Sunday, October 16, 2011

food markets across cultures

Rome, Italy

Chennai, India
Blog Action Day 2011 Food

links updated 02/18/16 - I remembered a bit late that it is Blog Action Day today. As I looked through my pictures for ideas, I have plenty of photos of friends and special gatherings that included food... but none of our local markets. I figured the above travel photos made a great contrast next to each other. Fruits and veggies and seafood are common themes. However, I did not have a comparable photo from Chennai for cured meats like in Rome. Go figure. I'll let the folks who read this make their own conclusions about each photo.

Travel shopping aside, we live within reasonable walking distance to 3 grocery stores, 2 farmers' markets, and a couple convenience or ethnic markets. And, yet more often than not, like today, we chose to drive to the supermarket up the hill. Why? Because it's the cheapest. We spent $82.99 for a week's worth of groceries, much of it boxed or somehow wrapped in plastic. I'm a little embarrassed on several levels about this.

While Andy and I have gradually cut out many commercially canned, jarred, or frozen food items from our diets (not on principle, more for taste), I'll admit that I rarely buy organic. Quite frankly, I don't trust the label "organic" and feel it's a successful marketing ploy to charge twice the price, e.g., organic milk anyone? Plus, given my research background, I know organic does not necessarily mean pesticide-free. Doesn't anyone else miss the butterflies? We almost always take our own canvas bags and reuse those plastic produce bags until they're too torn to use. I tried my hand at growing my own tomatoes this year, and I ended up unintentionally raising more aphids per pound than tomatoes. Maybe someday, we'll have the opportunity to grow our own food, not counting culinary window herbs. It seems unnatural that it's practically an American luxury to have homegrown, unadulterated food.

When all is said and done, I feel incredibly blessed that I can afford to buy food... the energy for life. As a continuing theme from my last Blog Action Day post, my sister and I were "found" abandoned in a food market.  My mother told me she was coming back.  She never did.  At least she had the sense to leave us where there was food and help.