Art of the Cart

My weekly visit to the grocery store was an eye opener.  This week I concentrated on the produce and dairy aisles.  I was thinking about how people get fresh produce in their diet when they can’t afford it, like the $7.00 watermelon I purchased last week or the $4.89 bunch of asparagus; or they do not have a garden.  I am of the mindset that we have raised a generation that cannot cook out of anything except a can, making healthy choices somewhat of a challenge.  I am old enough to remember that most of our meals came out of the garden or were made from scratch; bread, noodles, soups. If my grandmother could grow it she could can it and my mom could make it taste great.  And everything was balanced, all of the food groups represented including a glass of milk and NEVER soda for dinner. Milk by the way was over $4.00 for a gallon of 2%, but soda was less expensive, adding a little attraction by the number of cans/bottles in shopper’s carts.  I think we need to get together and grab a partner and teach people how to cook with fresh, healthy ingredients and show them how they can actually SAVE money by doing so.  Who are you willing to teach; a son or daughter, a grandchild, a niece or nephew, a neighbor?   Can we still eat good tasting healthy meals and save money?  I think we can, and lower our blood pressure at the same time.  What do you think?

By Susan Brockway

6 Replies to “Art of the Cart”

  1. Janie Singleton

    I love your comments of no one knowing how to cook fresh; it is all about coming out of can. Some of my most cherished moments are cooking with my 4 year old grandson. We make meals with herbs he picks from my garden, we peel fruit and we talk about healthly eating. Hope this helps him learn to eat a variety of things. At the High Plains Food Bank we are in the process of building a Kids Cafe Community Kitchen. We have just bought some land next to the food bank for the kitchen and an large additional space for a community garden. We have plans to use the product not only for sending out to agencies but for nutrition education for parents and children. Children need to know what to eat and parents need to know how they can prepare nutritious food on a budget and with time restraints. We are making two projects out fo this. One is the kitchen and one is the garden. It will be next year before we plant but we are hoping to start our compost within a month. We will be able to add some of our waste produce to our compost thus once again recycling. I am really excited about all of this but we must first have our funds and our community educated in nutrition. We are working on this daily. Thanks for suggesting this.

  2. Betsy Reithemeyer

    Family style cooking is becoming more and more a lost art, along with time spent in the kitchen.  We think we are all too busy to cook or make a meal, when the truth is that time with our family is priceless. 

    Blessed with a household of teenagers — mainly boys who run with my 18 year old son —  we came up with an unique way to show them the value of a home-cooked meal that tasted great for less money.  A competition!  Everyone had to make an appetizer, entree and dessert, nutritonally balanced, to be judged by a group of their peers.  The cost was also provided for each meal to contrast what would have been spent at take out. We had 35 kids at the house eating and judging and having a great time.  It was terrific to hear teenage boys discussing the benefits of fresh herbs vs. dry herbs and how much cheese truly should go on a homemade pizza.  At the end of the evening, everyone had enjoyed themselves while discussing how much more food had been purchased, cooked and saved vs eating out.  And, how much better it tasted and was better for them.  The guys took great pride in being such good cooks — and even attracted a few new girlfriends along the way.

  3. Eric in Winnipeg, Canada

    Sue great visuals of the cart.I agree our generation and our kids have become so depended on takeout other forms of prepared meals , I am afraid of what it is doing to us in the long term. The health affects , weight problems, blood pressure and other issues continue to rise . While we are able to get thru meal periods quicker and on to the next task, email , voice mail. Like it would never get done with out the conviences of the mircowavable Mac & Cheese . I really needed those extra 3 minutes in my life . You are correct like everything in life good food Takes time , why rush. Think about buying 1 whole chicken and the number of meals that can be made from it ,One tasty  dinner with family and friends, , a Sandwich or 2 with the leftover  chicken . And Finally a Slow simmering Pot of Chicken soup with the Bones ,with the those vegetable from the buttom of the fridge will TASTE great and be really good for you .Keep up the great writing .   See you at the Share our Strength ,Conference of leaders .Keep in touch

  4. Kim Armstrong

    I remain a believer in healthy eating as a means to a long healthy life.  I have instilled in my kids  the importance of eating healthy and exercising.  However, I recognize the nature of poverty and the effects of living in poor neighborhoods has on nutricious eating.  I intentionally drive through poverty ridden neighborhoods and show my kids that there are NO grocery stores on fast food restaurants ( and they are in abundance).  I drive to the wealthy neighborhoods and see the wonderful fresh fruits and vegatables and they are less expensive then those in the middle or poor income neighborhoods.  I have found this to also hold true with gasoline prices.  Why is it that the poorest of the poor are required to pay more when they have the least?    Well this is what I have done ( in addition to educating my kids), I know when all of the produce get marked down at all the grocery stores.  I then buy all of the marked down ( still good and not spoiled) produce and distribute it to the senior citizens who are on fixed incomes.  I would welcome any of you to pitch in and do the same.  My seniors look for me to bring bags of fresh produce every Sunday to church and the cost is no more than what I would pay regularly if I were feeding only my family.  I also sign them up for every food basket and box offered during the holiday season and deliver it to them. This costs me a little gas,  but they get meats, milk and produce that will last them a couple of weeks. I know these are little things, but I know that they are eating and not worrying about paying for medications in addition to food.

  5. Ed

    Compelling question, Sue.  I think Share Our Strength’s Operation Frontline has a great mission of teaching people to purchase and "process" healthful food. It’s a life-changing program that’s pretty time and resource-intensive.   The real challenge is making such programs scalable and accessible. Perhaps your suggestion of a more personal approach would complement the more intensive programs. 

  6. Jo Dorrance


    I couldn’t agree more with your comments about teaching others to buy well and learn to cook at home.  I was raised in a German household and my mother cooked every night.  She taught me how to cook the basics from an early age and how to organize the steps so that by the time you sat down to dinner everything was ready (and the kitchen was clean).  I fall into the trap of eating out too often at times in my life–then I realize what it is costing, the calorie content, and how much better homemade tastes.  I have been meaning to teach my 17 year old son about the basics of cooking.  Your blog has invigorated me to do that this summer before it’s too late.

    I am also amazed at the amount of pop (soda) I see piled high on carts at the grocery store.  These hollow calories have gotten out of hand for our children and adults.  Now I drink ice water with lemon or low fat milk–yes milk is expensive but what are our priorities?  Calcium is critical to healthy bones, teeth, and quality of life for the long haul.

    Thanks for starting this important topic.

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