Sunday, August 22, 2010

What's in a Meal?

Like everyone else, I depend on the offerings at the local supermarkets and I have to take it on faith that the food is hygienic and safe. Which brings up the salmonella scare. The purity of the food I cook and serve has become a concern. So I wrestled with my choices: of buying food at Big Organic, Michael Pollan's term in the Omnivore's Dilemma for chains like Whole Foods, or buying food at chain supermarkets like Associated. But is it tasty? Is food safer at Big Organic? Moreover, since moving to New York earlier this month I am still reeling from the shock of food prices here, of how easy it is to put down $90.00 for groceries that don't even last a week.

And then there's the fact I don't eat beef. Because the relative scarcity and expense of beef in Thailand, I got out of the habit of eating it. Pork and poultry are relatively less expensive because they are more popular. Here, pork is harder to find. If I want meat that has no antibiotics and is "humanely raised"(e.g. free range chickens) then I have choices. Either I pay $3.99 a pound for ground meat or $6.99 a pound for ground turkey breast. The qualms about my pocketbook outweighed my preferences, so in the end, I gave in and bought ground beef at Whole Foods at $3.99 per pound. I'll have to admit it wasn't bad. But was it safer to eat? That's something I'll probably never know!

The kitchen
This is not the tiniest kitchen in which I've ever cooked a meal. The kitchen at Bancroft Hall, Teachers College, was smaller than most walk-in closets. Although it looks well-equipped, I'm still setting up this kitchen. For cooking I need proper knives and I needed Asian sauces and spices. I went to Chinatown yesterday and bought the spices and sauces that you now see arranged in a row above the stove top. For baking, I scoured two thrift shops and found cookie sheets, a tube pan, and a square cake pan, all like new. So watch this blog for more baking and cooking!

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