Today, I had my banana moment. I swear I had not eaten any bananas for five years – besides the small sweet one’s in Brazil, on vacation two years ago. Back in Italy, I would never buy bananas, but stick to local food. Although there are no oranges in Tuscany, we had kiwi, apples, pears and of course the whole set of summer fruit. But in winter, I would eat the apples from a organic farmer down the road from my home.
So now, here I am, in Chicago. And I realize that the demand for local food is so limited, that the supply in an average shopping environment is terrible. Sure, you can drive to a farmer’s market on the weekend or get lucky in one of the few stores dedicated to local & sustainable food, like the Green Grocer. But what if you have no car to go cross town and on top of that it’s a Wednesday, so the next market is in four days from now. I passed a Trader Joe’s and thought I give it a second try – never judge anything from your first impression only. So there I was, standing in front of the apple selection - Michigan Apples (conventional) or organic apples from California. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I like to support conventional local producers, cause I think through the interaction with them and a dialogue you can eventually motivate them to change towards sustainable agriculture. Then I read “apples have been coated with XYZ” – I was so horrified that a) I forgot what they were coated with and b) decided to not eat that. So I got Californian apples. In Chicago. At that point, I thought, I might as well get a banana from Chile. Fond memories of banana & peanut butter made me grab some bananas (I choose the ones which were less green) and a jar of organic peanut butter.
And that was my lunch (see, eventually this story would tie into the project of Value Eating): banana and peanut butter that tasted nothing like what I remembered from childhood vacations at my grandparents’. The banana had absolutely no taste and I wonder why people buy them? Because they think it’s good for you? It is certainly no fun to eat! Anyways, the peanut butter was much more runny and less sweet than the big name brand I had when I was a kid, but I really appreciated that as a sign for being an honest peanut butter, without added sugars, fillers and what not. Will I have more banana & peanut butter? Maybe in five years, when I have forgotten about today’s experiment and want to relive childhood once more. Price for this disappointment: 2 bananas 25c each + 4 tablespoons of peanut butter 42c =92c
Breakfast was an apple for 28 c
Early dinner was a nice zuppa, once more, this time I added not only Fabio’s & Nicoletta’s rice from The Scrumptious Pantry to the 17 bean mix, but also 1/3 of a local & organic butternut squash. Finished off with a drizzle of Cosimo’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil from The Scrumptious Pantry a very filling and – most important of all – warming meal! Costs for this meal: bean mix (24c), rice (15c) squash (50c), Finishing Oil (40c) = 1.29$
Total Food Cost for Today: 2.49$