Monday, April 14, 2008

Dilemma of the Day

So I was at Safeway today picking up the ingredients for tonight’s dinner. I was hungry (apparently I wasn’t following the “never shop hungry” advice!) so I was wondering through the meat department trying to decide if I wanted to buy something even though it wasn’t on the list and wasn’t part of the menu plan for the week.

They have started a clearance section in the meat department… they put all the “sell or freeze by today” meat together now with a percent off sticker on each. They used to just have those meats in with the others rather than in a special section. Anyway, I was looking at the meat and debating whether or not to buy some.

Here’s the dilemma…

This meat is obviously not the freshest meat available.
It’s on sale.
I’m guessing if no one buys it, it will be thrown in the garbage.
What a waste!
I should buy it (and cook it of course!) so it doesn’t get thrown away but am I risking food poisoning by doing that?

Now don’t get me wrong – I’ve bought the clearance meat before without any problem. But occasionally I do wonder about the whole food poisoning, spoiled food, e coli, etc issue. And then the other problem I have with that meat is that it’s feed-lot beef and who-knows-how-they-do-pigs pork and caged-sad-chickens chicken. I don’t mind spending a bit more and getting our meat from the farmer at the farmer’s market but the market isn’t open yet.

And today isn’t the first day I’ve considered the wastefulness of having so much meat always available to buy that some of it ends up in the trash. Why are we as Americans so spoiled that we expect a full case of meat each and every time we shop? Limited supply would make the prices a bit higher but it would have positive influence on our diets and on the environment. Raising the meat so that we can eat as much meat as we want as many meals a day as we want has a definite negative impact on the environment and even on our dietary health.

We should raise as many cows/chickens/pigs as the farmland can support in a healthy eco-system alongside the fruits and vegetables (i.e. Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms). However much that is, then that’s it. Make up the rest of our diet with the fruits and vegetables we aren’t getting enough of.

Americans are spoiled and wasteful. And fat. And lazy. I’m just as bad as everyone else but today I’m wondering why and what could be done to change it.

In case you are wondering… I didn’t buy any of the meat. We don’t need it and it isn’t part of the meal plan for this week. So this time I didn’t buy any. And in the interest of true confessions… I drove my car to the community center for my exercise class this morning even though it’s only a mile away and I could totally ride my bike. I hardly ever do though – I ride maybe 10 times/year and drive the rest of the time. I ate at McDonalds this morning after I went to Safeway (I was hungry, remember?!) And even though I brought my own cup for the iced coffee (a McD’s cup that I got at the drive thru last week) in an attempt to reduce the waste, I may have made it worse. The lady couldn’t find the right size lid (no, I didn’t bring a lid but maybe next time I will) so she tried at least 5 times before she got it right. I don’t know if she’ll use them again or if she’ll throw them away. She used individual creamers and a long plastic spoon to mix the coffee. Those of course were thrown away. I did walk to school to pick up the kids but again, I usually drive even though I really don’t need to most days.

So… I am guilty. Guilty of going to McDonald’s even though I could make my own healthier breakfast and iced coffee at home. Guilty of driving places that I could walk to. Guilty of eating meat at almost every meal.

I am a spoiled, lazy American.

1 comment:

zirelda said...

I hate when I start thinking like that. I end up not making a decision which in itself is a decision. But I really don't like that confused feeling I get....