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?