I Don'T Want A Doctored-Up Can, Box, Or Package Dinner! I Want Real, Fresh Food! - Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen Blog at Allrecipes.com - 223937

Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen

I don't want a doctored-up can, box, or package dinner! I want real, fresh food! 
Feb. 21, 2011 1:41 pm 
Updated: Feb. 25, 2011 10:41 pm
My quest for eating healthier has been met with walls of frustration. 

My rant:
(scroll down if you don't want to hear my complaining, just why I am complaining lol)

I get irked when I go recipe hunting and find self-described "homemade" meals using a vast array of canned this or that and boxed such-and-such.  Some things I understand, like not everyone is going to make their own pastas, so please pass the box or bag on that one (although, I have been price shopping Imperia pasta presses, I will still be buying farfalle, penne, and shells).  And hey, canned organic tomatoes DO come in handy quite often, but I have had it with canned cream of X soups!  I was so excited when I learned to make my own 'cream of mushroom soup' for green bean casserole and saucy or creamy dinners.  I do not miss that gelatinous can-shaped mass, nor the dozens of extra additives that came with it.  Which reminds me, why do people by cranberry jelly?  You plop it out of the can, with its striped imprinted rings, cut it into rounds, and THAT is served with your delicious turkey dinner?  How about buying some REAL cranberries and popping them in a saucepan to make a cranberry sauce? (I should post my recipe, it is slammin'!)

Usually when I make baked beans, I just throw some ingredients in the pot and add to it as I taste to round out the flavors.  I'm from the Boston suburbs so my beans always seem to come out with the same Bean-Town taste.  So today I decided to find structure for another flavor of beans.   Why are so many baked beans recipes on a foundation of canned pork-n-beans?!?!  Bring on the dry beans!  Or even plain canned beans would be o.k.

I want to cook so I know what is going into my food.  I mean know the real ingredients, not a package of fifteen ingredients I can't pronounce, nonetheless have no clue as to their purpose or what they actually are.  Not only do I want to know all the ingredients in my meals, I want to ingredients to be healthy and natural, not harmful or created.

My Reasoning:

Real homemade cooking has become a challenge for those of us younger generations.  We hear older generations talk about 'from-scratch' or 'like grandma used to make' as if it is some distant past where people could actually take pride in their cooking, knowing it was fresh.  That is what cooking and homemade meals really are.  But that 'distant past' has really only changed over that last, what?, fifty years, as farms became factories and food became an industry, and unfortunately, a business.

Many of us have been raised on boxes and cans.  When I was young, we regularly ate boxed chicken nuggets, blueberry pancakes, macaroni & cheese, alfredo noodles from a bag, pre-seasoned boxed frozen veggies, and even "TV" microwave dinners (I understand taking microwave dinners to work or while at a hotel, but I do not understand at home when you have a kitchen).  Nowadays, if any of that is served from my kitchen, you can bet I actually made it (not just removed a lid or tore open a bag and heated it) and you will not be consuming powdered flavorings, artificial blueberries, or processed chicken meat.

Many of us have been doing the boxed/canned thing just because WE HAVEN'T KNOWN ANY BETTER.  Boy, was it an awakening when I learned about the changes in food over the years.  Our foods have been genetically manipulated and they do not have to tell us or even want us to think about it.  Animals are raised in unsanitary conditions, fed foods unnatural for their diets, they are larger than they used to be and get there in a fraction of the time.  Produce travels so far from where it is picked to reach the grocery store, that it is picked before it is ripe so it will not be over-ripe when it hits the shelves and many are coated in wax to look shiny and attractive so we will want to buy it.  Our palates have been trained to crave these modern, fatty, preservative and additive laden foods chock full of lab-created flavors.  It blows my mind to think that a burger from a fast food joint is made of the ground meat mixed from thousands of cattle.  One little patty, so many cows.  At least you know a steak is from the same animal.

What I Think We Should Do About It:

Man, I CAN NOT WAIT for farmers' market time!
Bring on the fresh, organic, healthy food, that didn't travel hundreds or thousands of miles to reach my dinner plate!
We need to support these resources so we do not lose them.
We need to buy organic.  I KNOW organic is expensive, but with good reason: organic foods aren't grown in manipulated ways, therefore costing the farmer more money.  The animals are in conditions and fed the diets they need to be healthy, they are not grown super-sized in short periods of time but instead their natural and healthy growth.  Produce isn't grown with pesticides or other chemicals or modifications but, again, as nature intended them to.  These methods provide a healthier, natural product but with less yield.  Less yield = higher price to keep the operation rolling and not losing money.

We can drive down the price.  Supply and demand.  Buying organic shows we want organic in the stores.  The more organic products we support, the better the chance of lowering the price and offering a better variety of products. Aside from fruit and veggies, many grocery stores now carry a variety of organic meats, dairy products, and grains.

Every item that beeps through the supermarket checkout is a vote for that product, be it chips and cola or organic carrots, organic strawberry jam and organic peanut butter.
You vote with your dollar.

The funny thing is, before food was industrialized and genetically tinkered with, all foods were organic.  It just wasn't called organic because there was clearly no need to distinguish natural from modified/manipulated.

One Last Little Rant:


It would be cool if Allrecipes had an easy way to distinguish real home cooking from recipes built on the convenience of prepared ingredients from a package.

Does anyone else get as pissed off and passionate about this as I do?
heh heh, I think I've worked up an appetite, for something fresh of course!
Feb. 21, 2011 3:21 pm
I don't really get pissed off, but I do prefer to cook fresh and from scratch. You'll find that many here at AR feel the same way. Enjoy!
Feb. 21, 2011 3:35 pm
thanks for stopping by ElCay, glad to hear from another fresh, from scratch cook. Keep it up!
Feb. 21, 2011 7:10 pm
I agree 100%!!! I joined a CSA this year - I cannot wait!
Feb. 21, 2011 8:55 pm
Lissa my hats off to you! I work a hobby farm in NC and believe fully in supporting the local farming community. MK! I am so glad to hear you joined a CSA. When my clients order their packages I love watching their delight over the simple things like goat milk soap, dandelion tinctures, and country cakes made from real scratch and eggs, butter, and wheat made on the farm. If ya haven't gone farm fresh folks you just don't know what you are missing! Gotta share this: http://www.walletpop.com/2011/02/18/biggest-grocery-store-markups/
Feb. 21, 2011 9:29 pm
You get my vote!
Feb. 22, 2011 9:26 am
Although I pretty much agree with you I must point out that eating healthy can be VERY expensive and in today's economy sometimes you don't have much of a choice - especially in the dead of winter. Also after years of volunteering at our local food bank, I realize that people just don't know what to do with dried beans, powdered milk, or anything not classified as "all-purpose" flour. It's a lack of education and laziness at times that keep people grabbing the cream of soups and boxed dinners. I encourage you to keep educating those around you!
Feb. 23, 2011 6:53 am
I'm right behind you! The proudest day of my life (ok ... not *the* proudest, but right up there) was when Hubby actually picked up a can at the grocery store and read the nutritional data - now he's a maniac!
Feb. 25, 2011 4:19 am
I was just thinking about a mini-rant myself when I found your comments. I am upset about the use of industrialized food (such as Campbell's soup) in recipes published on Allrecipes. I, too, would like to see a way of filtering out (if not forbidding) recipes using packaged ingredients, brand-name sauces, canned soups, etc. A COMMENT TO BANSHEZMOM feb 22 Eating 'real food' is not necessarily much more expensive. But even though it is more expensive, this is false economy: what you save in the short run on food prices you pay for in the long run with increased medical bills.
Feb. 25, 2011 10:33 pm
awesome comments everyone! love it!
Feb. 25, 2011 10:41 pm
klawrenc: "what you save in the short run on food prices you pay for in the long run with increased medical bills." --> sad yet true, isn't it?
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About Me
I live in beautiful wine country, Northern California, on the edge of state forest. My husband and I are in our 30s and have the most amazing little 1 year old girl. I haven't had as much time in the kitchen since becoming a mom, but I love that she is getting old enough to enjoy my cooking! I enjoy riding my motorcycle and snowboarding, camping, classic and hard rock music, tattoos, singing, and *of course* fiddling in my kitchen! I love trying new recipes and have had fun as an Allrecipes Allstar in the Brand Ambassador program!
My favorite things to cook
Skillet dinners, chicken, vegetables, rice, pasta, cookies, brownies, quick breads, Italian, Asian, mac & cheese, mushroom or broccoli Alfredo, pie-especially apple, pear and chicken pot pie, pork in the crock pot for carnitas or BBQ pulled pork.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My parents have always had lots of food at family get-togethers! Such a selection of food that there's hardly room for plates at the table: nuts, cheeses, wings, beans, meats, veggies and many other side dishes, cakes, cookies, pies, etc-there's something for everyone! There's no excuse if you go hungry at one of our family functions. There's always good food, drinks, people and laughs :D
My cooking triumphs
It's nice to be able to throw things together on the fly without having to make a trip to the grocery store. Learning the methods of cooking have made it easier and my food tastes better. I never have dry chicken breasts, pork chops or burgers anymore! Dec 2012: I finally made fudge that set properly!
My cooking tragedies
Trying out new recipes that don't taste right or I don't care for. Or turning my back to do 10 things at once and burning something. Mistakes = lessons learned. Sometimes you have to do a little trial-and-error to get something how you like it. I'm still trying to perfect French loaf.
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