Some days I really hate food, which is rather unfortunate. I was speaking to a friend recently about how much the thought of food - the planning, buying, preparing and clearing up, as well as the ethical issues and guilt surrounding it - occupies so much of our waking hours.
I've been trying to have a frugal period. At the same time I've also started thinking about producing healthier food for the family. You would think that the two were agreeable. Unfortunately, despite the myth that it is cheaper to live on wholesome home cooking, there is no getting away from the evidence that faces me on food shopping trips; i.e. that it costs more to eat healthily than it does to eat processed and packaged food.
There are of course exceptions, but processed food - especially the supermarket value ranges - are cheaper than what it would cost me to buy the ingredients and make my own. It is of course in the interests of manufacturers and supermarkets to keep it this way. And it's not just about comparing the exact ingredients used in recipes vs the finished processed product, but also the expense of ingredients that never get used, or are mostly wasted. I've lost count of the number of aubergines destined to be ratatouille or mediterranean tart that have decomposed from the inside out on the top shelf of my fridge. And that jar of tahini, used once to make humous and now sat in my fridge (for about 2 or 3 years I think!). The cucumber fated to sludge instead of tzatziki (because the yoghurt went off before I got around to it).
Menu planning helps of course. But if like today I was looking for fresh coriander and fresh mint to make some lovely thing in a recipe book, then so much of it is wasted (unless of course I can think of a whole load of other recipes to use the same ingredients, but these will then require further ingredients that I will have to buy).
While I'm on the subject I am keen to learn how to make bread that does not have a crust the thickness and hardness of the earth's mantle. I have tried different recipes, different methods, different oven temperatures and cooking periods. Once again today I have produced two loaves with dark brown rock hard criusts and overly-soft inners. If I am to ever progress to the role of Earth Mother I really must get this bread sorted.