Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chemical Health

What is it with the world? How is it that I can get a full meal for less than $5 at any old local fast food restaurant but if I head over to get some chemical free organic produce and vegetables, I’d better up my line of credit at the bank?

Isn’t it a sad state of affairs that we can get grapes brought in from Chile for cheaper than we can get organic oranges and apples right here from our own country?

By the way…if grapes are seedless now, how do they make new grapes??? I’m just waiting for the day of pitless cherries and peaches. That would be weird.

Anyone remember the taste of a real tomato? Not that red thing you could bounce like a superball or that “hot house” one that feels perfect but is so bland and pasty you could use it for window sill caulking. I’m talking about a home grown, unpestified tomato! I mean, come on folks, the tomato is actually a fruit. The government had it changed officially to a vegetable; probably just so they could manipulate and sell those crappy ones.


It seems like most fruit these days is picked completely green, trucked half way around the world and then put into special rooms where they gas them with chemicals to simulate them getting ripe. All this really does is lure you into thinking the store has great produce! Look at that luscious plum. Too bad it was picked green and then nuked until it turned purple. Why not just hire somebody to take some purple Crayola crayons and color them? That might actually be healthier because crayons aren’t toxic.

Strawberries are another one of my pet peeves. I don’t know what your local strawberries are like but here in Oregon, they have such a high fructose content that they have a shelf life of like one day. If fact the season is only about three weeks long. Smuckers and Haagen-Dazs buy the majority of them for their jams and jellies. But it’s California strawberries that I have to endure the rest of the year. They are like eating the unscented version of some fabric softener. Not that I have tried that…

Ever buy blackberries or raspberries off season? They systematically place the good berries at the top of the container and hide the already molded ones just below it so by the time you bring it back home and realize you only have 10 good berries in the whole bunch you’re too tired to take them back. The guy that stacks them is probably in the back of the store looking through the one way mirror cracking up as you unwittingly purchase their moldy berries. Damn them!


And this…well leave it to the Japanese to find a way to morph a watermelon into storage practicality!

26 comments:

RED MOJO said...

I do know what real home grown organic tomatoes taste like, because I grow them. I love actual tomatoes, and can't stand the edible plastic ones you pay too much for at the store.
You are right though, I've always noticed that is much more expensive to eat healthy, than to become one of America's many obese. That kind of food is convenient, fast and cheap.

lime said...

i will say this. where i live we recently got a panera. i was hesitant to try it because i am suspicious of chains but i checked the website and it talked about natural ingredients. i checked the nutritional info and it was pretty good. i went to eat there and it was REASONABLY priced. i think it's a pretty decent quick alternative to fast food which i utterly loathe.

that said, i long for real tomatoes and there is nothing like a berry in season. i don't bother with them at all off season. they just absolutely are not worth it. and those melons are completely disturbing.

VE said...

red mojo - You're lucky. Unless I have a greenhouse, tomatoes can only be grown in season around here. There aren't any great choices as a substitute

lime - I tried Panera about a month ago and you are right, it's not bad for a chain. Of course, you KNEW I had to feature something disturbing...

leelee said...

Living in Florida we get a pretty good amount of real fruits and veggies in the winter. Granted they do pick too early, but this week the Florida strawberries were scrum-dilly-ishus. I cannot buy a decent cantalope to save my life no matter what time of year..and I have been buying the expensive designer tomatoes because they actually have flavor, but at like 3.99 a pound It's a treat.

I miss the days of Jersey Tomatoes and corn in the summer time. Perhaps I'll have to go up just to have them again this summer.

Great song parody this week VE...you are such a talent!

Marie said...

I only buy Roma or vine ripened tomatoes now, they're the only kind that are still tomato flavored.

When I was a kid plums were elicious, but now they taste like potatoes.

Mr Farty said...

Many, many years ago I bought a brown paper bag of strawberries for my sick brother. The assistant at the store put them in the bag and, being a kid, I just trusted them.
When I got home my mum took one look in the bag and told me to take them back to the shop, there was no way my brother could eat those "mooly" things.
Back at the shop, I stood in front of the manager and asked for my money back as the strawberries were mooly. Now comes the good bit.
While the manager was standing ranting that there was nothing wrong with his store's strawberries and that I had a right flipping cheek to say otherwise, the soggy brown paper finally gave way and the soft, squishy fruit fell through the bottom of the bag and splattered all over the shop floor.

Yes, I did get my money back.

RED MOJO said...

I meant, I grow them in season. In the winter, I really just don't eat tomatoes.

Kurt said...

We have a greenmarket in our fair city that has farm fresh produce for much cheaper than what it sells for at the store. It's one of the advantages of living here. Otherwise, the place is a hellhole.

KatnAnna said...

I just joined a CSA, and surprisingly its affordable and super fresh.

20$ a week, for a full box of organic goodies.

Now I just have to cook every day,
no fast food or restaurants for us!

Love your blog,
Just Anna.

Serena Joy said...

I had a couple of slices of crappy hothouse tomato with my dinner -- and I have the indigestion to prove it. Ugh. Those square watermelons are kind of cool looking.:D

Jacki said...

I am so glad that someone else feels the same way I do about "fresh" fruit these days.

First, it isn't fresh anymore. It tastes like sh*t. I haven't been able to buy a decent cantalop or watermelon in over a year. They are all picked before they are ripe.

And second, it is so damn expensive! Out here in the DC-metro area I get excited when apples come on sale for $1.99/lb. There are times when literally, all I buy at the grocery store is fruits and vegetables and the total comes to $100. When I have to buy meat the total is $200. And that is for three people.

VE said...

leelee - I've often wondered if anyone grew real tasting tomatoes and sold them. I'll have to look into it; I can afford that

marie - I do the same; Roma. I quit buying plums because of that very same reason.

mr. farty - Great story. I'd love to have seen there faces when the sack gave and those nasty berries imploded on their floor...

red mojo - I can't seem to avoid them entirely.

kurt - So then you're saying its ok to live in a hellhole...as long as it has a nice greenmarket

katnanna - Welcome. What exactly is a CSA? I'll have to look into it

sj - Uggh on the hot house variety. All they do is pick them green, leave a vine on them and then gas them til they turn red. Meanwhile they are flavorless mush inside.

jacki - I can afford it; but I resent the fact that healthy costs so much more. It's all ass-backwards. But I'm also quite lazy and don't want to have to drive all over town to find good produce either.

VE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yes, my name is Arizona said...

When I had some land I had a huge garden and my tomatoes tasted great. But, now that I'm in the city I have to settle for the crap at the stores. We do have a farmer's market that is outstanding, so I shop there when its open. Trying to support the local farmers, y'know. :)

Yes, its sad that we can kill ourselves with "Value Meals", but can barely afford a truly healthy meal. Sad.

NYD said...

I have a farm, OK a farly good plot of land and the family grows a whole lot of our own vegetables, so I'm in agreement with you on this. Just please, please dont get dtarted on the meat and poultry industry or I'll end up only eating soy beans for the rest of my days.

Maureen said...

Holy crap! Talk about timing. Yesterday morning, we had lots of fruit to pick from for brekkie.

I cut into the whole pinapple.

Rotten. I threw it out.

I chose a nectarine next.

Brown inside. Crap. Threw that out too.

Then I tried some strawberries and had to throw half the pack away as I prefer my food without fur coats.

What was left?

A good ol' apple.

Geez.

sprinkle4 said...

My father used to plant a garden every summer when I was a kid, so for many years I had no clue how expensive real fruits and vegetables are. We now have a garden of our own. Otherwise, the only thing we could afford would be that brine soaked canned crap. This way, we get em straight from the vine, or ground...or whatever:)

VE said...

arizona - I'll admit, I'm a city boy and growing them sounds like a lot of work; but I'd support a farmers market for sure

nyd - Don't worry; I'm afraid of doing one on meat too

maureen - Don't you hate that? I brought back a hard pear from the store and it took half a day to practically be overripe

sprinkle4 - Even if you can afford them; they don't compare to growing them

elasticwaistbandlady said...

We actually tried to grow a watermelon like that awhile ago after reading an article about the ease of cutting cubed melon.

It's a mean trick to grow cubed melon, you know. It'll have generations of women with augmented breasts confused when guys compliment their melons. They'll want to sue the plastic surgeon.

VE said...

elastic - Yes, that does present a dilema for the entire plastic surgery industry, doesn't it?

Nikki & David Goldbeck said...

VE,
I have been writing about whole foods (before the chain) for more than 35 years and I have seen a teriffic increase in quality and availability of organic and clean food. Often the price is too high but in term of national food consumption they are still gourmet foods. CSAs, famers markets and more competition should help here. Thise looking for healthy options please take Anyone interested in finding fast or slow vegetarian/healthy places to eat should take a look at “Healthy Highways: The Traveler's Guide to Healthy Eating.” It has 1900 listings throughout the US complete with local driving directions. Owners also get free online updates – right now there are more than 500 new listings online. For more visit HealthyHighways.com
The answer is simply that you get what you pay for.
The good news: I have been writing about whole foods (before the chain) for more than 35 years and I have seen a terrific increase in quality and availability of organic and clean food. Often the price is high as in term of national food consumption they are still gourmet foods. CSAs, farmers markets and more competition should help here.

Anyone interested in finding fast or slow vegetarian/healthy places to eat should take a look at my book “Healthy Highways: The Traveler's Guide to Healthy Eating.” It has 1900 listings throughout the US complete with local driving directions. Owners also get free online updates – right now there are more than 500 new listings online. For more visit HealthyHighways.com
The answer is simply that you get what you pay for.
The good news: I have been writing about whole foods (before the chain) for more than 35 years and I have seen a terrific increase in quality and availability of organic and clean food. Often the price is high as in term of national food consumption they are still gourmet foods. CSAs, farmers markets and more competition should help here.

Anyone interested in finding fast or slow vegetarian/healthy places to eat should take a look at my book “Healthy Highways: The Traveler's Guide to Healthy Eating.” It has 1900 listings throughout the US complete with local driving directions. Owners also get free online updates – right now there are more than 500 new listings online. For more visit HealthyHighways.com
The good news: I have been writing about whole foods (before the chain) for more than 35 years and I have seen a terrific increase in quality and availability of organic and clean food. Often the price is high as in term of national food consumption they are still gourmet foods. CSAs, farmers markets and more competition should help here.

Anyone interested in finding fast or slow vegetarian/healthy places to eat should take a look at my book “Healthy Highways: The Traveler's Guide to Healthy Eating.” It has 1900 listings throughout the US complete with local driving directions. Owners also get free online updates – right now there are more than 500 new listings online. For more visit HealthyHighways.com

VE said...

nikki & david - Thanks for the information. I think your response stuttered there...it seems to repeat several times.

Bonnie said...

How do you grow a square watermellon exactly? Who has the kind of time to figure that out?

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