Food & Drink Magazine

Lets Talk About Food

By Mariealicerayner @MarieRynr
Lets Talk About Food 
I think it was the other week that I heard on the television that people who consume a diet which largely consists of highly processed foods do not live as long as people who don't.  This makes sense in many ways.  When I was a child we only ever rarely ate processed food, unless you counted processed cheese slices.  I went many years considering cheese slices to be, well . . . "Cheese!"  Once a year my mother would buy a brick of Cracker Barrel cheese, for Christmas . . . as a treat.  Other than that our diet consisted basically of simple food, cooked simply, and from scratch.  Anything which might have been processed such as a frozen pot pie was a rarity and considered to be a treat. 
Food was pretty basic and seasonal for the most part. We had fresh carrots and turnips, potatoes, cabbage and tinned peas and beans  . . . and once in a blue moon tinned corn.  In the summer months we would have corn on the cob during corn season and we would fill up on that, and there was always plenty of sliced fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. 
Meat was also pretty simple. Once a year our parents would purchase a hind of beef and that was our red meat.  Chicken was a very occasional treat, and maybe pork chops every now and then. At Thanksgiving and Christmas we would have a turkey. New Years and Easter brought a ham.  Sundays we always had a roast of some kind . . .  pork, or beef for the most part.  The pork was always cooked the day before and served cold, sliced into very thin slices and there would be mustard on the table to have with it. Sometimes we had pork sausages, which we enjoyed with dollops of mayonnaise, something which I still enjoy to this day.  Occasionally we would have fish, but it was not battered fish, or fish fingers  . . . my mother would buy a block of Captain Highliners Frozen Fish and it would be cut into portions to feed the family.  In the summer we sometimes had tinned salmon served cold on a plate with perhaps some potato salad and coleslaw. Always homemade.  Mushrooms came in cans, and my mother made her own soups.
Dessert was a rare treat, served for special occasions, like birthdays or holidays meals.  On Fridays we always had hot dogs for supper, I know processed . . .  but they would be followed by a dish of ice cream and sometimes we were allowed to spoon jam over top of the ice cream.  
We were not allowed to fill up on things like cookies or cakes . . .  occasionally my mom would bake an apple pie or a lemon meringue or coconut cream.  Sometimes she would buy cake donuts which she would reheat in a paper bag in a low oven.  They were delicious, but again a rare treat. 
Everything was pretty basic. My father didn't like strange food, or exotic flavours.  He liked his food seasoned simply, with salt and with pepper.  The only time we ate out in restaurants was when we were moving house. 
Lets Talk About Food 
We picked wild blueberries in the summer and strawberries, which my mother froze to make into pies and such in the winter or strawberry jam.  We hardly ever had store bought jam. We had bananas and apples to eat, but otherwise we had mostly tinned fruit.  Potato chips were a Saturday night treat, something to eat while Hockey Night in Canada was on.  We each got a tiny fruit nappy sized bowl with some chips in it.  At Christmas there would be treats like my mother's homemade War Cake and Date Squares, maybe some gumdrop cake, some homemade fudge, a bit of hard candy and barley sugar toys.  At Easter we got spoiled with chocolate rabbits and marshmallow eggs.  We didn't have soda pop or even cool-aid to drink really, except as an occasional rare treat. We had water and were allowed a glass of milk with our meals and a glass of juice with our breakfast and milk on our cereal. None of us were overweight, and I don't think we ever really felt deprived.   At least I didn't.
Lets Talk About Food 
We in the Western world are really spoilt for choice when it comes to food.  I don't think many of us are what you would call starving and very few of us know what it is like to go well and truly hungry. If we want strawberries in December, we can get them.  We have access to some of the most exotic produce from around the world 365 days a year.  Eating seasonally is almost a thing of the past, and we are fatter than ever.  A lot of families rely on processed foods or takeaways.  With both parents working, time is of the essence and nobody really wants to spend hours in the kitchen cooking a meal after working hard all day. Most people just want to relax and quite rightly so.  But it's killing us. 
Some families rely on box meal plans like Hello Fresh or Gusto where all the pre-packed/planned recipes/ingredients are delivered to your home ready for you to cook up healthy meals quickly and tastily.  They are not a bad thing and for the most part pretty healthy, but they come at a premium price.  
I will be honest.  I don't know how family's manage these days.  Good, healthy food, is expensive and becoming more so all the time. It should really be the other way around.  Junk food should be expensive and healthy food should be affordable.
Lets Talk About Food 
I've been really thinking a lot about how we can eat healthier in this house lately.  I am a diabetic and I need to watch my carb count and my sugars.  Sugar just doesn't come as something white and powdered that you sprinkle on your cereal and bake into your cakes.  It is hidden in just about everything, truth be told, and especially in processed foods.   They are high in salt, fats and sugars.  Low fat goodies are also not so good for you.  When they take the fat out of things, they put the flavor back in somehow . . .  and it usually comes in the form of sugars. 
I baked some really nice little muffins the other morning.  They were delicious and had no fat, refined sugars or even flour in them.  They were the exception to the rule.  I also baked a cake this weekend.  I got the recipe from Sugar Free Londoner for a low carb, sugar free, gluten free almond cake.  It looked really good, and as you can see from the photograph, even the one I baked looked really good . . . 
Lets Talk About Food  
It cut like a cake . . .  as you can see . . .  but that is where any resemblance to a real cake ended.  It was blah.  Blah. Blah.  Seriously BLAH!  Even Todd, who is my biggest fan ever and thinks I walk on water when it comes to cooking, even he said it was blah.  I can't even begin to describe it.  The consistency was like a thick almond omelet. 
Lets Talk About Food 
I tried dusting it with some sugar free icing sugar, and serving it with some sliced pears and  a dollop of yogurt . . .  there is no redeeming it in my opinion.  This was totally disappointing.  I was expecting cake. I did not get it.  I guess the lesson here is clear.  Cake is cake.  This is not cake, no matter how much you try to dress it up as a cake.   More's the pity.  And it used a crap load of ground almonds, which aren't cheap and 5 large eggs.  (No wonder it tasted like a stodgy almond omelet.) 
I think from now on if I want to eat a cake, I will bake and eat a proper cake.   No more monkeying around. No more playing around with impostors.  I am not ready to give up cake altogether. I like cake.  A cup of tea and a slice of cake is one of life's little pleasures. 
 Now I am wondering about bread.  I had clipped some recipes on keto type of breads and even went so far as to buy almond and coconut flours  . . .  but after this cake experience . . .  I am thinking that I am only going to get more of the same eggy omelet things, but in a different shape, something masquerading as bread, but not really bread at all. 
Lets Talk About Food 
Oh, and further in my quest towards healthy eating I recently purchased some turkey sausages the other day.  HUGE disappointment.  They were pasty  and flavourless . . . we did not like them at all.  And they were in beef casings.  What's up with that?  Read the fine print people.  You are not always getting what you think you are getting.  So for now at least . . .  its back to the drawing board.  
Perhaps if we just eat plain and simple, REAL food with the occasional treat we would be a lot better off and healthier.  People who were living on rationing during WW2 and afterwards were some of the healthiest people ever, despite school dinners.  Just my two cents worth.  What do you think??  I really want to know.
Lets Talk About Food

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog