By Loraine Debnam
The “outsourcing” poster I was looking at had a two-part message. The full title was “Stop outsourcing —your food — get back in the kitchen.”
I’ve been doing some thinking about this idea and it strikes me you could read it a couple of different ways.
Firstly, perhaps it is intended as an encouragement to stop visiting fast food outlets to grab a quick bite, while on the way to the myriad of activities we all have which make up our everyday lives.
I have to admit I am astounded by the length of the line-ups at the drive through windows. When I was a girl, the occasions of going out for supper were quite rare and almost always a special family celebration — a birthday, anniversary or something similar.
Once in a while there was a local community or church gathering which hosted a turkey supper but we always took something to add to the bountiful food table. I don’t ever remember going to a restaurant on the spur of the moment.
Chicken wings, short ribs and ox-tails for soup were among the least expensive items on the grocery list but that is certainly not the case in today’s market place. My dad was a great hunter and my mom grew a generous garden which, combined with family holidays spent picking berries, provided amazing meals on a daily basis.
We also had some farm animals including chickens, turkeys, pigs and a milk cow, so there was no shortage of good things to eat. One summer we visited an aunt in the Okanagan who had an incredible orchard and later that winter we had canned pears, peaches, plums and apple pies made from her generous harvest. Most of our fruit however, was seasonal. We certainly never had watermelon in December and I was an adult before I even tasted a mango or a papaya.
Which brings me to the second possible message of the poster. Every week I receive e-mail messages concerning the meats, fruits and vegetables imported to Canada from countries all over the globe. It certainly provides variety in our choices but the main concern is always the way they are grown, harvested and shipped to our country and subsequently to our local supermarkets.
Most countries do not have our strict regulations for the use of pesticides, herbicides and slaughtering methods. I have read some locations do not even have any food safety inspectors and others where the officials receive bribes to certify inferior products.
In addition to which there are some scary stories about the choices made for feed and growth stimulation in farmed animals and fish or shellfish production. Many of these are not simply inferior, they may be contaminated or toxic (or both).
I must admit reading labels has become a regular part of my grocery shopping. I am definitely leery of products which state “packed by,” “imported for” or “prepared for.” I don’t want to become dependent on these items and I can certainly do without most of them.
All in all, the poster was a good reminder for me, no matter which way I read it. Quality, brand integrity and regular monitoring should be important to us all when we “get back in the kitchen.”