Posted in Eats, tagged clamshell, Earth Fare, food, greens, plastic, postaday2011, produce, quinoa, recycling, salad, steel-cut oats, washable produce bags on February 10, 2011 |
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In the end, it was nobody’s fault but my own that I brought home a monstrously large plastic box filled with salad greens. I already had my requisite $5 worth of Earth Fare hipster food (quinoa and steel-cut oats) in the cart, and the free salad coupon was burning a hole in my pocket. I sighed when I saw the packaging, but I put it in the cart anyway.
I didn’t truly realize how large the box was until I got it home and had to rearrange my entire refrigerator to make it fit.
I try not to buy produce in big plastic boxes like this, but other people obviously do. On the New York Times Freakonomics blog, James McWilliams maintains that this kind of packaging extends the life of produce, meaning that people are more likely to get a chance to eat it before it goes bad. Granted, this box of lettuce stayed reasonably fresh for the better part of two weeks. Had I been able to choose the amount of salad greens I was going to purchase, however, I never would have bought that much at one time. (And note that Earth Fare does offer a fresh mix of greens that you can purchase by the pound. Or ounce, in my case.)
Clamshell packaging just seems like so much overkill.
McWilliams points out that consumers could alleviate the need for food-extending packaging by learning how to shop strategically (don’t buy too much food at once), a skill that, admittedly, may be easier for a two-person household with a reasonably predictable routine.
Luckily, the box was No. 1 plastic, meaning I could put it in my recycling bin. I note, however, that a lot of houses in my neighborhood don’t put out a big blue recycling bin every week, so I fear that a lot of this packaging is not being recycled. Even if it is recycled — and even if the company uses 100 percent recycled plastic in the packaging — more plastic clamshells must be manufactured.
I guess what I’m saying is no more huge clamshell produce containers in the Haggerty household, free coupon or not. And I’m thinking that some sort of washable produce bags, like these, are in my future.
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Posted in Eats, Photographs, Travel, tagged breakfast, cooking, cowboy stew, cranberry compote, cranberry foam, destination dining, Doughnut Plant, doughnuts, eating out, EN, EN Japanese Brasserie, Facebook, food, Foreman Grill, hummus, husband, Jean Georges, Krispy Kreme, lasagna, Manhattan, New York City, oatmeal, quinoa, raisins, restaurant, sake, salad, sandwich, steel-cut oats, subway, sweet potato cake, tofu, travel, vacation, Valrhona chocolate, walnuts on December 14, 2010 |
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From Jean Georges in Manhattan: Warm sweet potato cake with a cranberry compote and cranberry foam.
When the husband and I go on vacation, we tend to plan our itinerary around food. We’re not the only people who do this, but I get mixed reactions from a few folks, some of whom apparently expect to hear more about the shows we’ve seen in New York City (most recent count: 0) than our sake-tasting and evaluation of the freshly made tofu at EN Japanese Brasserie (evaluation: awesome).
Some people get it: After a recent photo documenting our pilgrimage to the Doughnut Plant, one Facebook friend noted, “You take the best doughnut vacations ever!” Indeed, we do.
So what’s with our vacation food obsession? Honestly, we eat like monks at home. We have old-fashioned oatmeal (or steel-cut oats, if there’s time) with walnuts and raisins for breakfast every day. I almost always have a fresh salad and quinoa or hummus for lunch, while the husband consistently has a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Dinner might be homemade lasagna or something easy, like a cheese sandwich pressed into submission on the Foreman Grill with a bowl of leftover Cowboy Stew. We rarely go out to eat. We’ve found that one of the consequences of cooking your own healthy, delicious food at home is that your average restaurant food doesn’t measure up anymore.
What does measure up, however, is your above-average restaurant food. And this is what turns our vacations into the pursuit of destination dining. So while I can’t be bothered with a 10-minute drive to Krispy Kreme for Hot Doughnuts Now (trust me when I tell you that growing up with a Krispy Kreme within easy driving distance makes their doughnuts way less of an attraction later), I am perfectly willing to make a 15-minute hike to the subway station, stand on a crowded car for five minutes, make a 10-minute hike to the Doughnut Plant and stand in a long line for a Valrhona chocolate doughnut. I deem the calories worthwhile.
And that’s how my photo albums end up filled with pictures of doughnuts, ice cream, cheeseburgers and steamed shrimp, while we forget to take pictures of ourselves. Sorry, Mom.
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Posted in CSA, Eats, Photographs, tagged arugula, Birmingham, cashier, childhood, croutons, CSA, dressing, food, greens, husband, iceberg lettuce, Jitney Jungle, lettuce, mississippi, restaurant, salad, tomatoes on November 4, 2010 |
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I still remember the moment I discovered that salad could mean something more than iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, croutons and dressing. I was at a fancy mountainside restaurant in Birmingham, Ala., with my future husband, probably around 1995, when the waiter brought out our small starter salads. They were filled with … leaves. And no hint of the crunchy, flavorless iceberg lettuce my fiance and I had both grown up thinking was the foundation of salad.
I learned that the leaves were baby arugula greens, and suddenly a new culinary world opened for me: Salad was no longer that bland bit of crunch existing only to carry dressing or serve as a low-calorie, tasteless diet option, but a real opportunity for nutritious, delicious creativity in the kitchen. Non-iceberg greens could be sweet or bitter and carry their own weight in a salad without relying on the dressing to make up for lack of flavor.
How did America get so obsessed with iceberg lettuce? Probably the same reason that grocery-store tomatoes and apples taste like mushy cardboard: According to Practically Edible, iceberg lettuce is easy to grow, easy to ship and lasts a long time in the fridge compared to other greens.
Through the early ’90s, it was nearly impossible to find any other kinds of greens in your average suburban grocery store, at least in Mississippi. I only had to remember one lettuce code during my entire six-month stint as a Jitney Jungle cashier in 1990.
I’m working my way through a big batch of Sylvetta Italian arugula mixed with other fresh greens this week, thanks to a winter CSA split with MrsDragon over at Mrs Dragon’s Den. I even had to wash the dirt and a couple of tiny worms off, since my greens had just been plucked from the ground only two days earlier. Best salad ever.
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Posted in CSA, Photographs, tagged Brady Bunch, CSA, food, greens, OXO, salad, salad spinner, Swiss chard on June 9, 2010 |
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Listed among Things I Never Thought I Would Buy: a salad spinner. They always seemed very Carol Brady, although I guess they were really more Alice Nelson since Mrs. Brady didn’t do much of the cooking on that show.
I spent last summer washing, drying and trying to properly store a weekly mess of Swiss chard and other greens that came in my CSA box. Never did it occur to me to look for a salad spinner.
This one caught my eye a couple of months ago because, frankly, everything OXO makes catches my eye. I researched, purchased and test drove it. Now I’m ready for this summer’s ridiculous amount of salad greens. Bring it on, CSA lady.
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