this on from the boy's first pediatrician who told me this when Issac was first starting out on solids, "If you only buy and present healthy foods then no matter what you will eat healthy." Simple!
.Budget trumps everything in our house,I may not buy everything organic but we eat a well rounded filling diet. I let go of the guilt over buying organic or not organic simply because we were faced with a choice,buy all organic and not have enough to eat or shop smartly to free up money to buy the things we felt were important to buy organic and have plenty to eat. (Plenty and then some more is key when you feed to teen boys.Hungry teens are Crankier than all heck.)
If you are feeling an urge to leave me a comment about your politics concerning an all organic diet,don't.I can't be bothered, I do what is right for my family living on a single income.Good for you if you are able to buy an all organic diet,very good.But really there is no difference between an organic potato chip and a non-organic, they are both BAD for you.Oh and what is so environmentally sound about an organic veggie from thousands of miles away? Gas emissions? Pollution? Oh yeah,those not so kind things.
I would like to wrap up this posting by asking everyone what are the items you buy that you feel help you stretch your food budget? We buy every other month a 25 pound bag of All purpose flour for around $10.With that bag of flour I bake breads and goodies,make pasta,tortillas and anything else I can come up with. I figure to buy the same quality of bread that I bake would cost me from $3- $5 for a single loaf. I can bake a batch of 4 loaves of bread and feel like I have already "paid " for my bag of flour.And I still have 22 pounds of flour to use for the next few weeks.I also always buy whole chickens because I can get 3 meals out of them for my family of four,chicken dinner,sandwiches for lunch and then soup stock for now or frozen for later.That averages out to about $3 for protein per meal.
The next posting will bring up shopping.
P.S I found these two posts else where that I wanted to share with you.
The first is from Slate magazine, an article on how to waste less of the food you buy.
The second is from a blog Chance and I love, One Hungry Chef.The posting is about finding the time to cook.