Saturday, March 24, 2007

Thought for the day

I have welcomed spring in with just a touch of a cold. Of course winter couldn't let go without one more round of germs, I'm just glad it's a mild cold. So you'll have to forgive me for what I've been eating for lunch. With taste buds at a low point, nothings really sounded good, except for the case of canned ravioli in the basement. I bought this at Sam's club at the direction of my son who said he would eat it for lunch. Until I made it for him for lunch and he looked at me like I was feeding him poison. That case of ravioli had been headed for our local food pantry until this week, and now it might just stick around a bit.

Anyway. Yesterday I was biting into one of these raviolis, and my thought to myself was "don't think about what's inside." I mean, who knows what random bits and pieces make it into the filling of these canned pasta puffs. That led me to thinking about hot dogs and what goes in those, and other canned meat products like spam. And here comes my profound thought. Why is it that when a major company, like Chef Boyardee, uses the off bits and such to make ravioli filling they are chastised? Companies that make hot dogs are scorned for stuffing those nasty bits into tube shapes. Yet world renowned chefs can take those same awful bits and turn them into something... interesting, and they are praised for it. A chef in New York City can cook chicken bones and serve them up as an appetizer, and be hailed as a genius. Yet when a chicken processing company utilizes those sames bones, they are touted as disgusting.

I understand that there will always be those who rail against big industry and the likes. But there are real people world-wide to whom this is a way of life. They utilize every part of an animal, so that nothing goes to waste. And I mean every part. I fail to distinguish the difference between a chef combining offal to create a delicacy in their restaurant and a manufacturing company who makes a hot dog out of the same bits. And I'm certainly not bashing the chefs who do so. I applaud them for being less wasteful, for opening up eyes to the possibilities. What I am bashing are those people who insist on 100% all-beef or 100% all-chicken hot dogs because they don't want to eat "mechanically separated parts". Yet when it comes time for a nice dinner out, they clamor to order chicken bones and kidney pie.

In some ways, this is along the lines of food snobbery to me. And if there is one thing that I have learned while cooking on a budget, is that a wonderful meal can be created out of practically nothing. While there are still foods that you won't find in my kitchen because I don't care for them, what you won't find is a food snob any longer. I welcome the canned raviolis and the mechanically separated pork parts disguised as a hot dog. I also welcome the Alaskan wild salmon and the prime fillet of beef. I welcome the whole grain quinoa, yet I also welcome plain old white rice and white bread. Local food, and locally produced food is wonderful when I can find it and when it is affordable, but sometimes Chilean produce is a welcome respite in the winter, and a kiwi from New Zealand is the most wonderful treat. There are no food snobs here, nor do I see them returning any time soon.

4 comments:

the rachel said...

i know another pantry that would gladly accept your ravioli...
<--- can't help herself
<--- loves canned ravioli!

Erika said...

LOL. There probably won't be any left by the time you get here...

eliza said...

agree..agree!
although i don't eat canned raviolis but my son is getting a lot more of american foods (that means box mac & cheese, campbell soups, cheetos, etc) than i've would imagine. i just limit it because of the MSG in most of the processed foods including other preservatives.
BTW, for some reason I've never visited your recipe blog! how awful! i'm going to take a peek right now...

Erika said...

Eliza, it's so hard not to succumb to the convenience food once in a while. It's just too darn easy to fall back on.

The Recipe Trove is my way to keep track of the recipes I talk about her on Tummy Treasure. To date I have 185 recipes in there. That's not too bad.