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Tuesday, October 2

Food

One of my favorite places from our trip to Mexico was the Mercado in Manzanillo. One side was for produce (and other "sanitary" foods) and the other was for meat. I had to move through the meat side quickly because the smell was so strong - but not without purchasing some wonderful sausages and fish. I purchased fresh rolls from a panaderia, and eggs from another stand. On the produce side I felt like Alice in Wonderland - so many wonderful options, how could I choose? I remember selecting potatoes, limes, strawberries, melon, and vegies in pidgin Spanish. Two large bags and about $3 later... I think the person running the stand thought I was nuts and buying too much. (We really did eat it all - I fixed our breakfast and lunch every day and we ate dinner out.)

And that's when I realized something. When entering the market we had passed a young family with a child and a baby. They asked for money and Scott gave them some pesos. The girl looked at the money and almost cried, saying "gracias, muchas gracias!" I realized after making our purchases at the Mercado that Scott had probably given her enough money to feed her family for a week - maybe two.

With that in mind, take a look at What the world eats, a photo essay on the Time website. You may be surprised how much - and how little - families around the world consume in a week, and the relative costs.

The most interesting thing to me? How many fruits and vegetables - and even just "whole" foods in general - were on each table. All the people who wonder why "kids today" are so fat needs only to take a look at these pictures. It's amazing how many pre-packaged foods are on many of the tables from around the world.

Don't get me wrong - we are not short on pre-packaged foods in our household either. But it really makes me reflect on why we rely on so many foods in cardboard boxes and plastic bags. Is a carrot really better when it's peeled, shaved down, and turned into a "baby" carrot? I just don't understand why people buy those things. Even for convenience's sake... you can buy a bag of carrot sticks for maybe a third of the price of the baby carrots. Maybe someone will explain that to me some day...

Where does your food come from? Yes, a lot of mine comes from the supermarket too. But last year we bought half a beef from a local farmer, and it was extremely good. We plan to do this again. I keep thinking about joining a co-op during the summer and getting the weekly produce boxes, but I like to plan my meals and shop accordingly. I used to shop at Top Banana in Redmond when I lived there - but there is a new produce shop in Bend (on 2nd Street) that I really need to check out now that they are open.

If I could efficiently shop for and purchase my other grocery needs from similar sources I probably would. Any suggestions?

6 comments:

mizinformation said...

I love those photos--I blogged about this too http://mizinformation.wordpress.com/2007/06/16/this-week-in-groceries-where-did-the-money-go/, and was even inspired to start a flickr group (http://www.flickr.com/groups/406714@N21/pool/ though turns out there wasn't much interest...yet, anyway :)

btw, they have the book this essay was taken from at the library (says the librarian)

Jen said...

I didn't realize you had a blog, Miz! You've been added to my Google reader...

Wendy said...

I'm trying to get better at planning meals, but I really dislike cooking.

You'll never get me to give up my baby carrots. I think they taste sweeter than big carrots. I do buy bigs ones for soups and stews though.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Jen, you should try the co-op. I'm STILL getting vegetables from them! I talked to the farmer yesterday & he said they'll be delivering produce until the middle of November. Last week we had tomatoes, peppers, corn, cabbage, greens, potatoes...

I've seen this photo essay and it struck me, too. Actually what struck me was how much Europeans pay for food. Our grocery bill is about $120/week (including toilet paper etc etc) and that seems insanely high to me, but it's a bit lower than the other Americans in the story.

What's the vegetable place on 2nd? I haven't heard of it.

Deby said...

Ok, my "I come from out of town" thing is showing.

Where is a vegetable co-op? How do I get in on it? And how do you buy a half a cow? My mom dated a rancher for a while when I was younger and she got a half a cow and a half a pig. That was amazing meat! You need to hook me up, please.

Deby said...

Ok, you need to help a poor little transplant to Bend.

How do I get in on this veggie co-op? And how do I buy a half a cow?

When I was younger my mother had dated a rancher who gave her a half a cow and a half a pig. I still remember how great the meat was.

I am a baby carrot lover. Actually, I can take my carrots both ways but my hubby will only eat the baby ones.