I grew up with a vegetarian father, and I hated it. While all my friends enjoyed savory chicken and turkey dinners, mashed potatoes drowned in thick gravy and exciting ethnic entrees heavily dependent on meat, my mom cooked my dad strange meals that any child would never eat. My mom was too busy with work and maintaining the house to cook elaborate meals for everyone, so my dinners were often packaged and ready from the frozen section, or boxed foods that could be whipped up in an instant. I didn’t really know what I was missing until I had my first sit-down dinner at a friend’s house.
Perhaps it’s the lack of a “meaty” past that’s to blame for my love of chicken. And despite the TED talk we watched in class, which was very eye opening, I know I won’t stop eating meat. I have dietary needs due to health issues, but even without these needs, chicken is much too delicious for me to give up.
Eating a lot of meat may be bad for both our health and the environment. But aside from this, my menus are typically very healthy. I have developed a passion for cooking over the years and much prefer eating at home than eating out. In fact, I think my parents and I have gone out about three times my entire life. Of course I’ve gone out with friends and other relatives, but it’s been rare. I also try to eat as minimally processed as possible. I never buy frozen ready entrees or junk snack foods like chips or crackers. But my hometown doesn’t have a farmer’s market, so shopping for fresh and local vegetables wasn’t always possible. Even with the farmer’s market in Sarasota, frozen vegetables are so convenient and often necessary when I’m so busy with classes and life priorities.
After graduation, I’m moving to Kansas City, which is home to an incredible farmer’s market called the “River Market”. I would love to buy all my ingredients from here. In fact in a perfect world, I would have my own garden. My grandparents live on a farm and grow all their own vegetables, which is both environmentally and aesthetically pleasing. But humans naturally gravitate towards what is “easy”. We have jobs, friends and families, household duties, and life stressors. When it’s a choice between finishing a project for a client or spending a day shopping at the farmer’s market, I unfortunately have to focus on my work rather than the earth. It’s called “convenience” food for a reason, and I believe that for most people, “convenience” is not a choice, but a necessity.