What is the value of good food?
How much are you willing to spend on good food? I don't mean a quick stop for a snack or something at a drive-thru, I mean a tasty piece of fresh-caught fish, or the best cherries you can get in the summer, or a handmade treat like a pastry or piece of pie? Often I hear the discussion on food prices centering around the best deals, and I wonder how much we value good fresh food.
I realize this can be a touchy subject that has many elements...
- Should we have to pay more for organic food? Is it worth more? Do you even care if you eat organic? What is the difference?
- If we want to buy strawberries in winter, should we expect to pay the same price as in summer? Are we willing to pay the price they cost to be shipped from somewhere else or grown specially in a greenhouse?
- Do you think the price of a handmade chocolate chip cookie at an artisan bakery should be the same price as the mass-produced chocolate chip cookie at a chain store? Which one would you buy?
Sometimes people will say, "Oh, I could make that myself". It's true, we could make coffee at home, but look how many people pull into the drive-thrus at Timmy's and Starbucks? Time is worth something and preparing things also has to be factored into the equation. I know that I can save money if I don't stop at the drive-thru or make my lunch instead of buying it, but there are times when it's more worthwhile for me to let someone else take care of it.
What about prepared food? Let me ask you, would you pay more for your Mom's homemade cookies than for a run-of-the-mill cookie from anywhere? I have to say I would, not only because it tastes better but also because I love and respect the time my Mom puts into making them, and the way she cooks some just the way I like them - crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
When we go out for a meal, sometimes we like something simple and inexpensive - maybe a morning pastry at Sandrine's or a poutine at Okanagan Street Food or forno pizza and a beer at Smack Dab. Other times we like to treat ourselves, and go to maybe, Ricardo's or Raudz or Poppadoms. Each experience is different, which is part of the charm; all of them are delicious and we always feel like we have been well looked after by the staff. Not having to worry about any of the set up or clean up makes a meal more relaxing, don't you think?
I'm not trying to say that we should all become food snobs and only eat organic food or dine at the "best" restaurants. (I put best in quotations because I do believe there is a best greasy spoon cafe the same as there is a best fine dining restaurant.) I do think it's important to keep our food in context though, and I am a firm believer that supporting the little local guys is a great way to keep the variety alive.
Whatever food you are eating, I wish you good tastes :)
(when I said I was writing about cookies this week, my husband had to add a wee something...)
Chef Martin says:
Fresh cookies are awesome... so making them at home is a no brainer. Even at the best pastry shops sometimes they will bake cookies for two days, or bake the cookies then freeze them, so not always as fresh as yours at home. A fresh cookie is so good, warm, crunchy, chewy, not too sweet, not greasy. I love cookies!!
If you feel like baking, here's a recipe I like that Kristin bakes at home: Frog Commissary Cookies
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