Grocery shopping has become a mine field of sorts. Since when did shopping for groceries become such a moral and social dilemma? I don’t think I’m that picky or uptight but I have to be honest I found myself thinking about the products I was picking up and considering putting in my cart. Is the sodium content too high? Fat content too high? Is there enough fibre? Is this coffee fair trade? I wonder what conditions those chickens lived in that are now $1.99 a lb. Is that salad organically grown? Is this fish a sustainable resource? Are those pears locally grown? Is this company using environmentally friendly packaging? I should try more vegetarian dishes. Does that have aspartame in it? Is this even food? Is this a good price? Forget about any allergy considerations! Yikes!
I’m sure our mothers never had to think about these things. My mother baked her own bread, went to the wharf and got fish from the guy who actually caught it. She bought fresh veggies from a farmer we visited more than my grandparents. Then she preserved a lot of that too. We grew our own beef sometimes or bought it from someone we knew. Had chickens and bought milk from the dairy farm down the road. Before you start thinking “those were the OLD days” let me assure you, I’m not that old! I suppose I could still do all those things but it’s a lot of work. Therein lies the problem. How much do I care where those carrots came from, or if that chicken never sees the cold light of day? Used to be on the grocery store trip all we focused on was sale items, remembering coupons and staying on budget. Now we consider all these other elements that leaves me feeling like the only thing safe to eat might be the apples from the veggie stand outside of town. Or did they use pesticides?
It’s a new world out there that requires diligence, patience and more time than it used to. I do think it’s possible to keep these things in mind and still feed your family – you just have to be a whole lot more creative and stock up on seed catalogs and chicken wire.
(The chicken in the photo looks a bit surly but he was a show chicken and I think a heritage breed shown at the NSPE in 2009 . He probably has a posh life where he beats up the farm dog and looks down his beak at all those genetically modified chickens.)