Miranda again, with an interesting take on vegan slow food.
So back to the grocery store sadness. Every day I check out people's food. Literally, I take a gander at what's in the basket to base a conversation, how quickly they want out of the store, and what type of eaters they really are. Stick with me here. This will all make sense in the end. Promise.
Growing up as a child in a family of five, we didn't always have a ton of money to eat lavishly for every meal. My mom made the most of everything she could put onto our plates. Even if it meant eating chicken six nights a week, she still put thought and love into every dish. I laugh thinking about how it was so easy for me to become a vegan. I couldn't stand to eat another chicken in my entire life!
Back to the market. There are four types of shoppers as I see it.
1. Staple buyers, the type of folks that will get bread, fruits, veggies, grains, and water.
2. Frozen food only. I rarely find maybe a jug of milk or a non frozen item in these baskets.
3. 50% to 50% folks, they have a little bit fresh, and a little bit frozen.
4. Meal to meal shoppers, these are the kind we most relate to. Shopping for each specific meal.
My mom was a staple shopper. She made the most of every penny she had (coupon clipping and all) to make sure that her children still had food to eat. We, on the other hand, are meal to meal shoppers. We buy for specific meals that we are making in our home, as not waste food (and money) in our everyday lives. Sometimes, people think this is a hassle. I think this is an opportunity to get back to the vegan roots. Just roots in general. I love to take pride in the meals that we cook. I love to bring my leftovers to work the next day, and let non vegans (I don't work with a single vegan person) try the great stuff we come up with. Not that I want to shove it in their face (well sometimes I'd like to), they all seem to think that being vegan means having no fun with the food that we work so hard to make and eat. Geoff spent 3 hours the other day making seitan for me. I've been wanting to step away from the pre-packaged commercial "vegan" eats that are available. Not that there is anything wrong with these products, but they lose the focus. We have stopped buying peanut butter, we're making it at home! We make cookies, cakes, granola, bagels, anything that would be quicker just to buy, we make it at home. The basics for us now are just the basics. The way vegan cooking should be. Nice and slow, not always easy, but well worth it in the long run. This is also better for your pocketbook!
The focus for us starts here: we are vegan for the animals first and foremost, but secondly we are vegan for the vegetables. If I can't even recognize what it is, or the ingredients in it, should I really consume it? The answer blaring in my ears is no. I can tell you what went into the seitan Geoff made. No questions asked. It took time and absolute caring to get six pieces of seitan after two hours of cooking. The pride and satisfaction to have conquered that goal, and had five kick ass meals after that, are priceless. Have we all forgotten that sort of pride? Are we stuck in the rut of buying frozen foods because it's quicker? Most of the meals we make at home take at least and hour to make. I think we put thought into every dish and don't skip ahead to get the food at the table faster. I personally don't think 30 minutes is enough. Dinner is an event. I have said this before, we plan dinner for the next night while we're eating the one we just made.
Take pride in the food you eat. Take pride in the food you cook. Take pride in knowing that you took the time to make something you cared about. Even when the caring goes past the animals. Treat your food right. Give it the time and justice it deserves.
Have fun staying vegan!
Photo credit thegrocer* on flickr.
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