Monday, October 8, 2012

How Expensive are your Tastes? Do you value your food, or your body more?

I did indeed go to the Farmers' Market yesterday morning.  It's been weeks since I went for a number of reasons.

#1 I find myself buying too much food.  I found myself reacting in a way to the limited availability of some of my favorite seasonal foods by really overbuying.  I think it was the $30 worth of nectarines that really did me in!  (they weren't even that good and I haven't had one since!)  I'm not finding myself throwing it out, instead eat too much!  That had to change.

#2 The FM's are crazy crowded.  Did I need to spend at least 1 hour extra of my morning getting to and getting back from a shopping trip for food I didn't need in the first place?  And then more time prepping that unneeded food for storage?

#3 I'm not finding myself cooking as much because I don't need as much!  Until it gets a bit cooler I find myself making mostly salads, eating more yogurt and cheese/dairy, and most of the things I cook are ingredients for meals, not entire meals in themselves.  I cook all of my proteins separate, beef, chicken, eggs, and my grains/beans in the PC.  I actually took some soup out of the freezer last week instead of making more...hmnn some chili is starting to sound good!

Oh, and I have to add that, lucky me, #4, I had been given some eggs from someone that has chickens so I didn't need to go for that reason either!

But this post is not about going or not going to the market, and why or why not!  It's about the one purchase I made yesterday that after I thought about it brought up some interesting thoughts.

Sure, I bought a ton of veggies for my salad and soup this week, I bought some smoked salmon jerky for Mark, I bought some of my favorite sheep's milk cheese, a handful of raisins (I'm not to be trusted with more than that!), oh some small melons, a basket of figs (which I knew would not make it out of the market!), a box of my favorite, individual, almond chocolate cakes, which also happen to be gluten free but I'm not holding it against them because they are yummy!  Okay, so now for the one purchase that I'm not sure I'm happy about....

I bought a pasture fed chicken.  A no brainer right?  It weighs about cost $6.50 a pound....that's over $30 bucks I paid for a chicken!  Thirty bucks for a chicken!

My first thought was "What?  Did I really just pay $30 for a chicken?"  I normally don't really care where I buy my chickens, paying as little as $1.49lb, or less!  And up to $3.98lb (at WF).  I better really enjoy that chicken!

I had started to plan how I was going to really take care to make this chicken last!  How I would eat it slower, and be more conscious of how much it cost me! And for sure how I would make the bones into even more "precious" chicken stock!

The conversation in my head continued....

Could a chicken, any chicken be worth $30?  I'm not sure!  I was perfectly happy with the $5 chicken from Safeway, and the $8 chicken from Mi Pueblo!  But I admit that paying a premium made me value my food more, and it made me not want to waste it by eating more than I needed to eat!  Oh no, I was going to savor and appreciate every bite!  I imagined what it must have been like in the "olden days" when families had very little money, never having the luxury of waste!

Why didn't I feel that way about all the food I buy?  I have to be honest and say that some of the "higher quality" foods I chose to buy and eat just make be feel good!  So why did it take spending $30 on one chicken to bring me into a different kind of consciousness?  I've never batted an eyelash at spending $14.95lb for coffee, $32.99lb for good cheese, $16.98lb for a rib eye, or prime rib ($70-80 bucks at Christmas time!), $40 for a good bottle of wine, or $4.98lb for a cherimoya....but over $30 a chicken?  It better be good!  lol

I started to compare the cost of this chicken to gas!  When gas is expensive we tend to want to use less, and sometimes we do.  Certainly in other countries where gas is more expensive people take more care on how much they use and have a higher respect for waste!  Wouldn't it be great to have more of this kind of thinking/attitude about food?  A more careful and thoughtful approach to how much we buy, and how much we eat?

Of course I don't want to see the price of food sky rocket in order to "teach us a lesson", but food is cheap!  I consider food one of the few affordable luxuries, and because it is many of us will buy more than we need, and more of the kinds of foods we really don't need to eat.  In fact sometimes it's the cheapest, least expensive foods that we should steer clear of!  Cheap foods, more times than not, are of poor nutritious quality that may not be the best choices for our good health...hmnn, what about the quality of that $5 chicken?

Well, personally, I'm not sure there is a big difference between the chicken from Safeway/Mi Pueblo and the one from Whole Foods (I don't trust WF!).  But I do have complete trust that the one I bought at the FM is different.  $30 different?  Not sure.

What about you?  Do you hold your chicken to high standards, what about the rest of your food?  And if you do, do you consider yourself overweight?  Just askin'


Fatguy said...

Can't wait to hear your opinion on taste difference. I once paid 20 bucks for a rooster, to make coq au vin (no idea if that's spelled right), in one of my cooking ventures into "I've never made this before". It was a big task, long process (I normally throw all meat on the grill), and I personally didn't taste much of a difference (it was super tender, fall off the bone though). All in all, for the price and effort, I'd rather just throw it on the grill.

I'll stick to the supermarket 99 cents per pound chicken from now on. My highest weight was 420, I'm currently stuck at 320, so yes, overweight.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I think I may do a side by side test actually. I do in fact expect to taste a difference. At this point I have to decide whether or not I feel guilty or "bad" for buying supermarket chickens...I go back and forth. Which is why I brought up the point of what kind of standards do we have for all of our foods.

The question about being overweight might seem personal, but I'm just curious at how many people put care into what they eat, but not how much they eat! Or, whether being able to afford more food than we need, therefore eating more because we can, not so much because we're really hungry.

What are your thoughts about that?

Fatguy said...

You've described me to a "T". I take care to avoid processed food, sugar, and carbs that don't come from vegetables. In my personal case, I can avoid the stuff I've decided to disallow, but I try really hard to not overeat, but have about a 50/50 success rate. I think being unable to find the reason for that, is what's stopped my weight loss. I seem to overeat because it's just so good! It's hard to make a decision on whether or not I'm legitimately hungry, or my body's lying to itself, y'know?

I've witnessed those around me that definitely gained weight as their incomes increased. They definitely eat because they can afford more food, and most of them eat out for over 50% of their meals.

Tracy Reifkind said...

FG,our reply!

Thanks so much, and I want to take some time to reply to your repy, but I've got to get off to yoga by 10:00am.

But I can tell you my thoughts on what you wrote about "your body" lying to you. It's not your body! It's your head! Your body is telling you quite the opposite!

Why are you telling yourself that you are still hungry when your body is clearly reminding you you couldn't be? I can only share with you what it is, and was for me and how I've changed how I think...when I get back, take a nap and have more energy!

Fatguy said...

I look forward to your reply!

Pat Carroll said...

Look at the inflation from the 50s/60s to now ... gas in particular. Food is way behind. We pay less for food as a percentage of our income than any other nation in the world. (Except maybe in Cali.) On the East Coast, we buy free-range chickens for $20+ and yes, they're worth it.