|Cucumbers, Feta, Pita Bread. Simple. Delicious.|
I've been thinking a lot about food lately. Not because I am hungry (but I definitely am most of the time), but more because I have been wondering about the origins of my food. I often take for granted that the food I eat will be processed in a factory and/or farm that is up to health code and the result of fair trade. Last night, however, as I was cutting up a newly purchased red bell pepper, I discovered the pepper's interior was covered in mold. This a pepper, labeled "organic" and purchased at my local grocery store, had the appearance of freshness when I purchased it. But in finding this mold, I began to wonder about the journey of food between its origin (factory or farm) and my refrigerator. Take for example that e.coli outbreak at an Oregon farm, or the ground turkey meat as the cause of a national Salmonella outbreak.
I have been working towards thinning out my food purchasing to contain only whole foods - vegetables, meats, grains, nuts - a quasi Paleo diet, if you will. Just the naturals. Of course, somehow the occasional bin of chocolate chip cookies finds its way into my basket, but overall, I am trying to have a more balanced diet.
To me, food purchasing is really an issue of control. And the truth is, you have little control over where you food comes from if you buy it in the grocery store. Much of your purchases are made on faith, a wing and prayer. How much can we control what happens to our food short of growing it ourselves? To be honest, that is my dream: to own a farmhouse and have a thriving vegetable garden to live off of during the spring, summer, and fall and then harvest and can the remainder the bounty for winter stores.
In the meantime, I am going to try harder to avoid grocery chains for produce, instead shopping at local farmers' markets. Of course, I probably will continue to buy certain things from the chains but I want to be more conscious about my food choices. I am also curious to read foodie books by Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman (aka The New York Times' The Minimalist), to develop sounder opinions about whole food eating. Are you guys thinking similar thoughts about food? Any recommended reading?