Monday, October 17, 2011

food?

I love food. Pretty obvious, I know. But these days the term food doesn't necessarily mean it is something nature made or even that it has any nutritional value at all. These past few weeks I have had many conversations about food. Everything from eliminating MSG from your diet to, my favourite, trying to find healthier 'fast food' options. Both of these it turns out, are harder than you may think.

We live in a world of convenience where you can get virtually anything you want whenever you want it. Want a fast meal on the road, you got it. Want 100 cereal options, you got it. Want a soda that doesn't make you gain weight, you got it. But when I ask for real food, that's where things get shady. Walk into any grocery store and look around. Save for the produce isle (and even that may not be so real anymore), our 'food' has become something out of a science fiction movie, conveniently packaged in whatever serving or flavor or ethnicity you want. And cooking? Well, why would I cook when I can just pop something in the microwave for a fraction of the time? Cooking has, in fact, gone from an essential and rewarding part of everyday life to an inconvenience. Now, we have families with two working parents relying on convenience foods because it's cheaper and, in most cases, faster than preparing real food. I am not judging or anything but which would you prefer your kids eat: frozen chicken fingers composed of 'real' chicken if you're lucky but most likely mechanically seperated chicken parts, MSG, hydrogenated fats, and a hell of a lot of salt or some homemade chicken fingers with simple, real ingredients: chicken, flour, salt, pepper, olive oil. Somehow we have landed in a backwards world where eating real food is harder and more expensive than eating processed, factory made food (and that includes your meat). Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Look at fast food. The concept is great if it were real burgers, real fries, real chicken. But no surprise, there's not much real food in fast food. Even what you think are healthier options, say for instance a grilled chicken salad, are laden with chemicals and, you guessed it, MSG. And that's at every single fast food chain I researched. Is it really so hard to prepare and serve a grilled chicken breast without all the 'seasoning'. Wouldn't it still taste like chicken. Apparently not.

I am currently reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan and it's making me more concerned-or jaded-than I already am. Don't get me wrong, I've always been 'involved' with my food but only recently have I really started worrying about where my food is coming from or that it's even food at all. So begins my quest: try to learn more about my own food, eat only real food that I can actually pronounce, know where my food is coming from (luckily I live in Halifax where there is a thriving farmer's market open year round), and perhaps, more importantly, share this knowledge with you.

So, whether you're listening or not, let the ranting begin!