By Wendy Gordon
According to a report released in May 2008 by the market research firm, Information Resources, 53 percent of consumers said they were cooking from scratch, more than they did just six months before. The researchers assume the uptick in home cooking is in response to the rising cost of prepared foods. I’m not surprised and am very much a part of the trend. I’ve even decided to take it a step further and grow tomatoes and greens in a particularly sunny corner of my house. An avid outdoor gardener, it’s a sad day when the last of my summer tomato crop is gone. We’re not there yet, but I dread having to return to store-bought tomatoes, plucked before they’re ripe, from heaven knows where. Not only are they less nutritious than the ones I grow in my backyard, they’re also less tasty. In fact often they don’t even seem to taste like tomatoes.
We’re taking a number of steps to keep our food budget in check. I bring leftovers to eat for lunch. My husband and I go out for dinner, we’ve considerably reduced how much meat we eat–and what meat we do eat, we try to get from farmers in the region. As you may well guess, the return is significant. We spend less and we’re eating healthier and more responsibly.
Experts are saying that higher food prices are here to stay. “The monetary price is finally catching up with the true costs of cheap food: obesity in the U.S., malnutrition in developing countries and environmental degradation everywhere,” according to the NY Times Magazine. There’s much to be done at the policy level, but each of us can make a little difference in our own lives by buying more fresh whole ingredients and from as many local sources as possible–and of course eating healthier, delicious meals at home.