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Quality vs Convenience - Page 2

post #31 of 57
Thread Starter 
You're just being pretentious and snooty, and rubbing our nose in the idea that your parents are better than the rest of us. :lol:

Seriously, that sounds wonderful. Years ago, I spent the spring and a summer camping and hiking in the mountins in Calif, Oregon, and Idaho, mostly eating wild fruit from old orchards, did a little fishing, found lots of berries and nuts, and wild foods. There were a couple-three wonderful springs that I learned about, a "hidden" hot spring. Sometimes I'd come to a small town and buy some meat of one sort or another. It was an amazing summer for a NYC boy. If I could go back to those times, I'd do so in a New York minute. Do your parents need a "helper?"
post #32 of 57
I've got to come to Shel's side on National Hebrew hot dogs, the only better may be Vienna (yes...I spent more time living in Chicago than NYC)!:lol::lips::lol:
post #33 of 57
I take issue with your statement Shel. I would like you to explain what you mean by the Hebrew national quote.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
post #34 of 57
Thread Starter 
How can you "take issue" with something you don't understand?

Please be specific about what you would like me to explain. "The Hebrew national quote" doesn't register for me as the whole message had to do with Hebrew National to one degree or another.
post #35 of 57
Thread Starter 
This is very frightening to me. The idea of someone in this thread openly stating that they are on my side makes me very suspicious. I don't even like Hebrew National that much - but they are convenient, TJ's has them at a great price, and they must be of high quality since they are "approved" by a higher power. Perhaps God knows someone on the ConAgra board :lol:
post #36 of 57
What don't I understand?
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
post #37 of 57
Thread Starter 
How do I know - you asked the question. Either tell me directly what you'd like me to explain or drop the subject. I'm not in the mood for this nonsense
post #38 of 57
There are some things I'm really picky about, but sometimes I envy people who can enjoy simpler, easier-to-attain or -make or -pay-for things as much as I enjoy what I consider the best. Health reasons are important, but aside from that, if someone loves Folgers instant coffee, in a way I envy them:roll:
post #39 of 57
And at the same time, if somebody wolfs down their food without taking time to taste it much, I think they're really missing out. Unless it's a cold egg mcmuffin made 3 days ago. Then it's better to get it past the taste buds as quickly as possible :)

My point is that if you really love what you eat and there is nothing unhealthy about your diet as a whole, that's what I consider the most important.
post #40 of 57
Thread Starter 
Back in 1979, my mom came to Berkeley for a visit. She was a big coffee drinker - every morning, like clockwork, she'd have two cups of some kind of instant - Chase & Sanborne, Nestlé .... can't remember.

So, in anticipation of her visit, we went to Peet's to get her some real good coffee. Alfred Peet was in the store and I told him what mom drank and asked for three different blends, including a decaf, that she might like.

First morning comes, she asks for coffee, and I proceed to make her a great cup of the local favorite - Peet's House Blend. Mom looks at me, asks what I'm doing, and shrugs her shoulders like I'm crazy when I tell her I'm making some great coffee for her. She tastes it, spits it out, goes to her room and gets a jar of her instant from her luggage, and makes a quick cup. "Ahhh ... that's what I like," she said. "What's with this Peet's, Shmeet's? You drink that stuff?
post #41 of 57
Cape Chef, I believe Shel is making a joke, referencing National Hebrews slogan "We Answer to a Higher Authority"
post #42 of 57
HAHA :lol:
post #43 of 57
My favorite coffee is from Michael Sivetz' store in Corvallis. It smells like coffee heaven in there.
post #44 of 57
Penzey's granulated garlic is an example of convenience that works for me. The quality is great, there's no off flavor and it blends better in sauces and with olive oil on veg......
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #45 of 57
Thread Starter 
In 1980 my soon-to-be-wife and I spent a few moths travelling around the US, and we met Michael when on a quest to restock the coffee supply in our VW camper. He seemed to be a very opinionated guy, and very clear on what his ideas and principles were. He was also a bit of a flirt. Janet and I really liked him, and if I recall, his coffee was pretty durned good, too. My recollection is that he knew Alfred Peet, the founder of Peet's here in Berkeley, and that he disagreed with some of Peet's ideas. But hey, it's creative, independent thinkers make great coffee ... How is Michael these days? He's probably a pretty old fellow now - does he still work in the store?
post #46 of 57
I can't say I know Michael Sivetz personally, as I've only been a customer. He's not a bubbly type for sure--seems he's on a mission. I can relate :D

I appreciate that if you have questions about anything technical about coffee, especially HIS coffee, he is more than happy to explain. My kind of guy, for a vendor. I think nobody in my lifetime may ever make coffee that I like better.
post #47 of 57
Shel, A little history about Hebrew National. t was started in NY by Lenny Pines who I had the pleasure of dealing with. His marketing know how made them # 1 seller in a few years . Founded under the strictest rules of the Kashruth laws , no questions asked.
Answering to a higher authority, had nothing to do with what went into them, but, it was supposed to guarantee the religious end of it.
The actual making of the dog was done by a Mr. Georgi Bell who now owns' National Meats' in Miami Florida, and whose frank is exactly the same and the same formula because he developed the original , at 1/2 the price.

The all beef as stated ,is in fact beef , however it could be beef lips or feet or any other part of the forequarter ,as they are kosher.
Nitrates and Nitrites are still used they have to be.
Now H.N is owned by Conagra who in my opinion, to make a profit would put ground sawdust in them.
So keep eating franks and you may be meeting the higher authority sooner then you think. Me, I wont eat any frank at all. :confused:
post #48 of 57
Just a passing question: convenience with respect to what?

I mean: hand-pureed garlic done with a knife, pureed garlic done with a press, garlic pureed in a robocoupe, what are we talking about here?

I don't mean to cause trouble, honestly. You're a caterer, and I can see that "convenience" for you also includes speed: you need to be able to focus your time and attention on certain things and not others. But I have not found Penzey's granulated garlic a superior product at all... unless we mean "superior to the horrible plastic granulated garlic you get in the supermarket." Yes, it has no off-flavors or nastiness, but it's still got that indefinable "I'm not fresh garlic" flavor.

On the other hand, my experience of garlic pureed in a processor or press is that it's nasty, with a peculiar metallic taste that I am told is produced by oxidation. I don't know why, but I find that hand-pureed with a knifeblade does not produce this taste. Hand-mortared under oil is even better, because then there is almost no oxidation at all, but obviously that doesn't suit all preparations.

Thus my question: I'm uncertain what you mean about "it blends better in sauces...." Better than what?

Again, really really, this is an honest question from a mildly hard-core home cook to a professional in a specific end of the food trade.
post #49 of 57
From someone who has held a 17 locally grown garlic tasting, Penzey's garlic does hard core duty in the kitchen. No chunks, lumps, great easy flavor.....price for Chinese peeled garlic is cheap but we're not into buying fresh from China, local is difficult to find and very expensive. Penzey's is easy, it's inexpensive realitively speaking (not compared to other dried garlic). Dried works well in cream herb/blue cheese/Italian dressings, it's great to sprinkle on meats or use in a sauce that is pretty complex (as in Marabelle.....prunes, oregano, brown sugar, capers, olives, white wine, vinager, garlic. What I use fresh garlic for is olive oil based sauces, where minced or sliced garlic is desirable. Even though we make sausage from scratch, bbq sauce, rolls, baked goods.....Penzey's garlic works for me in many applications. We're not going to use a pestle and mortar to pulverize garlic.

Prior to trying Penzey's garlic, no garlic powder was worth using.....
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #50 of 57
Sivetz Coffee in is in a building that used to be a small church, across the street from a Safeway. What a cool contrast! He's got a degree in Chemical Engineering, by the way.
post #51 of 57
I don't have time to shop because I'm too busy working to survive. If I had to take a day off work, I'd have to live on the street. There, I would have to get my organic foods from the dumpster behind the Whole Foods.

You worry about food because of your health. Many people are able to live healthy lives without having to worry about each and every morsel (think people with allergies versus people without).

We each decide what's important in our lives and put our resources towards that.

If you had children to feed, perhaps you would skimp so that they could eat better?

Edited to clarify: If you had children to feed, perhaps you would skimp on yourself so that they could eat better? Maybe you'd skimp on food purchases for yourself so that they could have an education?
post #52 of 57
Thread Starter 
When I was working fourteen and sixteen hours a day, I still made time to get the food I needed. Granted, there were two of us, but my wife was pretty much useless in that regard. She wanted to eat out every night <LOL>

Whoa! I was concerned about the food I ate long before I had health issues, and apart from watching what I eat (not being too much of a pig), I can eat anything I want. The health issues I have are not food-related.

Indeed - and long ago I decided to eat the best quality food I could, but that doesn't mean I won't grab a hot dog or a slice of pizza, or even hit a fast food joint every now and then.

You don't know who I support. However, lets go with your thought for a minute. If I had children, would I eat cheap, poor quality food and feed them the high quality food? Or would they get to eat the lower quality stuff, like supermarket ground beef from who-knows-where, or pesticide-sprayed, e.coli enriched produce? When the salmonella outbreak occured that was traced to tomatoes, I wasn't afraid to buy tomatoes.

As it happens, all food in the San Francisco area is pretty expensive, but organics, local farmers' markets, great produce, high-quality dairy, is generally not much more expensive than conventional and questionable foods, and, believe it or not, it's often less expensive. We can buy great artisan and organic breads for less than supermarket white bread. There's a very well-regarded company here that makes whole grain breads. I'll pay $2.25 for a standard, sliced loaf at the bakery while white bread at the nearby supermarket is about $4.00 Some non-local brand (Jenn-O?) of ground turkey, loaded with excess moisture from processing, and who knows how old it is, costs about $4.59 a pound (or more) at the local Safeway and other similar supermarkets compared to the fresh ground (a couple of time a day, at least), non-water infused, high quality turkey made of light and dark meat that's available at the poultry store for $2.99 per pound.

Much of the non-organic produce, that is less than really fresh, costs the same or more in many places as fresher, better quality, organic, locally grown produce at the farmers' market. I can buy three large heads of romaine at the farmers' market for $2.75 while the skimpy, pre-packed Earthbound Farms lettuce costs about the same or more in the places I checked. More lettuce, same price, fresher, and, at least in my refrigerator, it stays fresh longer, probably because it wasn't a week old when I bought it.

Anyway, you get the point ...
post #53 of 57
And you still don't seem to.
post #54 of 57
Thread Starter 
Hey, Ed - I knew most of what you posted, including the ConAgra connection. It's time to get away from HN and move to some of the better dogs made locally. Thanks for the kick in the butt.
post #55 of 57
no dogs? oh man! Breakfast yesterday was a crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside locally made brat at Soulard farmers market.....G&W is an old world processor here in town with a small retail outlet in front of their butcher facility. Even if you show up at 8am they'll offer you a Busch beer and kids a weiner (cold from the case). I've tourred their building and it's impressive.

San Francisco's prepared food is significantly cheaper than STL. Farmer's Market prices are about the same for comparable products across the country....Santa Monica,DC, Madison, STL, Santa Fe, Portland......if you go to growers only markets the prices are usually comparable. Mixed farmer's markets (brokers/farmers) usually have lower prices. ie....yesterday at Soulard I bought 8# of sweet potatoes for $2 from a local grower, they would have been $16 at a growers only market. Roma tomatoes, I bought a 25# case last week from the same farmer for $16, they would have been $4# or $100 at the growers only market. I know the farmers at Soulard, been to most of their farms....ditto the farmers at the other markets. Not all are raising in organic fashion.

How about fish? There are plenty of Asian markets in STL that have live tanks.....turtles, lobster, abalone (who knew they were even legal to sell?!), frogs, numerous fishes.....they'll scoop one out of the tank and whoop it upside the head for you, clean and filet to your desire. But the tanks look perpetually dirty......really the three that I frequent it just doesn't look right. Then there's WF and their pricey pristine layout, the fish is not always fresh.....I've now started smelling everything prior to purchasing and getting ice packs, one bad experience a couple of years ago with halibut was enough.....Then there's Bob's Seafood, Bob's is a mom and pop wholesale/retail seafood store. The owners are always there, always throw laginappe in the bag....'it's your birthday, 5# of rock shrimp are in the order gratis", mislabeled smoked trout, a few extra lemons.......the product can be pricey retail and certainly less wholesale (about 25-40%) it's come in a little lower than WF but not that much....the kicker and the selling point is the quality is always great.

Great Food for stretched budgets. Farmer's markets are starting to accept EBT aka food stamps....Michael Pollan's letter to the incoming president was wonderful, it hit issues that have been talked about for the 10 years I've been involved in local/national food policy issues. Community gardens are available (last count I heard) 133 in STL city. Food banks are supplying vouchers for local produce inner city farmer's markets. Huge steps for those on food stamps or in food insecurity to access fresh products. I've taught budget cooking classes to inner city kids/adults through the years.....hearing what the kids eat is illuminating....ramen @ 10 cents a package, mac and cheese 45 cents....
it was more taking what was widely used and adapting to healthier versions.....pot of greens with turkey instead of pork, or a quick cook saute of greens, sweet potato muffins (kids favorite was chocolate, wasn't that a cupcake when we were little?), omelets.....most ate alot of eggs and cheese but rarely put in veg., etc.....
I've worked with cooking programs that had people from the street with addicitions that were learning to professionally cook. Advocating group meals so they could stretch their buying power by buying in bulk or cooking for larger you cook 1x a week for 7 people, it costs less to make one meal for 7 than 7 meals for one....with more variety.
County, suburbia kids usually have a horrendous diet. Brown and neon foods in the cafeterias, fast food after sports or activities.....the 8th graders I taught didn't know about plain yogurt, most didn't cook without a microwave.....Many had not been to a farm until we took them there, 8th grade 12-13 year olds.

On stretched means, supporting small children, it's not only time consuming to procure and prepare fresh food, there are skills involved that have been lost for the past 3 generations. Say, your cooking skills are good, to put up food takes money.....unless you have canning jars, lids, etc or freezer space or drying machines. Once you've got the foundation the cost is less. That's the general hold back is coming up with the base of knowledge and the means to store.
So where to be food/nutritional/taste econimcal.....that was Shel's initial question.

Last week I got a call from a HS wanting me to talk to a home ec, now named something else that escapes my sieve brain. Options in food careers is the topic. Same day I got a call from a young food journalist that was way way over her head writing about farming.....she had no idea what use bees had on a farm. I've talked to her into her last plan of going to culinary school that has a sustainable ag thread or garden they are utelizing......not CIA, tall white hat mode but more to get the base for cooking and agriculture that will help her in her future food writing endeavors. If anyone has a suggestion of colleges/universities that are a good fit it'd be appreciated.

So, long run. Altering our food system as it is currently, gradually stop subsidizing corn & beans....aka cheap feed.....quit subsidizing Monsanto and ADM or having their interests at heart more than the health of the general public......teach our communities to cook again......feed our children good food when they are in our care ie schools, after school programs, preschools, licensed day cares, food pantries, soup kitchens, prisons, hospitals, institutions.......start more gardens.....get the landgrant universities to research and teach sustainable ag.....all the SARE grants are a rich low income resource.....

For there to be less cost over all in good quality food, it needs to be embrassed by a vocal and cohesive group of concerned citizens.
JMTC.....well maybe 4 cents...:smiles:
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #56 of 57
Hey Market Caterer (and anyone else too, of course),

Do you think things are going to change any faster with what's been happening to fuel prices (which are going back up soon, you know)? I mean, supermarket food is just going to get more and more expensive because it's shipped by truck huge distances, and stuff done on container farms is going to keep going up because they're burning huge amounts of diesel. Pretty soon I suspect that in many parts of the country, local non-container farming products are actually going to be less expensive than supermarket equivalents. And I see farmers' markets popping up here and there throughout urban areas, making it not any greater a hike to get local than to get supermarket. So I wonder whether the tide is going to start turning as people's wallets get thin.

Americans used to be famous for "use it up, wear it out, make do or do without." The Yankee motto. Maybe the Second Depression is just what we need to make us get back to that a bit?
post #57 of 57
The big boys are jumping on the "local bandwagon" much like they did with organic, at the Wash U food day with Joan Dye Gussow, Sid Mintz etc. there was talk of agribusiness starting to work on their own rail systems. Buying land closer to the end users.

A few months ago an Emory anthropologist spoke about their designs for small walkable communities.....
We're seeing more of that around here in current building trends. There are suburban builders designing $$$-$$$$ housing developments with farming space in the middle, they are having issues finding sustainable farmers willing to invest the amount of time it'll take to nurture land they won't own and in some cases are asked to pay rent on.

Gas prices will push consumers to use more mass transit, more bikes, walk more.....or just stay around the house more.
As to food and gas, I found that when gas went up to $4 a gallon that I really planned out routes, eliminating some because the math said it'd cost 2.5 gallons of gas to get back and forth....$10. Not something figured into the equation when gas was $3.5 or under $3. Which is interesting.

The large farmer/broker market downtown was busier than it's been in a long time. Word from the market master is that people can get better bargains there, and that with limited $ people are more apt to splurge on purchasing food. ie instead of taking a weekend trip to a resort, we'll make a nice dinner at home and plug in a movie.
More and more people are concerned about food security, both in quality and quantity. Local food is hip. So, there are more people will only increase. More people wanting to forage.
It takes along long time to turn a system around. You can't pull out the current infastructure without crashing the system, it needs to be systematically altered. There are an awful lot of lobbiests who have ears of politicians. It will take grass roots cries to the right ears to alter policies. Right NOW is the time to start working on the next Farm Bill, it will be up in 5 years.....this is the vehicle that works on most public food $ stamps, WIC, supporting (or not) farmer's markets, elderly gimmees (some states provided $5, or alittle more to older residents for farmers market stipends), subsidies......
If all this matters to you, take the time and support the people in the trenches. In Missouri it's Farmer's Union & Missouri Rural Crisis Center has a nominal staff that lobbies for justice.....both not only need fiscal help, but bodies to show up at the state capital on specific days, or just basic grunt work that would take some of the burden off the shoulders of the staff.....setting up events, coming to events with alot of buddies, contributing food or entertainment or whatever you have to give.....last one I spent the day helping them prep food. Basically support what you espouse if you desire change.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
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