Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eat Well, Not Expensively

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey was interviewed on CBS This Morning

We, as Jews, feel as though we pay more than anyone else when it comes to food, obviously because of the need to observe kashrus. But keep in mind, in the New York area we certainly pay less than anywhere else in the world. I have been to the kosher groceries in England; you would not believe how much a tub of kosher ice cream costs. No, not that much, more. 

In the end, as Mackey says, the prices are higher for processed and prepared foods. If you know how to cook, and shop primarily in the produce section, food is not expensive, and it is better for you. I sometimes walk out of the fruit store in a daze, unbelieving that for $10 I am crippled beneath the weight of my bags.

Meat and dairy products shouldn't be the main focus of your diet, anyway. I am amazed how many people I see on line at the deli counter, number in hand, as they purchase the pricey cold cuts and shnitzel. Cold cuts have carcinogens! I don't even want to know what's in the shnitzel. 

Let's say there is no time to cook. Then stick to simple, easy recipes that don't need much time. Throw the chicken into a marinade overnight, then quickly cook on a grill pan. (I happen to know of a great marinade recipe that the chicken tastes great even cold on Shabbos day. Where did I put it . . . )

What Mackey says is true: We are spending less than ever before on food. Ever read or watched North & South? Ma in the old country never saw a banana or orange except when her uncle in Israel would mail fruits to her family for Tu B'Shvat. Except the bananas were black and the orange rotten by the time they arrived. Our fruits and vegetables are grown all over the world, and the prices for transportation are apparently cheap enough that we pay ridiculously reasonable prices for exotic fare in the dead of winter. "Unheard of! Absurd!" to quote Tevye.

One of the eating mantras nowadays is "Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize." 

Right, like Bàbi Hindy (my great-grandmother) ever saw a kiwi in her life. Perhaps we should just stick with "Eat it only if it grew from the ground."  

Our time is the first in history when we can eat very well, all year round, but we head to the "dead foods" aisle of the boxed and bottled. 

Learn how to cook. It's not that hard, really. Heck, I learned. It doesn't have to be fancy or shmancy to make it delicious.  


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Eating healthy is cheaper but harder work.
It's much easier to pop a frozen dinner into the microwave than to chop up the vegetables, grill the fish and filter the water.

Princess Lea said...

What, you want to eat cheaply AND do no work?

Sure, it may be work, but not a lot, really.

I came home the other day, quickly sliced up an onion, sauteed it with oil and a sprinkle of sugar to carmelize, then added sliced orange pepper, mushrooms, frozen spinach, frozen peas, and frozen broccoli. In no time at all I had a delicious, steaming, healthful meal.