I love this quote about Julia Child

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by rpooley, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. rpooley

    rpooley

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    "Wealthy Victorians served Strawberries Romanoff in December; now we demonstrate our superiority by serving our dewy organic berries only during the two-week period when they can be picked ripe off the vine from the boutique farm down the road from our Hampton bungalow.  People speak of gleaning the green markets for the freshest this, the thinnest that, the greenest or firmest or softest whatever, as if what they're doing is a selfless act of consummate care and good taste, rather than the privileged activity of someone who doesn't have to work for a living.

    But Julia Child isn't about that.  Julia wants you - that's right, you, the one living in the tract house in the sprawling suburbia with a dead-end middle management job and nothing but a Stop and Shop for miles around - to know how to make good pastry, also how to make those canned green beans taste all right.  She wants you to remember that you are human, and as such are entitled to that most basic of human rights, the right to eat well and enjoy life.

    And that blows heirloom tomatoes and first-press Umbrian olive oil out of the water."

    Julie Powell
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  2. annieskitchen

    annieskitchen

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    Green this, organic that.

    Normal stuff I was buying four or five years ago (nut flours, for example) were moved to the ORGANIC section and the price was hiked up. It is the exact same stuff, same packaging.

    "Fresh" is a rip-off.
     
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  3. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Rpooley, I do agree somewhat with what you are saying but I also feel that there is room for both.  I agree that the words, "local", "green", or "organic" have become very trendy and people can get too caught up in that.  Let's face it, we will never do away with canned foods and coinvienence products.  There will always be people that don't have access to, or can afford much of the fresh foods that we often take for granted.  Nor would they know what to do with them.  And I agree that you can make good food out of many of these products with just a bit of know-how.

    But I also know that that there is nothing better than fresh from the farm produce.  Heirloom tomatoes or strawberries are a hundred times better when bought from a local source as they can be picked at the peak of ripeness instead of under ripe so that they can survive the thousand mile journey.  And there are plenty of great heirloom vegetables, grown by local farmers, that taste much, much better than most of the store bought stuff that has been bred, not for flavor, but shelf life or to look like what we expect food to look like.
     
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  4. rpooley

    rpooley

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    @Pete    And I also agree with you.   :)

    I just find sometimes in conversations with chefs or people who like to cook, that sometimes people forget that the vast majority of Earthlings (currently) can't always get/afford the best of the best and have to learn to make do.  That is actually something I find fascinating in my own culinary education, that much of the world can create fantastic dishes out of pretty subpar ingredients.  
     
  5. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    We planted our first seeds at the end of January on a hunch that the winter would be short and sweet.

    The tomato plants (and onions) went in as soon as they showed up at the neighborhood farm and ranch supply store in Feb.

    I plucked a couple of ripe cherry tomatoes yesterday and if I had to could pull some carrots today.

    In fact everything except the peas look great (the plants are a light green and look a bit stunted).

    Old seeds?

    Our yard is almost completely shaded and available garden space limited but we put in a veg and herb garden every year (using the 4X4 method).

    My point?

    You don't have to wait around for "local and seasonal" produce to show up at the roadside stands and farmers markets.

    Tomatoes for instance will do just fine planted in a pickle bucket.

    As will anything that can be trained to grow up a trellis.

    In fact if you were very motivated this could be done on a year round basis.

    As for out of season imported produce..... the amt of time spent between the farm and grocery does no one any favors....under/over ripe, bruised and sometimes moldy product mixed in with the rest and sold for exorbitant prices is criminal IMO.

    I am the person who opens all the cartons and picks thru them....discarding the nasty into a nice little pile and replacing with edible (yes I reweigh lol) because I refuse to pay for pre-packed sub par produce.

    The veg guys at all of my usual supermarkets know and are cool with this as I don't leave a huge mess for them to clean up.

    Hell sometimes they help me.

    Last week it was the strawberries.

    Some woman shopper informed me she was going to "turn me in" and I just laughed and told her if I didn't do it an employee would have to.

    She got this odd look on her face (eureka moment?) and opened a clamshell of berries and started picking thru them as well.

    Stepping off my soapbox now /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif.

    mimi
     
  6. rpooley

    rpooley

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    @flipflopgirl     How many hours a week does it require to maintain your garden?
     
  7. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Very little ... at this point mostly just training the plants where to grow and watering in the evenings (an hour or so) but we only planted 4 4x4s and 2 2x4s (herbs) this year.

    I make a pass thru in the early morning and pluck off whatever is ripe.

    We stagger the planting as well... we add another few plants/seeds 2-3 weeks after the first so not everything is ready at the same time.

    mimi
     
  8. rpooley

    rpooley

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    Sounds good, but I would imagine that because you enjoy it, I would have to propose (scientifically) that your time estimation may need to be investigated.  I can spend hours in the kitchen and it feels like nothing.  :)

    Anyway, even starting a garden is extremely difficult for some people.  I just sometimes feel like on many of these threads and forums, there is very little compassion or understanding for people trying to make do with less than optimal food supply/preparation circumstances.

    Not trying to be harsh, but after reading many, many threads, people are quick to criticize or slightly demean people just trying to make it work.
     
  9. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    I always plant a few stalks of corn.
     
  10. rpooley

    rpooley

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    @ChefBillyB     I guess you make a bowl or 2 of chowder.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif  
     
  11. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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  12. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    rpolleey, we have pigs,cows and chickens so the corn goes along way.
     
  13. rpooley

    rpooley

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    I think people forget that sometimes having choices is a luxury.
     
  14. jake t buds

    jake t buds

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    Gardens are great for people who have access to sunlight and space. The best I can do are herbs. I tried swiss chard and it worked ok, but didn't have enough sunlight to boom. Turned into exactly two side dishes. 

    I would also say that the convenience we have in regard to food is mostly corporation/ ideology driven. 

    Teach people to cook with average fresh ingredients, create a culture that respects food and meals, and maybe more people would cook instead of just peeling open a can of beans.  Knowledge is power, and we've been culturally conditioned to think meals are just sustenance, taking a back seat to work, or life in general. I have friends that think preparing a meal is a pain in the ass. 

    This would be disaster for Big Agribusiness and the Fast Food/ Beverage industry. 

    Calling naturally grown produce organic, natural or local "trendy" just plays into the idea that Monsanto and huge government subsidised farms should continue their dominance, pushing out local small farms and businesses, forcing them to overcharge simply to make a profit. Economies of scale, and all that.

    I don't have huge issues with convenience per se, it's just that it's taken over and natural/ fresh ingredients have been re-framed as "special (therefore garnering a bigger price tag)," when it should be the other way around. Look at how markets are now selling "damaged" or "not pretty" produce because they are missing out on bucket loads of profits due to waste. This idea that a pretty peach and a not bruised apple or a funny looking carrot wasn't desirable came from advertising and corporations trying to define a need. The same way they say convenience is better than not, and we cannot feed the growing demand without GMO and industrialized food production. Everything in moderation, but capitalism doesn't know what moderation is. 

    Things are changing though. For the better.

    As an aside, anybody having problems with spell check? Hasn't worked for days. 
     
  15. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    That's why I try not to judge around here.  Yes, we do have quite a community of foodies and gourmands, but we also have people with little, to no, experience, or the means to eat like some of us.  It is my belief that everyone can cook and eat well, even on a budget, and with time constraints. I have also seen a lot of people on here that think that most convienence foods are the pinnacle of dining or think way too highly of fast food and most chain restaurants.  I believe that there is room for both and I try and share my passion with others without judging.  Besides, its pretty hard to judge when you have as many "guilty" pleasures as I do.  Sometimes though I think that some posters come on here with really dumb questions or start posts about fast food just to troll and see what kind of response they get.
     
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  16. rpooley

    rpooley

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    @jake t buds    You make some excellent points, especially how people don't realize that it is not that much harder to cook from scratch with average ingredients than to buy processed.  And of course Big Agribusiness wants to keep people slaves to processed food.  I make that point to people all the time. I will cook in the kitchen with friends over and in the time it takes to down a martini, I can have a simple meal on the table.  I want them to see it can be done.

    But then you get someone who is cooking from scratch and they say they use dried herbs and someone comes down on them.  Or maybe regular button mushrooms are a better buy for them than the wild mushroom mix in the adjacent shelf.  That kind of thing bugs me.
     
  17. jake t buds

    jake t buds

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    @rpooley  Agreed. It's nice to have choices. But I never chastise people for their choices. The idea is to educate, not reprimand. Although once again, if you educate, you're being labeled as elite or uppity because our culture says so.

    If brown button mushrooms are in your budget, I have a handful of recipes that will make those mushrooms outstanding, healthy, and filling. On the other hand, I recommend everybody get spices whole, and not buy them ground already. Get a grinder. The difference is exponential, and is probably cheaper, too. Some herbs work fine dried, others not so much. Dried basil is one of them. But if someone wants to use it, to each their own. 

    I also have to say that most of the people I know that think preparing meals is a chore, didn't come from families where cooking and mealtime were a big deal. Parents that didn't really care to cook, or center a family around meals. Sure, cooking can sometimes be a chore. I understand that, but as you said, it doesn't have to be most of the time if you know what to do. It's meditation for me, and I can see how it might not be that way for others. It's all good. 
     
  18. annieskitchen

    annieskitchen

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    I live in a condo. No garden here.

    But I sure wish I had one.

    I don't even buy the grocery stores' rock hard cantaloupes, hard tomatoes and hard Georgia peaches anymore. I had to return the last bag of tangelos, too, as they were rock hard.
     
  19. rpooley

    rpooley

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    @AnniesKitchen     Tomatoes are a good example.  If you only have access to lousy supermarket tomatoes, you can still improve them by salting lightly and letting stand or by roasting them in an oven to concentrate them.  Sure, it's not perfect but lemons from lemonade, you know.....

    I guess it depends though on how badly you need a tomato, though.

    I hope you get a garden soon.
     
  20. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Are you living the life that you choose or are you living the have that you have. I'm not saying we all have the life that we choose everyday. We all have responsibilities that we have to live with that may give us a home life that we choose. Some of us may work two jobs to live a life that e choose. The thing I love about our country is we have choice. I think you have plan and work to be able to have more choices. I'm not talking about people who have illness that have physical conditions that may hamper their ability to have choices. I think most healthy people waste the choices they have in life. I wasted many chances in my younger years to better myself and have more. It was my choice to take the road I took. I made better choices later that lead me to be in the position I am in today. I don't think in most people lives are a dead end. If their life is a dead end it maybe because of the choices they made. 
     
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