Cutting corners. Maybe it’s a lack of time, a lack of money . . . it could even be a lack of ability. Whichever it is, the outcome is likely to be less than optimal if you cut corners.
Dinner is a good example. The planning, shopping, and chopping consume so much of my brainpower and time that many days I just rush through it, taking short cuts. At first, I didn’t even know I was cutting corners. I may have told you that, during COVID, when I was stuck at home, I learned there are so many new rules to food!
The first has been around a while. Our food should be sustainably, organically farmed. Okay, most grocery stores have this section. But what about free range and cage free? If a chicken is free range, isn’t it also cage free? And how about beef? If you’re even still eating beef—our beef should be grass fed and grass finished. Apparently, the cows don’t just have to eat grass; they have to finish eating grass. Whatever that means. Maybe it means they’re happy?
One package of cheese says, “Laughing Cows.” Do happy cows make better cheese? And how would we even know where they are on the happiness index? I’ll tell you what would make me happy. Not knowing all these rules! Since I’m a rule follower, once I know about a new rule, I have to do it . . . so stressful.
Remember the TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous? The couples featured on the show had personal chefs to do the planning, shopping, and chopping for them. They weren’t stressed out. It was the personal chef’s job to know all the rules and follow them. I bet the personal chef doesn’t stress out about it.
Seafood is another example. We’re supposed to eat only wild caught—nothing farm-raised. And I guess we’re not supposed to eat tuna. Tuna was the only seafood we had when I was a kid. Tuna in a can. No longer allowed. If you remember tuna casserole like I do, you’re not missing the canned tuna.
There’s a great local seafood market on my way home from work. They have a case full of locally, wild- caught seafood. The trick is, I have to leave work 15 minutes early to make it to the store before they close. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, which means I often stop by the regular grocery store that has wild caught seafood in the freezer section. I’m not sure why freezing seafood changes the taste and texture, but it does. I bet a personal chef would know the answer.
So, on good days, I’m driving home . . . I’ve left work 20 minutes early, just in case . . . and I’m singing that great You Go, Girl song, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man, ‘cause I’m a woman!” at the top of my lungs. Then I remember—we’re not supposed to eat bacon.
My friend and I were once lamenting about not eating pork. She laughed when I told her bacon didn’t count. It’s just too good to give up. It’s then that I feel nostalgic for the days when it was common for me to say, “Time for dinner! Kids, get in the car.”
Do you think that would be considered as taking a short cut?
When I worked as a Park Slope Nanny in Brooklyn many of these “food rules” were in full effect at snack time. If anyone pulled out an unmarked baggy of snack that was not easily identifiable as “organic” “non-gmo” etc all the other nannies and moms stare at the offending treat with “death daggers” until it was consumed or thrown away 🤣