Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Do you ever marvel at just how few of the items sold at an average American grocery store are actually food? Now, I realize I'm not the typical American shopper. Most of my adult life I've grown my own food. When the kids were small we had almost an acre of garden, plus butchered our own chickens, turkeys and hogs, and we were about 80% food self-sufficient. We bought  honey, dairy products and grains/flour along with beef - a hog carcass will fit in an old refrigerator to chill, but I never had a way to chill an entire beef.

It always amazes me to look around the store and realize how little of what is offered for sale is actually edible. It seems the typical store has about 6-8 rows of food, food-like items and empty calories masquerading as food, the rest is stuff you can't eat. Charcoal, cat litter, toothpaste, plastic silverware and blow up pool toys, birthday cards and cheap t-shirts with tacky sayings, motor oil and chicken feed, kitchen utensils, toilet bowl cleaner, paper towels and mylar balloons fill the remaining aisles which outnumber the "edible" aisles 2 to 1. Even much of the "edible" stuff consists of things which you probably should not eat... GMO grains, artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and more fill the ingredient labels with a list of things you can't pronounce and which the human body doesn't need or want.

The local Kroger is a small store in a small town, but they have a fair amount of organic produce along with some frozen and canned organic foods. I make the one hour drive to Trader Joe in Nashville once a month or so to buy organic eggs and orange juice and some of the harder-to-find-locally items. There is also a Whole Foods in Nashville, but I don't care for the store much and avoid it whenever possible. What I really miss is a good food co-operative. I found that there is a co-op in Knoxville, but that's a 4 hour drive one way. The food coop in Sioux Falls burned down earlier this year, but I am told they're up and running in a different location so I will be able to buy foods, grains and spices in bulk while I'm up north. 

In the meantime I buy what I can when it's on sale and freeze it for later use when its out of season and the price is triple or quadruple. I am looking for a good food dehydrator that I can use for fruits and veggies as they weigh much less and will take up less space in the RV when dried as opposed to canned or frozen. I currently have an ancient round dehydrator, made entirely of plastic, which I use reluctantly for drying the almond and coconut meal left over from making coconut milk and almond milk. Here's a fresh batch of coconut milk from this morning, posing in front of the workhorse Vitamix blender. A liter of milk leaves me with 1 1/2 or 2 cups of coconut meal.

 I hate plastic anything, especially when it comes in contact with my food which rules out many of the dehydrators on the market. Excaliber is usually rated quite high, but they use plastic trays and the interior of the stainless steel case is also lined with plastic. I found the TSM brand a few days ago, and I'm seriously considering buying one in spite of the very high price tag. It's ALL stainless steel, including the trays, and the customer service is said to be outstanding, plus they're made in the USA. I need to call the company and ask about the feasibility of installing one where a microwave would normally go in an overhead RV cabinet. If they say it will work, I'll likely get one. That way I can dry the coconut and almond meal and also put up a lot of fruit and veggies, and I never use a microwave anyway. 

1 comment:

  1. I almost always stay in the perimeter of the grocery store and rarely venture down an aisle. Fortunately my local grocery carries organic produce, eggs, dairy, etc. But my favorite is the local farmer's mkt, which has produce that was picked earlier in the morning - about half the stalls feaure organic exclusively. The Costco here has started carrying so many organic products although you are buying in bulk. I belong to the Sacramento Food Co-op but don't often go there because of the drive through town, and because I shop at the farmer's market.