It’s a question that has been plaguing me lately. I am increasingly bothered by the ingredients companies will put in and on food they sell to the masses to make it last longer, look better, and stretch farther. If we were cooking for ourselves, we wouldn’t add these ingredients. Do the executives at Kraft foods feed their products to their own families? We think that if we buy packaged foods from smaller companies, or from “health food” stores, we’re somehow doing better for ourselves, but really there’s no way of ever knowing without doing tedious research on everything we buy — and only then if we think we can trust our sources. Going gluten- and dairy-free made me a label-reader, and it’s kind of amazing what nastiness is in innocuous-seeming things (like msg in Triscuits).
And then there’s “organic.” On one hand, I support the idea, and want to show my support with my money. It’s not that much more, and I have an income, finally, so I try to buy organic foods. On the other hand, though, I don’t really know what I’m buying. My sister showed me this blog one of her college friends has. He’s working on an “organic” farm and has some criticism of the whole process (post-poem, first prose section). I imagine this happens a lot, and it’s sad. Because our society is so driven by money, even a process like organic farming has been corrupted to increase profits and make the goods cheaper. Ugh. How do you change something like this?
As much as this disappoints me, I won’t boycott the organic food industry… I am still going to eat fruits and vegetables, and I’d rather eat those than conventional. I found a couple of handy guides on Apartment Therapy a month or so ago that list which foods you should buy organic, and which ones are probably okay in their conventionally-grown forms. Here they are:
- Green Guide’s Top 10 Fruits and Vegetables to Buy Organic
- Food News’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce (you can print a wallet card of the the dirtiest and cleanest 12 for in-store reference!)
I promised photos of the food I made on Saturday, but then I didn’t take any. I’m not totally happy with the polenta (I think it needed to cook just a little longer, and maybe I’ll make the squares thinner next time, and also less salty (it called for a lot). The shrimp Creole was good — next time I’ll leave out peas (I was raised in a mostly pea-less household, and am really only a fan of peas-in-pods) and add considerably more spice. And maybe do chicken instead of shrimp. And maybe use some kind of flour or cornmeal to thicken it up. The party guests liked it. Collard greens are delicious — definitely making those again. Culinary Saturday was a lot of fun…