Monday, March 3, 2008

Wherein I Officially End An Important Relationship

Fix the Farm Bill

Crunchy Chicken made my fifteen minutes of armchair activism fairly easy this morning, with her most recent campaign to fix the farm bill. I urge you all to write your representative about this. The farm bill doesn't get much attention, which is weird considering how it almost single-handedly directs how agriculture is conducted in this country. Crunchy makes it super-easy for you too providing a template and everything. I took her template, and tweaked it a little to talk about how modifying the farm bill is good for California as well as the rest of the country.

Speaking of food, I gotta tell you, I never, ever thought of myself as someone who could cook before. Oh, I could follow a recipe, but to me there's a keen distinction between following a recipe (which anyone who can read can do) and cooking. I could do the former, and I could do the former well, even for complicated dishes. But I did not know how to cook the simplest dish.

But ever since DeSloFooMo, I've been forced to learn. Now that frozen or one-serving meals are pretty much verboten, if I want to eat, I have to do more than microwave. And I gotta tell you, that what started as a personal campaign against waste has become much more. It's not just that frozen meals produce a lot of trash, they have a lot of preservatives and sodium. And frankly? Now that I've started to remember what a home cooked meal tastes like? Well, Lean Cusine just doesn't compare.

On Wednesday night, I decided to try out a turkey-bacon chili recipe for the first time. I left out two spices I didn't have, and subbed in five others that I did have. Six months ago, I would never, ever have thought to defy a recipe. That would be blasphemy! I would have hurried off to the store and bought the two spices I didn't own, and never thought of adding anything else. But, now those once-weak cooking muscles are much stronger, and I'm no longer afraid to use those muscles. It's exciting to take a recipe and "make it my own," as Simon Cowell would say.

Fast-forward to Friday, when I handed a bowl of my chili to a co-worker of mine. "Wow," she said tasting it. "You know, I'm a Texan, and so I'm a huge chili snob. This? Is good chili."

Wow. No one ever complimented my microwaving skills like that!

So, sorry, Lean Cuisine. You probably have been wondering why I've been avoiding your eye in the grocery store. Why I ignore your calls. You send me coupons (5 for $10!) and I am still not enticed. And well, you've been good to me in the past, so I feel I owe you an explanation.

It's like this. We had a good run. But frankly, I've changed, and you ... well you haven't. It's not your fault, exactly. It's me. I want more than what you could provide me. I want food instead of maltodextrin and xanthan gum, and taste instead of cardboard. You were convenient, Lean Cuisine, but you didn't have much else to offer. So it's over. Don't try to call me or email anymore. Let's just agree to go our separate ways. No muss. No fuss. Breaking up is never easy. But it's time.

9 comments:

Beany said...

I saw some gross pictures of chicken a few years back (I think from Tyson) and I've never eaten chicken if I didn't know where it came from. You have to wonder about those $2 meals...

I sent out my emails as well. Hope something happens. I've been on this topic since early last year...and I feel like nothing is happening on the legislative front. I feel like if a massive case of diarrhea hits the nation from eating crappy food...things will start moving swiftly along. :D

Ha! Sometimes I amuse myself too much.

Cindy said...

Aside from not knowing where all the food-like bits come from, I have a major problem with Lean Cuisine - there is just not enough for me to eat!! I get hungry after an hour. I realize how much veggies I actually consume. The LC portion has about 1/8 of the veggies I normally eat (okay, maybe 1/4).

I know exactly what you mean by cooking being different from following recipes. I can follow a recipe as well as the next person. But I suppose only after one follows recipes long enough will she/he has the confidence to mess with recipes. At least for most people. In my current stage, whenever I try to omit/swap ingredients from a recipe, the dish often turns out neither here nor there. Oh well. Gotta start somewhere...

Onto being an armchair activism.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Again with the bacon!

arduous said...

Heh, don't worry, Crunchy, it's the SAME bacon I was talking about last week. I didn't finish a whole packet of bacon and run out and buy another one or anything!!

Mad Hatter said...

Congrats on your liberation from frozen foods! That turkey-bacon chili sounds yummy.

ScienceMama said...

Go, Arduous, go!

I'm so glad that your cooking challenge has been a life-changer for you!

Green Bean said...

Awesome! I too ended my relationship with Lean Cuisine. The food, not so good compared to our collective massively impressive cooking skills, and fresh food. The waste, ugg, that's what got me in the first place. So much to throw out. Good for you!

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well, the food made by yourself is always more delicious and healthy

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