It seems like everyone out there is DIY - it's time we take on step back in the alphabet and CIY - Choose, Cut, and Chop It Yourself. In the land of the kitchen, convenience reigns for many of us, myself very much included. I will do anything to save time and to undermine the schizofrenia of trying to cook while preventing my kids from destroying the house/killing each other. But lately, I have been reconsidering some of my more sloppy practices, and trading up for healthier living.
Now I am not a big red meat eater - I generally save it for the big holidays, and then maybe every other week we have kind of ball/loaf/chopped meat kind of dinner that hangs on as leftovers and lunches for several days. Meatballs and spaghetti is a classic example. I have taken various shortcuts; sometimes I use jarred sauce, sometimes I buy angel hair pasta so it will cook faster. Very rarely will I purchase chopped meat, because of all the e-coli scares (did you SEE this NYT article - a girl became paralyzed from eating a HAMBURGER). When I have bought ground beef, I have purchased it at highly reputable places like Trader Joe's, telling myself that I can trust them. And I do, but not so much so after today's news. It turns out they are buying from massive factory farms like everyone else, and that their ground beef is sourced from the same place, and as risky as the merchandise on sale at Price Chopper. Not a warm and fuzzy.
So that is it - I am writing my way toward healthier living, and sharing with you my resolve to do better. I am going to fully and consistently implement the following CIY practices, all of which can be illustrated with minimal pain. I have been doing this most of the time anyway, but from now on, no more shortcuts. If you come to my house for dinner, feel free to audit me on any of the below:
- Choose it yourself: I don't buy pre-chopped fruits vegetables anymore for the simple reason that I don't believe they are the brightest or the finest. Rather, I am fairly certain that the stores and suppliers are chopping second rate produce and we cannot tell the difference because, well, it all gets mixed up together. Buy a bag of onions, carrots, and celery each week. Chop them up when you get home and use them as you need them. Another example: Don't buy canned, chopped tomatoes - g-d only knows what is in there. If you can't buy them fresh, at least buy them whole.
- Cut it yourself: Don't buy parts. If you want to eat chicken, buy a whole chicken and cut it yourself. It takes a little practice, but honestly it is a) cheaper, b) the best way to ensure that you are getting the entire original bird and not some frankenstein mix of chicks, and c) key to sleeping better at night knowing that the bird was less handled than its counterparts, and therefore a less likely to have been passed food bourne bacteria.
- Chop it yourself: Don't buy ground anything. Just don't. If you are a meat eater, try to buy grass fed, pasture raised meat and poultry, cut it into 1 inch squares, put it in the Cuisnart, and pulse 10 - 20 times, until them meat is loose but not pureed. Chuck and sirloin works for ground beef. I prefer dark meat for my ground turkey.
Do you have any other suggestions for better living? Leave a comment below and tell me all about it.