Simple Whole Food. Is there anything faster or easier? In a time when two or three of the generations think that convenience and fast food is cheaper and easier than cooking real food, it's not a simple question.
I grew up with parents that cooked whole, real food. I grew up shopping at the markets, catching fish, picking vegetables from the garden, picking berries at the farm. I learned about whole food and cooking because it is all I lived. But as I got older, I discovered that not everyone grew up that way. Now as a parent, and seeing what is in the lunch bags at schools, not much has changed. Or it has and it has become much worse.
At the grocery checkout the other day, as the cashier scanned my canteloupe, she said, "now this will be about 6 dollars. Are you sure you want it?" I appreciated her concern because sometimes produce can be more expensive than you expect it and she probably had several canteloupes turned back that day. I said to her that I don't cut corners on fruits and vegetables that my children enjoy. She smiled. I told her that in fact, $6 was a good deal for how many snacks I would get out of that one melon. Probably about 12 snack servings. So, at 50 cents each, I think its a great deal.
The next day I saw a lunch bag of one of the other children at the daycare. It had a package of "fruit" snacks, which is really candy. You know the ones. This is not food. It is candy. Out of curiosity, when I was back at the grocery store I checked the price on a box of those "snacks". Four freakin' ninety-nine. Even, let's say, it was on sale for $3.99, that is very expensive for what I think is 8 packages of candy. Candy would be cheaper! And no, just because it is made with some fruit juice does not make it fruit or healthy.
The Naked Chef
This is but one example. Of course. And there are so many more. When Jamie Oliver started the Naked Chef years ago, the first episode I watched was him making pasta in the time it took to make a box of mac and cheese. It was such a great example of how it was cheaper and faster to make real pasta. I still remember this because I often make a meal in the time it takes to boil pasta or quinoa or couscous.
The Perfect Egg
So, how do we continue to move forward toward more of us eating simple whole food? I propose we start with the egg. I apologize if you are vegetarian (although I doubt too many read my blog since I talk about bacon so much). There is nothing more beautiful or perfect than an egg. A real egg. From a chicken that was raised humanely, kindly, nurtured to bring us this amazing food. The egg is perfect, it is protein, it is versatile, it is easy. And it is cheap.
The cost of the dozen organic, local eggs pictured above that I buy at a small, local butcher? I pay $4 a dozen. That is less than 35 cents an egg. Now, there are cheaper eggs. But they come filled with crap, from abused, mutilated chickens, with an enormous carbon footprint. But these eggs are less than 35 cents each. So for a serving of 2, 68 cents gets me a meal. How quickly do eggs cook? 5 minutes for soft boil, poached or fried. Pretty fast. Can you think of anything better? ( I can. Having my own chickens. Which I will do one day!)
So why not start with simple changes to real food. Buy the better eggs. Make that one change to your shopping and the small extra cost will be worth it. And then next month, make another small simple change. And slowly, in a year, you will be buying and eating more whole real food. Isn't that easy?