Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shortcuts: Taking The Easy Way

Sometimes it's all too much. Cooking from scratch and intelligent food shopping take time, and they can go out the window when priorities collide.

Help is available for those avoiding food allergens.

For the gluten-intolerant, there are more and more products coming on the market. We are impressed by Glutino projects -- see for details. Their corn bread (which tastes like a good white bread, not what Americans call corn bread) has a permanent home in our freezer. It's milk- and casein-free, with no hydrogenated oil or refined sugar. (There are gluten-free goodies that are full of buttery goodness, which makes them unsuitable for the dairy-intolerant.)

Glutino breads are imported from Canada, so the flabby dollar makes them pricey even by Drager's standards. With the freezing and the sturdiness of the bread -- some brands fall apart in the process -- I think we are getting our money's worth. (In defense of Draeger's, a high-end grocery shopping experience in the Bay Area along the lines of Harrod's in London, they offer an astounding variety of foodstuffs, the produce and meats are impeccable, and you can find moderate seasonal values.)

Another great service arrived this morning. I'm a subscriber to spud! (Small Potatoes Urban Delivery). Spud! replaced our former vegetable delivery service, which I suspected of purchasing organic veggies just prior to the leftovers being set aside for senior centers. Spud! uses sturdy Rubbermaid bins for the delivery, which keep cool on our porch until I'm home.

Best of all, you can customize your deliveries online. I'm set up for a bi-weekly organic Fresh Harvest Box. I can exclude specific fruits (ixnay on the inapple-pay), tweak my order in advance, or add grocery items. A blessing indeed if you are busy, housebound, or trying to drive less. We get the organic produce that's better for us and for the planet.

In my fantasies, I'm shopping the farmer's market twice a week like a sagacious French housewife. Or whipping up brilliant creations from the mystery boxes dropped off from the local CSAs -- Community Supported Agriculture boxes that give you whatever is freshest at farms that supply the likes of Chez Panisse and Boulevard.

In reality, we're lucky to have something fresh and nutritious at home at all. So I'm grateful for the shortcuts that help us eat sensibly at home.

N.B. You can get $25 off on your first 4 deliveries with Spud! if you use my code, CR5-992696 when you sign up.