There is no doubt that the fast food industry has transformed the world. It affects how we eat, what we eat, our nutrition, and even our average body weight. In fact, the average American spends $1,200 per year on fast food. In fact, the global value of the fast food market tin 2017 was almost $650 billion.
It is sad to think that cooking from scratch, or what I call slow food, is becoming a lost art in the average home. Eating fast food is now the norm. If it is not fast food, now we can get the healthy “meal kit” delivered to our own home. At least we are cooking from home, but at what price?
But on the homestead, sustainable food production is a vital part of self sufficiency. Stocking up on essentials is a matter of necessity especially if you live far from the local supermarket. In my personal situation, the nearest supermarket is 22 miles away. That means I never have a quick trip to the store. It is 44 miles round trip. This is a minimum of 1 1/2 hours out of my day if there is good weather. And this does not account for the cost of gas to drive back and forth.
Too many times in our culture, we pay a hefty price for the sake of convenience. You can have anything you want, any time you want as long as you are willing to pay the price. But once again, at what cost. The money you pay for an item in the supermarket is not the whole cost. You are paying for the cost of marketing, packaging, delivery, stocking in the supermarket, the cost of wages for someone to put it on the shelf, and sales tax when you purchase the item. Not to mention all the waste associated with disposing of the packaging.
The other thing to consider is the fact that you are paying for the convenience of having a huge variety or products. I am often confounded with the shear variety of products on the chip aisle. But, this is simply a way to get you to spend more money. Something with added flavors commands a better price than the standard plain cornflake. All of this of course is the complete opposite of self sufficient living.
But let’t look at a couple of example. I found high quality rice online for 96 cents/pound. If you simply add a few spices you can have a nice Mexican style rice dish. The same product in a local supermarket is $2.50/pound. Russet potatoes are 49 cents/pound. Add a few other ingredients and you can have nice mashed potatoes. But if you purchase the instant style potatoes they cost $5.00/pound. And these are just some simple examples.
On the homestead, slow food is just the opposite of fast food. First of all you do not always get what you want. You often start with a recipe in mind or a recipe is used as a general idea. Then you change that according to what is ready in the garden, what is in the cellar, what is getting old in the freezer, or what left overs are in the refrigerator.
Many times, creativity and ingenuity are your best friends on the homestead. Learning to use what is available and simply being adaptable is a valuable skill especially if what you want or need is just not available. Most people do not even realized that the average supermarket only stocks about a three day supply of food. What do you do if the supply chain is interrupted. In the case of our recent pandemic when people were panic buying food, the supermarket shelves were often empty.
The other huge benefit is that your food is truly fresh from the garden. There are no preservatives or pesticides. I always question who is it that decides that level of pesticides in our food supply is “acceptable”.
Think of it this way. You start some tomato seedlings on your window seal. Eventually you transplant it to your garden. You nurture them for a few months then harvest a great many tomatoes. You can at the extra. Some time later, you are cooking up a dinner that requires tomato sauce. The joy of adding your own home grown ingredients means so much more that simply opening a can of commercially prepared sauce.
But all of that does not even take into account the taste of the food, all the added salt and preservatives. If you have grown your own vegetables or raised your own chickens, then you know very well there is no comparison to the taste of home grown versus commercially produced food.
In today’s fast paced, highly interconnected society, cooking at home from basic ingredients in directly connect to the vital self sufficient skills that so many of us are lacking. Most of us depend heavily on a vast, complicated infrastructure over which we have no control. So, take the time to cook things for your self. Enjoy the benefits of slow food and start reconnecting with the vital skills of self sufficiency.
Go off grid and live well,
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