Monday, March 2, 2009

Prepacked, precooked, prepared?

Just when I thought I had seen everything, Lisa finds this in a grocery store ad on Saturday. Seriously......are people REALLY getting this lazy?? Pre-cooked, pre-peeled, pre-packaged hard boiled eggs. (actually it says "cooked", whatever that might mean)

It amazes me what can be found in stores now. Sometimes Lisa and I just have to laugh out loud at them. Some are so silly it's rediculous. We've seen frozen bread dough, frozen PB&J sandwiches, "baby" carrots, (that one makes me laugh every time), toaster this, microvable's just insane. A walk down the freezer section of the grocery store is as entertaining as it is sad.

Let me tell a quick story on this very subject. A few years ago, Lisa and I had a visitor from out of town, and by out of town, I mean New Zealand. Yes, believe it or not, a long time internet friend came to visit US from the other side of the globe for a few months. After the first day or 2 with her here at home, Lisa needed to get some groceries. She took our friend there, and watched her amazement at the isles of frozen food. Our friend was totally shocked. Apparantly in NZ, frozen food is rare, and is actually more expensive than regualar old make-it-yourself food. She wanted to try a few of these frozen delacasies and purchased her own to bring home. After the first bite of her "frozen box o' goodness", she was apalled at the flavor of it and it ended up going to our dogs. She told us of how people there cook 3 meals a day. She told us of roadside markets and huge family dinners for no reason other than just to cook. She told us stories of a world that we could only dream of.... a world that used to exist here in this country.

So, what is it that american's find so appealing about all of this pre-whatever food? Is it a lack of knowing how to cook? Is it a lack of real time to prepare a meal? Is it convienence? Is it laziness? Is it just the cost? I'm going to say it's (for the most part), a combination of all of the above. As each new generation comes into play, kitchen knowledge gets lost or pushed aside for may reasons. People spend more time doing things to keep them out of the house. People just want food, and want it NOW. But mostly, people simply don't want to take the time to spend in the kitchen. Computers, video games, gyms, soccer games, shopping, movies, etc all take priority to our food. People make time for everything else in their lives BUT what they eat, then wonder why there are so many health problems in this country. The answer is simple, it stares them in the face every day. It's not the mirror in the bathroom, but the reflection of yourself in that magical plastic wrap over that Starvin' Dude meal you just took from the microwave. Look into it and ask "why am I eating this?".

Maybe I'm just spoiled since I get good meals every day. I'm lucky enough to be married to someone who loves to cook and bake. While many people I know spend their weekends running here and there, Lisa spends her time in the kitchen. She bakes bread for the week. She makes a huge pot of chicken soup to last the week. She will make a big batch of biscuit dough, cut it into shape, and freeze them for easy to heat biscuits whenever we want them. She will make 2 or 3 casseroles at a time, with the 1 not eaten that day going into the freezer. I'm a lucky man. These are the only "frozen" foods I get. Food is not only what we need to survive, but food is a gift for us. What we eat is special. What we eat has taken our time, energy, or money to grow, raise or buy the ingredients. The preperataion was from a loving wife that loves to cook, and even more, loves to watch people enjoy WHAT she makes. We have the privelige and honor to know that most of what we eat came from our own two hands, and not from a box out of the freezer.

Now if only someone gave me details on how to properly "cook" and peel those tricky hard


Kory said...

wow, that is sad.

I know the answer is probably "time" people who buy copious amounts of that crap probably say "I don't have time to make it myself."

my snide answer is "you dont have priorities to make it yourself." but then again I'm guilty of the occasional grab and go myself.

Aimee said...

It wasn't that long ago that I first saw cooked rice and cooked lentils and beans in vacuum packed, room temperature containers, at trader joe's. Apparently you just slice the bag open right over a plate.
I was shocked and appalled, but then I thought, hey, at least it's brown rice and whole beans. These things do kind of take a long time to cook..... But then again, in their "pre-cooked" state they cost about 85 cents a pound. Cooked and sealed, it shoots up to $3/pound. That decided it for me!

Chris W said...

I'm not saying we don't EVER get any of this stuff. We occasionally get some kind of frozen pizza or other snack kinda something. I'm just thinking of people who eat this garbage 7 days a week. I honestly can't imagine living on it.

Anonymous said...

I've tried to contact you thru the email addy which seems to be non functional. That might just be this . gov computer.
I'm in colerain twp sitting on 6 acres that are under used near pippin and kemper.

Patrice Farmer said...

Yeah, I can get back on your site. Thanks for fixing it. Chris, when I lived in Colorado, eggs were $3.99 a dozen. We would have to buy the 30 count at $7.99 just to save some money.

littlegreengardengal said...

This pre-cooked egg is a new one for me! Fortunately I grew up eating food cooked from scratch so I learned how to cook and how good real food tastes. When I was first on my own, I remember buying some of the packaged meal mixes and stuff and none of it tasted good to me.

The idea people have about the packaged food saving time is mostly a result of the marketing we all hear and read every day. In reality I can cook a pot of lentils and brown rice with whatever flavor seasoning I want in 30 minutes. I work long hours so I have as many excuses as the next person, but I also find that the time I spend in the kitchen is relaxing and good for my health.

I have been working the last couple years to cut out the few types of package stuff I do buy sometimes. And of course all the food recalls help motivate me too.

Melonie said...

I admit I have a certain amount of packaged foods - but mostly just canned goods. I don't do freezer meals and that stuff.

I don't mean to be mean to whomever would eat the eggs shown, but to me they sound more than mildly gross. Ew.

ChristyACB said...

Love the post and totally agree with the idea.

For me, eating packaged foods is just weird now. I mean, have people really looked at some of that stuff. Just ain't normal looking.

Anyway, I think you hit the nail on the head in two ways:

People spend more time out of the house. When living on 2 incomes became the norm but there was still an expectation that a female was supposed to come home and cook food while Buster sat on the couch and waited, well...packaged it is! You mentioned that you were fortunate to be married to a person who spent their weekends in the kitchen. Seriously, I don't think that most women feel life should revolve around a kitchen and that she should be reduced to that level of life experience while others play. It really is pretty unfair when you think on it.

I happen to like cooking and baking, as well as gardening and putting up food but I would never sit still for being tied to that room. I'm lucky my family also likes stir-fry :) which is quick and fresh.

ChristyACB said...

Oh, but let me edit to add that for some people that is a true joy they could do all day. That is where chefs come from, right? So I don't think there is anything at all wrong with a person, your wife included, who preferentially chooses that.

I'm just saying it is a forced burden on many working women and that is a huge reason for packaged and faster food.

Lisa said...

when he made referrence to being lucky and having someone who spends her weekends in the kitchen,he wasnt insinuating that all women should turn into june cleaver. lol (can you imagine!! the price of pearls would skyrocket) He meant it in the aspect of being lucky to have a person who agrees with him in his outlook of home cooking. I dont feel i am "reducing" myself to anything. It is my choice to make dinner, or bake or sit on my butt. :) He does his fair share of cooking. (i just hate someone else uses my kitchen lol) But i do agree with you that since we have become a two income world, frozen foods have become something most families fall back on. As far as Buster sitting waiting for dinner...Point him to that big square thing with a handle thats cold inside and tell him to have at it. :) Remember no one can walk on you unless you lay down first.

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