Sunday, May 25, 2008

Trimming the Food Bill Naturally

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 That is, foods that are tossed either due to being outdated, or gone bad.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.


Craft Junkie said...

You said it! We do our best to eat seasonally AND to eat locally. I do pay a bit more by going to our local butcher who only sells local cuts of beef, pork and chicken (certified organic, at that) but also going to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings is a joy, any time of the year. Then I get the things we can't grow locally from the grocery store. Because of these things, our grocery bill is about 1/3 less than it used to be (and I freeze/can those things in season, too, so that helps on the long term.)

I love your blog and your thoughts. Keep up the good work and I will certainly keep coming back.

Nicole said...

Tomatoe sandwiches with peanut butter?? you are gross!! They are to be eaten with mayo only--and fresh ones right out of the garden are the best--you are right about that one!! I love going to the farmers market every week, besides being cheaper it tastes so much better than from the grocery store. Right now i have lots of pineapple and watermelon in the house and I swear it is the best I have ever eaten!!

shyne said...

Good blog!

Most people can find a place to put some sort of little garden in. Maintainence isn't alot of work.

Aside from the nutritional values of fresh picked veggies, the flavors are so much better, as you said, DOM.
Yes.....that tomato still warm from the sun is amazing. I'll have to think about the peanut butter, though.

Da Old Man said...

Peanut butter and tomato sandwiches are to be my legacy.

Ray Kroc and McDonald's, Caesar Cardini and Caesar salad, me and PB & T.


Absolutely! I cannot agree more and we love to go to the Farmers Market for the freshest of fruits and veggies.

Salamat said...

You know what? It's only me, my hubby and our dog in the house. I always cook for dinner and being a Filipina, I'm kinda stingy, lols! I can't throw all the left-overs and wished I can send it to the Philippines with my hungry neighbors :( It really pains to think that I was throwing some good food while others have nothing to eat:(
anyways, have a great week! chao!