Is Grocery Shopping Buying Prepared Food?

This article struck a nerve with me, from the Wall Street Journal, “Why Cooking Has Become a Lost Art”. The link is provided if you’re a subscriber.  A couple of sentences into the article, this line hit me: “Grocery shopping is now buying prepared food”.  Is that you? It certainly is me more than I’d like to admit.  My reasons are obvious, A) too much work, B) fail to plan, and C) too busy doing too many evening activities or social networking that take me and my family away from prep time and the dinner table.  Which leads me to my next realization, preparing the meal used to be simple, because expectations were lower.  There was no Googling recipes and there was no pressure or expectation for something fabulous and super TASTY, just a well-worn Betty Crocker Cookbook. We lived in a rural community where the nearest decent grocery store was 7 miles one-way.  During the late 70’s early 80’s, I grew up in a 2-parent working household.  I had two siblings, a much younger brother 11 years my junior, and a twin sister active in everything possible after school.  That left me, who only played two sports during the school year, as evening cook.  My busy Mother helped plan the meal most days, but when she couldn’t then my version of spaghetti would have to suffice, much to my Father’s dismay. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen my Dad eat spaghetti in decades.  Flash forward to today, and although my lasagna, quesadillas, and tuna salad really don’t compete with the Whole Foods or Market District fan-fare no one goes hungry when I do cook. 

On the flip side, sometimes or perhaps most times you can get prepared chicken for just pennies more per serving over the raw version. Add in your time and the cost to turn on the stove, the decrease in available 15 year old off-spring to prepare the evening meal, and there’s the reason why grocery store take-out is so appealing.  

 By ~ Lisa Hudson

PS - A couple of days after writing this article, I prepared a meal at home from ingredients purchased from two different grocers that were partially prepared.  Orange Chicken from the frozen section at Trader Joes, and pre-cut carrots and cauliflower "rice" from Target.  Gettinghome after a 12 hour day made getting this meal ready in just 25 minutes ideal., by Julie Jargon and Heather Haddon, July 31, 2017 7:00 a.m. ET