Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I'm Thankful for Convenience Food
I have a royal ball in the kitchen whether I’m by myself or with company and I love to cook with fresh ingredients and making good ol’ home-made meals from scratch, but I’d be lost without frozen puff pastry, canned tomatoes, or tomato paste in a tube. Or canned artichokes, canned beans or dried spices. Or dried pasta in every shape imaginable or seasoned bread crumbs or boxed chicken broth or bagged lettuce mixes. I like to roast my own red peppers, but jarred ones are pretty darn good. Making my own pastry (well, when it turns out okay) is terrific, but refrigerated dough will often do just fine. I admire people who make their own pumpkin puree, but when canned is so easy, and good, why?
I take great pleasure in planting and tending my own vegetable garden and then reaping the harvest. I buy most of my groceries at a family-owned supermarket that I know buys a lot of fresh food locally. Making and canning my own spaghetti sauce is more satisfying than I would have imagined. Picking my own salad greens in the morning and then having them for lunch is just delightful. We have apple trees and blueberry bushes. My eggs come from my neighbor’s chickens (a few of whom, I’m ashamed to say, my Weimeraner killed.)
I’m a pretty frugal cook: I save leftovers and reprise them into frittatas, soups and anything else I can dream up. I save bones to make my own chicken stock. (Although not always.) And my kitchen is pretty well-equipped – there’s always something new I’ll want! -- with all the tools and appliances I need to do all that.
* I still hate the word “foodie” - can’t we come up with something that doesn’t make me sound like a rock-and-roll band groupie? I’m not a gourmet, not an epicurean. I’m a pretty good cook and I like to cook and try new things. I guess that makes me a foodie, but I still don’t like it.