Monday, October 6, 2008

I want the cheapest, most rubbish one. Or do I?

I am the newest addition to the huge fan club of Chef Jamie Oliver, or otherwise known as The Naked Chef. My friend, T., brought me his cookbook – “jamie’s dinners the essential family book” – for my birthday (Thank you again, T.!)

The book has excellent and easy recipes (click this link: jamie’s dinners by Jamie Oliver to see them.)

In the introduction for his book he writes the following, on which I couldn’t agree more… and I say these things to people myself all the time, but who listens to me??? So here it is for you, in the words of a very famous and successful chef:

“I do think a lot of people just don’t understand the importance of where their food comes from or what might have been done to it before they buy it. It is good to question these things.
First, good-quality food and produce – and yes, this may involve organics – is always considered to be middle-class or rich people’s food. Wrong. I’ve worked with students and people on the dole who eat better than some city boys earning hundreds of thousands a year… Why should you have standards when buying? Because you’re going to put this food in your mouth and swallow it and you’ll do this two or three times every single day of your life. Everything you eat contributes to you being happy… or full of energy, or susceptible to colds and flu… Your hair, your fingernails, your height, your skin, everything you are is made from the food you eat.”

Here's my favorite part...

“Very rarely does anyone go into a garage, phone store or shoe shop and ask for “the cheapest, most rubbish one.” So why do we walk into a supermarkets and support those companies that are producing cheap products? As a general rule, when food is cheap the quality is not going to be so good. It all comes down to your perception of value".

Here's an observation I had: when I buy "regular" chicken I find that after cooking it I have tiny portions of sad looking meat that has shrunk in half from its pre-cooked raw size. On the other hand, when I buy free-range/organic one it stays nice and plump and moist after cooking and almost the same original size it was before I cooked it. What does this mean?

I think it means that for the "regular" chicken I have probably paid for the weight of water which has evaporated after cooking or it was something else that was injected into that chicken which has disappeared during the cooking process. So I'm thinking, "regular" chicken cost less to begin with, but then I am left with less food when it's time to serve dinner. I feel cheated. On the other hand, free-range/organic cost more, but there's more meat to serve at the table.

And my question is:

Assuming an average person eats about 1/3 pound per portion of meat in a meal, will you pay an extra $1-$2 per pound to buy a free-range/organic chicken or will you choose a "regular"chicken?

1 comment:

inbal d said...

I would not categorize by food chains. Most Supermarkets today sell good stuff and not just cheap rubbish. Costco have a lot of organic foods at reasonable prices, Trader Joes is a great place to get good for you food at reasonable prices, and there are more. As much as I appreciate the revolution Whole Foods started, the products are so over priced that it's outrageouse. I don't know a lot of families that can afford their prices (including us, and we eat at home, home made food 99% of the time).
I hope that the trend of having Organic produts at large stores continue. And - organic or not - READ LABLES! I almost bought organic 100% whole wheat bread w HFCS...