Every day, it seems, TV shows consumers complaining about rising food costs, and the news gives sobering facts about how much prices have risen world-wide.
Some staples have doubled or tripled. The most surprising thing about all this is that we waste so much food. Studies within the last few years ago have suggested that Americans and Canadians throw out about 25% or more of the food purchased.
Grocery stores also have what is considered shrinkage (stop snickering, Seinfeld fans.) That is, foods that are tossed either due to being outdated, or gone bad. Part of the problem is that we have too many choices. Walk in to almost any large grocery store, find mountains of various kinds of apples. In the dead of winter, find two or three (at least) types of tomatoes. Same with lettuces and other greens. Fresh foods are mounded to show plenty.
My grandparents never ate like this. When grandma went to the corner store, she had what was in season with very little variation. And Mr. Baccigalupe had only what he was going to sell in the next day or so on hand. And no one would even think of having fresh tomatoes in December.
I can remember a store in our little New Jersey town that only sold citrus. They were closed most of the year, and only opened up when the crop came in. My grandparents ate what we like to call “seasonally” because they had no other option.
But rather than feeling badly for them, I realized they were doing a lot of things right.
For the most part, they were eating locally, which is environmentally friendly. They were eating the freshest foods, again, getting the maximum vitamins and minerals.
Lastly, they were getting the best of the best. For anyone who has ever taken a tomato, still warm from the sun, sliced it and put it between 2 slices of bread slathered with peanut butter (ok, mayo for the provincial purists) knows nothing tastes better.
If anyone has ever picked corn, and gone in the house to drop it into some boiling water, knows niblets from the land of the Jolly Green Giant doesn’t compare, let alone some dreck shipped from “parts unknown.”
Start eating seasonally. The stores will catch on, and the grocery bill will come down. Plus the family will be eating better than ever.