Thought For Food

August 17th, 2012

Just when I thought I’d put my food issues to bed, I find myself beating back the same old nightmare: an appetite for delicious healthy food… but prepared by somebody else.

My food budget for both groceries and eating out is under $200/week for a family of four. We keep it simple and generally I like it that way. I have neither the time, nor the energy, to shop for and follow a recipe. Besides, most things taste great in garlic and olive oil if that’s all I’ve got. For awhile I had a culinary groove going, with a weekly organic vegetable delivery from South Central Farm and a simple approach. Sauteed greens and a pile of brown rice or millet was a perfectly acceptable dinner; pre-cooked beets and a handful of feta on a pile of arugula straight out of the bag was my convenience food lunch. I was master of the impossible combination of fast, cheap, and good. Who says you can only have 2 out of 3?

But this morning that groove looked more like a rut. While packing what felt like my 100th healthy and thrifty Tupperware-based lunch, the boredom hit. I did my usual calculation: amount of food in container divided by amount of time left before I leave on vacation = same lunch for the next four days. Surely there are more inspired ways to keep a body alive!

Eating the same food over and over often makes me feel proud and resourceful. I think about our ancestors who lived off (or closer to) the land and its limited seasonal offerings. My first world problems around Tupperware lunches and impending flights to New York seem laughable. Yet food is nourishment of both body and soul. And today, my soul needs someone else to toss the kale.

Get in touch with your inner hunter-gatherer by eating not just seasonally, but based on what’s available to your own budget and schedule constraints. And remember, it doesn’t have to be feast or famine: If your weekly budget can weather a trip to an overpriced restaurant, perhaps the schedule modification will keep a bigger culinary meltdown at bay.



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