Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pleased to "meat" you...

It's overwhelming when you think about it--eating has become so complicated. There had to be a time when if the food tasted good it was good for you and if it tasted or smelled bad you avoided it. Unfortunately that is no longer the case. What seems to be perfectly safe food is causing illness and sometimes even death. The most recent case happened just the other day when salmonella was found in ground beef packed in Fresno, CA, prompting a recall of 826,000 pounds of beef. This same company recalled 1560 pounds of beef cheek products (Just knowing that there are products made from beef cheeks is disgusting enough!) a year ago due to E. coli contamination. If these problems keep appearing why hasn't something changed in the way our meat is processed? Could it be because the government agencies that we trust to protect us and uphold food safety standards are more interested in protecting the interests of the food companies? Just a thought...

I was relieved that this was one meat recall I didn't have to participate it. My ground beef came from a ranch in Colorado where cows aren't crammed into feedlots standing knee deep in their own waste. It didn't cost $1.89 a pound like the recalled beef probably did, but we have been eating it for two weeks and have nothing to worry about. So how do you know which beef to buy? There are so many adjectives describing the items in the meat case these days how do you know what matters and what is just a marketing ploy? Click here to see definitions of the terms found on your meat labels.

This week I wanted to compare some produce prices so I visited my local Whole Foods. Based on this week's prices, the Winder Farms' organic produce box came in about a $1 more than the same items at Whole Foods. It seems like prices have dropped throughout the whole store. The Kashi cereals were around $3.49/box, the Stonyfield Farms Yokids yogurt tubes were on sale and I was delighted to find hamburger buns without high fructose corn syrup(I don't remember if they were on sale, I was just happy to find them). We also tried the Horizon Organic kids yogurt tubes which did not pass Jack's taste test. They are very tangy compared to other "kid" yogurt. I didn't like them very much either and I am pretty forgiving in the yogurt taste department. I also found boneless, skinless, organic air-cooled chicken breasts for $4.99/lb. When I purchased them I had no idea what air-cooled meant, I was just happy to see organic boneless skinless breasts for the same price that Albertson's organic bone-in breasts were. I haven't tried them yet but after some research I discovered that they are supposed to have amazing flavor.

Our baby chickens are growing so fast and their only air cooling will come from our air conditioning unit because we brought them home to be egg layers not fryers. I never knew how much joy could be found from watching chickens. They are so goofy and cute. We take them out each night after dinner and watch them trying to catch bugs, taking dust baths, learning to fly and pouncing on each's hilarious! I will have to film it and post a video. They will be all grown up before I know it but at least when that happens, I will have the freshest free-range organic eggs that money can't buy.

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