Lazy Food CAN be Good Food

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I find myself visiting the grocery store for inspiration on what to eat and cook now. Like you I get bored eating the same things ALL THE TIME. (Moment of Truth – I sometimes go to the store, in off peak hours, and just look around. No, I am not kidding.)

As I wander through the produce section of the grocery stores I notice more and more precut fruits and veggies, premade salads in addition to the washed-for-you lettuces, and yogurt parfaits with granola and fruit. In Costco you can get a supersized bag of pre-sliced apples, portioned out in small bags (presumably for lunches) and pre-made fruit trays for parties. This is fresh food folks, not the canned fruit cocktail cups of my child’s youth. I thought to myself, How fucking lazy do you have to be to buy not only washed lettuce (guilty here!), but cut up fruits and veggies? So I started thinking…I know, dangerous…

I can see the logic of having products like these in truck stops and 7-11 type stores. Family road trippers and people who travel by road for work, like my Dad and friend Jim, would have healthier things to choose from when on the road. But in your local grocer’s produce section? What is the shelf life? What are they treated with? How many people handled the raw product? Again, How fucking lazy are you? (FYI – all of MY pics were taken at a local Smith’s store – but don’t tell anyone, they “usually don’t allow pictures” I was told).

An entire wall of precut fruit Dippers w/ Caramel PreSliced Apples

Then it hit me. People are lazy. They WANT to make healthier choices, but don’t want to do the prep work.

Then I got hit again. I don’t like to eat an apple whole. Don’t ask why, I don’t know; but if you cut it up for me, I will snack on the slices all day long.

So there you have it. The lazy and the stupid are the people these are marketed toward. I am in the latter category, mainly because I don’t know why I dislike eating apples on the core.

Here is some info to think about:

  • Once fruit or veggies are cut, they MUST be refrigerated, but many can be stored at room temp in their whole state for a much longer time
  • Many are treated with citric acid, a chemical to prevent the cut fruit from browning
  • The salads taste pretty good and the ones from Taylor Farms come with just enough dressing to coat it and not drown it
  • Photo Courtesy of the Taylor Farms Website
    Photo Courtesy of the Taylor Farms Website
  • These versions cost more than double what the whole versions cost, but if it helps you CHOOSE fruits and veggies instead of chips, GO FOR IT!

So here is my charge to you: Eat more fruit! I have been taking 10 minutes every couple of days to core and slice a bunch of apples and pop them in the fridge to snack on whenever I have a sweet tooth, which is quite often lately.

Here’s the skinny:

  • Squeeze a half a lemon into 6 cups of water. This is just enough to prevent browning without making the fruit taste bitter or like lemon
  • Use an apple wedger to core and cut the fruit into wedges if you like it chunky or slice it thin like I do
  • Dunk the cut pieces in the acidulated water, making sure that all the cut surfaces have been exposed to the water. I let them sit there until the bowl is full.
  • Take them out and pat them dry on a clean towel
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge on a shelf where you can see them, not in the produce drawer, and watch how fast they disappear
  • This works for pears too as long as they are not ultra-ripe.

So let’s get back to Valentine’s Day. For those of you who are new readers to my blog, I call Valentine’s Day “amateur night” and absolutely refuse to go out to eat on that night. I go ALL OUT here at home and make something I have never made before that is luxurious, expensive and completely decadent. The problem is I have been doing this for so many years that I am running out of ideas. If you have a thought on what I should be cooking, share it in the comments section. And share this blog so more people can have some input. I am getting desperate here – we’re 10 days out!