I felt compelled to get a little academic this weekend and write a little essay about food. So that you don't get bored while reading, I've provided you with some of the best of my personal cellphone photography pics.
After two months of Conscious Eating, I have another look at some of the food we eat and how we eat it.
The influx of cooking shows on television can make any viewer feel like a celebrity any night of the week. Technology and its sources have flooded the market making a gourmand out of any and everyone. Transcontinental travel, the Internet, multiculturalism, and global awareness make it impossible to be left in the dark about food. These are high times for international cuisine. These are also agonizing times.
Concerns and eyebrows are rising for consumers and food industry leaders concerning nutrition, diet, food sanitation, and safety. Cooks have turned away from mass-marketed sources. Cooks have turned toward inexpensive, sustainable efforts to ensure that quality, nutrition, and hunger needs are met. Recent national recalls of vegetables, meats, and pet foods send out a cause for concern as well.
Home cooks have turned to homegrown resources to pick up where the food industry has failed them. “Victory gardens” have turned into community gardens to produce safe food for families. Local slow food movements are gaining ground in communities to make the public aware of alternatives to mass-produced foodstuffs. As everyone can tell by their grocery bills, food costs are getting higher each month. Cooking for sport and personal enjoyment is not an option for many singletons or for families anymore. The search is constant and furtive for inexpensive venues and establishments to purchase high quality, low cost products.
Frozen foods and convenience entrees have been an ever-popular trend in home and professional cooking. Since Swanson introduced the first “TV dinner” in 1956, the frozen food industry hasn’t been the same. Modern food preservation, storage, and transportation have made fresh and exotic foods readily available to consumers and professional cooks. As savvy consumers, we demand flavor, quality ingredients, and a need to feel as if we’ve traveled to an exotic place outside our local grocer’s freezer section.
Since the inception of the American Frozen Food Institute, the industry has reached new heights. This national trade association represents all aspects of the frozen food industry supply chain, from manufacturers to distributors to suppliers to packagers. AFFI also provides regulations for safety and sanitation of frozen foods and monitors the delivery and marketing of frozen foods as well. Frozen foods are not only an integral part of home life, but commercial industries depend on them to better our lives.
Some feel that with all the technology that enables foodservice to be faster and more convenient, the need for chefs and other culinary professionals will be eliminated or greatly reduced. This is all but true. The science and professionalism of food is of utmost importance when food is prepared for frozen use. Anyone who has attempted to re-heat or oven-bake a foil-wrapped chicken after being in the freezer, the taste isn’t the same. The meat isn’t quite as juicy. The color isn’t as flush and inviting. Chefs, scientists, nutritionists, technicians, and the occasional artist all weigh in to create meals for kings and queens of convenience.
A number of casual dining establishments utilize individually quick frozen foods, frozen entrees and main course meals to serve you. Anywhere from six to 15 minutes after ordering, a freshly nuked gourmet meal can be plated and brought to you. A number of households choose to go the same route.
In the end, whether you prefer fresh and natural foods to frozen convenience foods, you have those choices because of the myriad of global influences on our world.