Oh Dairy Dear…

11 Jan

Before I get into the gristly details of my first excruciating shopping trip for organic goodies, let me set down the ground rules. Here’s the madness I have decided to embark upon:

2012 GUIDE TO MINDFUL EATING

Directions:

– All produce must be organic, and if possible, local and/or in season.

– All meat must be humanely-raised and/or organic, and if possible, grass-fed.

– All seafood must be from sustainable sources.

– All eggs must be from free-range hens and organic, and if possible, local.

– All dairy products must be organic, and if possible, humanely-produced.

– All other groceries must be organic, unless no organic substitutes available. If not organic, must contain:

-No corn or soy products

-No plastic packaging

– All coffee must be organic, shade-grown and fair-trade.

– All tea, cocoa, sugar and chocolate must be organic and fair-trade.

Exceptions:

–          During house visits, it’s ok to eat/drink anything that is served by host.

–          During travel, if organic food is not available, it’s ok to eat conventional foods, but vegetarian/vegan options should be taken whenever possible.

As of yesterday, when I returned from my wild trip east, the game has been on at full strength, along with my determination to do this on a tight budget. The first days, however, are not necessarily the hardest. In fact, they are quite easy, seeing as my freezer and pantry are (not intentionally, that’s how I always keep them) packed full of non-organic food. They need to be used up. In the meantime, though, anything I buy has to be organic. So my first trip to the grocery store involved picking up organic milk, yogurt (mainly to get a starter culture so I can make my own), and fruit. As a bonus, I found a slice of wild Ocean-Wise salmon that was in the discount bin. As a kick in the shins, I realized that the only organic free-range eggs in the store were $7 a dozen, which, to put it mildly, doesn’t fit very well into my current budget. So no eggs. And this is how the rest of the story went:

First meal: Discounted salmon and organic avocado. Not too bad.

Second meal: Chicken from freezer with potatoes and garlic from the pantry- nothing organic there, but I did ration out the chicken as I have a feeling it will become a scarce treat in the not-too-distant future.

First attempt at baking: I made cheese scones to eat for breakfast, seeing as the prospect of scrambled eggs was out the window. Once again, nothing organic except the fresh parsley from the garden. Still, the mindset was already shifting. Organic butter is $10 a pound here, which is close to gourmet delicacies such as chanterelles (which, by the way, I can get for free if I wander into the woods deep enough). I do have a pound and a half of butter squirreled away in the freezer during a sale, but I realized that like the chicken, it had to be rationed out. The recipe I have called for shortening, but I refuse to use margarine on principle (my father, being a unique sort of health nut, banned it in our household long ago, and not having grown up with it I can’t tolerate the stuff). So I ended up going with 1/3 butter and 2/3 oil, all the while feeling like a pre-industrial-revolution farmer’s daughter. Butter = creamed gold. Preeeecious. The scones turned out amazing.

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