Growing up while there were some foods that were made from scratch, there were some foods that we only ate in their packaged form. Pie crust was always bought frozen. Noodles were always purchased from a package, pudding too was Mi-Ti –Fine.
I probably have spent far too much of my time thinking about and reading about the development of the packaged food industry in the United States.
One of the things that has gradually dawned on me is that factory made food is made less because of the difficulty of making that particular item but more because of how easy it is to manufacture the food.
Every time I go into Whole Foods I see packages of “Coffee Spice rub for meat”. Perhaps it is good. I don’t know. But how hard is it to put a little ground coffee in a bowl and add spices that you like, a mix of earthy and hot and mix them up with a fork?
If you are timid you can read the ingredients on the store bought version and recreate it at home leaving out the flavors you hate and adding more of the flavors you love.
It’s a rub so you rub it on the meat. If you are squeamish wear disposable gloves or plastic bags on your hands as you massage the spices into the meat. If you are not just use your naked hands..
Cook the meat until it looks truly dead. I know it looks like two lumps of coal, I assure you that it isn’t. Cool the meat in the fridge so you can slice it into impressively thin slices.
If you plan to warm it up later make some sort of a sweet/vinegary/salty sauce to pour over. Tonight’s was made with the last bit of maple syrup, mustard, vinegar and pomegranate molasses and a bit of olive oil. If you want to go packaged, you can use an inexpensive barbeque sauce.
Occasionally I am on the supermarket line behind a new mother who is buying a jar of mashed bananas. It always makes me wonder if she knows about the invention of the fork. (Forks did actually revolutionize how food is cooked and served-- three hundred years ago, but I assume that most people have a fork or two in their homes)
I feel the same way about buying packaged guacamole. How is making this hard?
You need avocado, citrus, cumin , salt and hot, a bowl and a fork. If you want to go high tech you can use your food processor.
I also made humus tonight, a can of chickpeas, a blob of Techina, the juice of 1-2 lemons, cumin sumac salt, pepper and something to give a bit of heat, I used paprika and a bit of cayenne. you need to add a bit of olive oil and a bit of water to the processor to make a smooth mixture. If you like a different flavor profile add the flavors you like. it’s a time commitment of five minutes. It would take me longer to go across the street too buy some pretty good ready made humus.
I’m sorry that I sound like a crank tonight. I still have to make the vegetable portion of our meal. My son made the challah last week, and we will eat the rose scented berry sorbet that he made.
And a bonus, a shot of Chabad guys at 96th street spreading the word about Rosh HaShanah to all of us Jews who they don’t believe could possibly know about the holiday without their instruction.
I snapped this picture without looking very carefully and once I enlarged it, I see that the Chabad guys are about to ask my friend Pearl if she knows that Rosh HaShanah next week. They needn’t have wasted their time talking to Pearl. She was probably figuring out all the things she needs to do before the holiday as she walks home.