Monday, April 21, 2008

Gratitude Monday – Time and Time Again

I appreciate having time. I have the time to write, to meditate, to nap, to pursue any freelance work I chose, and more than anything else I am grateful I have time to cook.

I like to chop vegetables. I find it fulfilling and a good way to expend some energy. I understand not many people are going to share my enthusiasm for so mundane an activity. I say they’re missing out on one of the simple, beautiful pleasures of life.

Folk carve or whittle or sculpt with hammer and chisel and are happy creating through destruction. I create food by putting other, raw foods into smaller forms for cooking. Same idea.

Perhaps my love of tearing down to create is why I am so appalled by the latest convenience food. It’s frozen prepared veggies ready to be dumped in a crock pot. Meat may be included in the mix. I am too appalled to look closely.
Oh, it’s a great idea. You get to come home to a home-cooked meal and it may well be leaps and bounds better than most of the convenience crap-that-passes-for–food currently available.
A local store has gone a step further and offers fresh chopped veggies in a vacuum pack.
Excellent idea, but you’re paying more than $4 for a carrot, a potato, a celery stalk, a bit of turnip and some onion.

Buy them yourself, chop them in five minutes. Stick them in the crock pot in the fridge overnight or cover them with water and store them in the fridge overnight, or put them directly into the crock pot and let them cook until you get home.

Rantesque comments aside, I understand that some lives are complicated. People honestly think they lack time. As long as this is a belief it will play out in their lives as true.

I am grateful I avoided buying into the silly notion when I worked full-time that I was too busy to eat food I’d prepared myself. And I’m grateful I have a sharp knife and the time to turn raw veggies into cooked food.


bunnygirl said...

I don't share your enjoyment of chopping veggies, but I don't dislike it enough to pay the outrageous price of pre-cut vegetables. Fresh-cut taste better, anyway, and you know they weren't prepared under questionable conditions. (Or that if they were, they were prepared under your own set of questionable conditions!)

I think most people who say they don't have time to cook simply don't have much knowledge of cooking. It's easy to get sucked into the mindset that every meal must be complicated and gourmet-quality, when it's really quite simple to throw some things in a crock pot or put some pasta to boil.

Even baking bread from scratch really doesn't take much active work. It's just a few minutes of mixing followed by hours of waiting. If you're going to be home all evening anyway, it's laughable to say one doesn't have the time!

Hilary said...

I have to wonder if with some people, it's less a matter of not having the time and more like not having the motivation. I'm thinking people who are alone. People who have children with very different tastes. People who don't stock up on many different foods because their unpredictable schedules allow them to go bad before they can get to them.

That kind of convenience might mean the difference to some between a reasonably fresh vegie or some totally precooked, high-sodium, hig-fat frozen dinner.

Having said that, I'd still far prefer the fresh veggie route, but have certainly bought my share of pre-packaged foods too.

Good thought-provoking post, Leah.

Holly said...

My favorite is sitting on my back deck cleaning fresh green beans for dinner, of course there is usually a glass of wine involved, but I find it very relaxing and causes me to slow down and enjoy the prep of dinner.

Leah J.Utas said...

Bunnygirl, I'll take my own questionable conditions any day!
You make a really good point of about knowledge. Simple food prep is getting to be a lost art like saying "Thank You" and using a rotary dial phone.

Hilary, motivation is a big factor. I have no business comenting on how it is to have kids with different tastes.
I agree these prepped veggies are a better idea than most ready-made meals. It's the mere fact that such convenience has a market that galls me.

Holly, I understand. With me it's shelling peas on the deck.

the Bag Lady said...

There's nothing like sitting on the deck, shelling peas (or whatever) in anticipation of a terrific fresh-cooked meal. I'm sure those pre-packaged veggies are convenient when you're in a rush, but give me my own veggies, prepared under my own set of conditions any day!
Great post, dfLeah!

Leah J.Utas said...

Hear! Hear! dfBag Lady. Of course it's hard not to eat the peas right then and there. Fresh and raw are the best.
Convenience has it's place, but it's sad to see it displacing doing it yourself.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Just to be contrary:

I find the cost of pre-cut veggies too high to justify, but I don't actually mind the idea. If you like chopping veggies, that's great. But if you'd rather be walking your dog or working on your novel or calling your sister or whatever, I'm all for options that get relatively whole foods to the table conveniently, so that picking up a bucket of fried chicken or some other fast food crap seems less tempting.

But I agree, the mark-up is outrageous!

Leah J.Utas said...

You make a good point, Crabby. The pre-cut veggies are better than batter-fried salt. Contrariness is welcome in that an issue gets properly discussed. I understand the reasoning behind these foods, I just don't like it that we live in a world that causes them to exist.

Reb said...

I must admit that I will buy the precut mix of fruit. Simply because I can't eat a whole melon before it goes bad and even the smallest size is a bit of a challenge to finish. Don't get me wrong, I "could" finish a melon, but I have enough trouble with certain body parts that I really don't want to tempt fate too much.

As for the pre-cut veggies, uh no. I would appreciate if they sold more stuff in smaller quantities though. I hate throwing away a half a head of lettuce or half a heart of celery etc, so usually don't buy them.

Leah J.Utas said...

Reb, some stores will sell loose quantities of carrots, celery, etc., although I don't know if any close by you do that. I think your pre-cut fruit is a good solution.

Lissa and Howard said...

honestly? I do get precut, mostly the frozen mixes when on sale... and onions. I'm a wuss when it comes to chopping onions, so I'll be happy to let others do it for me ;) Everything else is fair game with my blades!

Leah J.Utas said...

Hello Lissa and Howard,

Thanks for stopping by.
I'm not above the occasional frozen veggie, too, when our own frozen garden supply runs out.