Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Foodiness

Archive for the tag “Grocery store”

Sometimes life gets in the way

Whoa. I’ll be honest, I knew it had been a while since I’d posted something, I did. but I didn’t realize it had been quite this long–two and a half weeks is quite a gap.

I’d like to explain. You see, I’m coming to the end of what may be the busiest month of my life. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m involved in theater and am currently in production for a cabaret-style show going up TOMORROW NIGHT! (Yikes!) Needless to say, that has encompassed an exorbitant amount of my time lately. One of my best friends from college also got married last weekend, and so wedding preparations and travel also added to my load. The last few weeks have been meticulously organized, with every minute of my days after I leave the office planned out.

Unfortunately, this kind of overload does not leave much time for culinary explorations, or even food shopping for that manner. So, I have been largely subsiding on frozen meals, take out and the occasional vegetarian treat from the cafe down the street from my office. The quantity, overall, as well, has often been minimal.

This feels like a dirty, dark confession from a self-proclaimed foodie and food blogger, but nonetheless, it is life. Sometimes we’ve all been just too swamped to sit down and prepare a delicious healthy meal or savor a wonderfully prepared dinner from our favorite restaurant.

I’ve been trying to get better about making something out of nothing–that is, looking in the fridge and pantry and trying to assemble a meal from what’s there, but it’s been pretty scant–perhaps I just lack the creativity and inspiration to create a fantastic meal out of deli ham, greek yogurt and plums. (Seriously, though, if anyone has suggestions I’d love to hear them! Let’s get creative, folks!)

Now that the weather’s warming up (though that’s a relative statement–it’s been an unseasonably warm winter) I’m getting inspired to expand my culinary repertoire.  I don’t know the first thing about gardening, but I want to grow fresh herbs. And I want to have picnics by the water. And I really can’t wait to bust out the grill again.

But right now I’m just trying to get through opening and closing night, so if that means subsiding on pizza, Kind bars and alcohol for the rest of the weekend, so be it. We all deserve it sometimes, after all.

But this situation has inspired me–what is your biggest gastronomical “sin?” I’ve actually had a double-whammy this month (whoa baby, I’m gonna be in trouble for this one):

  • First, the wedding prep. I borrowed a gorgeous dress from my younger sister for my friend’s wedding. But my sister is skinnier and narrower than me, so the dress just fit. Therefore, I was determined to drop a couple of pounds by the wedding so I could actually have some wiggle room in the dress. (Because, come on, I wanted to EAT! Is there any doubt about that one?) So the last two weeks were focused on a high-water, low-sodium diet culminating in a week where I ate a LOT of celery, yogurt and peanut butter and drank a ton of peppermint tea. Result? The dress fit with room to spare and I admittedly (and probably expectedly) gorged myself at the wedding. (Cocktail hour was mostly great with a few misses, same with the Viennese dessert table. The actual dinner? Barely touched it, didn’t even need it.) Fun note: By the end of the night, I indirectly got the entire bridal party drinking French martinis–and I wasn’t even in the bridal party! Such a trendsetter I am.
  • The second one’s no secret–the aftermath of the wedding diet resulted in me laxing up even a little more than usual on what I eat. I tend to try to stay pretty healthy with obvious and acceptable exceptions here and there. This week wasn’t awful, but more exceptions than I usually make. Plus, living off of frozen and drive-through food isn’t the healthiest, no matter which way you slice it (and definitely the antithesis to my low-sodium kick of the past weeks.)

However, we all do it, and we all recover. When life gives you lemons, sometimes you have no choice but to make really sweet, terrible-for-you lemonade. And you know what? You enjoy it.

**So tell me–what’s your biggest gastronomic offense? Trust me, I’m in no position to judge!**

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The Big Waste

English: The logo of Food Network.

Image via Wikipedia

The other night, the Food Network aired a one-hour documentary/cooking competition called “The Big Waste.” It pitted two pairs of top Food Network chefs against each other to create a full meal for 100 people using only food that is typically wasted. While the competitive aspect was there, the thing that most drew me in was how much food is wasted on a daily basis. I’m not just talking about what we throw away day-to-day, but large-scale waste.

Farms, markets, restaurants, suppliers and more get rid of literally tons of food every single day. Whether because food is “imperfect” (bruised, spotted, etc.) or because it is nearing its sell-by date, enormous amounts of food are thrown away, and it’s a huge shame. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this food; it’s perfectly healthy to eat, and probably even tastes delicious, but consumers and suppliers want perfection. So, when those slightly bruised peaches go unpicked from the grocery store produce pile, or a restaurant slices a prosciutto past the perfect marbling ratio, or a chicken has torn skin and broken wings, the remains are discarded.

At one point in the program, a farmer took one of the chefs out to a compost pile, and she was moved by the fact that the compost pile was as lovely and colorful as the farm itself, and it was. It was piled high with tomatoes, melons and other bright produce. It brought such awareness to how much is truly wasted.

The program was an incredible eye-opener for me. There are thousands of poor, hungry people in this country, and this wasted food could feed so many.

Therefore, this writer is making a resolution. From now on, when I’m shopping, I won’t automatically look past the apple with a small bruise, or ignore the slightly spotted snow peas. And I’m asking you to do the same. It doesn’t seem like much, but each little step we collectively take can help to reduce the amount of food waste in the world ad hopefully feed others. (And I promise, that little brown spot won’t kill you–you can even cut it off!)

According to the Food Network Web site, “The Big Waste” will re-air on January 14 at 4 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time and on January 15 at 5 p.m.

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