Fresh Food for Strong Families
Fresh, natural food makes people strong. The childhood obesity epidemic, adult diabetes, and spiraling healthcare costs are a direct result of people not eating well. America has been feeding on a diet of cardboard-boxed, processed foods of low quality, and we are paying the price. We feast on hormone-filled produce and steroid cultured meat of extremely questionable value. And we wonder why we don’t enjoy eating anymore.
I think it’s partly a result of America’s values of thrift and efficiency, values carried to an extreme, and encouraged by the marketing machinery of corporate food companies. In some ways, America has produced bountiful and varied foods, and created a lot of convenience. But we’d be better off if the pendulum swung back the other way a bit, and we decided to make good food part of our lives again.
Some Practical Advice – Use Your Freezer
Our acceptance of unhealthy and tasteless food is partly societal forces, and partly ignorance. People mistakenly think it’s hard or expensive to cook good, fresh food for their families. But anyone can. It is simply a matter of taking advantage of scale.
Make fresh food, but make lots of it and freeze it. You can make many quarts of fresh soups and sauces, and freeze it (or jar it) in dinner size portions. You can do the same thing with meatballs and avoid buying frozen (non)chicken tenders by battering and freezing your own. There arte numerous examples where this works.
Making 10 quarts of sauce takes about as much time as one quart, and the ingredients are cheaper. Take advantage of that secret that restaurants exploit everyday - cooking at scale is easier, saves money, and helps avoid unhealthy processed foods.
My freezer commonly contains lemon wine, minestrone, pasta sauce, chicken, basil, etc. Freezing and refrigeration is a beautiful thing, and you should be taking advantage of it. If you don’t think so, just read the ingredients on the next processed dinner you buy at the supermarket.
Shopping is Fun – Just The Supermarket is Hell
You’ll also be surprised to find that life is cheaper and more pleasant if you spend your time at the deli, butcher, and produce market, instead of the supermarket with its endless shelves of cardboard boxes. Supermarkets rarely have the best prices on goods, charging you a steep commission for the convenience of one-stop shopping.
Pittsburgh is a wonderland for foodies. A jaunt down to the strip, and you can get strictly superior foods for strictly superior prices. You might try Wholey’s for meats or Penn Mac for an array of great Italian imports. You can also buy Amish goods locally for great dairy, and even get honey from local beekeepers.
Anywhere you live, life is more enjoyable and healthy if you buy fresh local produce and dairy, and seek out the family shops and regional institutions that care more about food and family than dollars and cents. If you want to be creative, try having a little garden and grow vegetables and herbs of your own.
It’s About Family
In the end, eating well is the best thing you can do to grow a strong family. Beyond just nutrition, eating and cooking together is a basic act of humanity that brings families together. If you haven’t cooked a meal or sat down with your family to a feast of fresh meats and vegetables recently, time to get your priorities straight.
Chef Claudio Presents - Meatballs, part 1
Chef Claudio has cooked classic Abruzzi style Italian cuisine in Pittsburgh for nearly 50 years.