When Tricia and I tell you at the end of the month how much food I’ve eaten, you’ll wonder how I got all that into my mouth. Or should. Processing all this food is not quite like opening a box of Trader Joe’s soup and a bag of TJ nuts or maybe some TJ plastic wrapped already bite sized salad greens (do you ever wonder what keeps that bag puffy? I didn’t until now.) It’s not even like opening a frozen Boca Burger or a can of Organic Tomatoes – or organic TJ boxed soup.
Indeed, getting all that fresh local food into my mouth has taken a bunch of time – not to mention the time it’s taken to talk about it.
Tricia points out that my ability to do this diet may be that I work at home – and am single. What about working parents with kids. Is convenience simply a must? There is a whole way of life implied in the choice to eat so locally that nothing is prepared and packaged for you.
In fact, in the old days when I taught about Your Money or Your Life, I talked about the three C’s of unconscious consumption: comfort, control and convenience.
Comfort is never feeling pain. Having all your needs and desires easily and if possible invisibly met. Not having to get out of the car, up off the couch, down on your knees, around to anything. In the years I traveled in a motorhome we’d often meet people in campgrounds who would express envy of the freedom and adventure of our lives.
“You could do it.”
“No I can’t. I couldn’t live without a hot shower in the morning.”
Control is having things your way. With money we control our environment, control other people, control our futures. Or so we think. We buy locks for the doors. Insurance. Heaters and air conditioners.
Convenience is having everything right at hand. No inconvenient truths. No stairs-only elevators, no crank windows-only electric, no chopping-only Cuisinart. People will pay more to not have to unlock the car door. Not have to slither into a back seat. Not have to climb stairs. Every novelty becomes a necessity in short order. Thirty years ago there were no microwaves. We used pots back then. And stoves. But now nuking is necessary.
I’m seeing the same thing applies to food.
Comfort food (nuts, chips, chocolate, ice cream, mashed potatoes, meatloaf – i gotta stop talking about these… at least until next week).
Control food – access to the market (some people are shocked that our Langley market closes at 8 PM), stocked shelves, restaurants and mates and cooks who know just how you like things. Never being hungry.
Convenience food – well, we know what that is… everything from Odwalla juices to Granola bars to Pop Tarts to McDonalds to (do you remember) TV dinners and Dinty Moore.
So how have I processed all this fresh food? What are the tools of the food processing trade?
I don’t have a Cuisinart and don’t know how to use one, but I can see that if you were wanting fast local fresh food and had a family and a day job it could make this eating style more possible.
Here’s what I do use – simple tools that have been around for a hundred years:
A good chef’s knife with a super sharp blade thanks to a sharpening steel
A Zyliss Mandoline for slicing and grating (both food and knuckles)
A pressure canner (All American, one of the best, 30 years old!)
A simple apple corer thanks to Good Cheer
A Foley Food Mill thanks to Good Cheer
Two cast iron pans
Three pots, one with a steamer (a real essential)
A convection oven that can cook a whole chicken, bake a whole cake – and dehydrate hundreds of zackers.