Thursday, August 5, 2010
In an Instant
I'm at a crossroads in the kitchen, and it all started with instant mashed potatoes. What are the pros and cons of keeping boxes of instant mashed potatoes or rice mixes or pasta mixes? Should I even bother buying jars of spaghetti sauce?
I have a good Cuban friend who left Miami four years ago and along with her family moved to Georgia. In Miami she was a realtor; now, we call her a guajira (Cuban hillbilly/farmer), she has a big enough property where she and her husband plant their own garden; a garden that this year has yielded 504 ears of corn which were husked, cut in three, blanched and frozen and greens beans that were canned as well as the peaches from her trees. Jellies were made with the many raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. She put her onions and peppers through a food processor and froze them in exact proportions to make sofrito. She has enough to last a year and she feeds a family of nine. She has 25 hens so she never has to buy eggs. She buys her rice in 40 lb bags, the same with sugar and flour. I'm pretty sure she doesn't have any Rice-A-Roni boxes sitting in her pantry. The pictures above are from her garden.
I guess it all comes down to time, expense and nutrition. You can get a box of macaroni and cheese for under a dollar, but how nutritious is it? It's easier to open and heat a can of beans than to prepare a batch of dried beans from scratch, but dried beans are much cheaper and yield way more than what you get in a can, plus you can prepare them to your taste. Then again, if you live alone, when would you ever be able to go through a pound of beans?
But my conundrum started with instant mashed potatoes. The potatoes in my refrigerator were starting to shrivel, so I peeled them, boiled them and mashed them. We can only eat so much, then what? I don't like frozen mashed potatoes, so in this instance I think I'll keep buying the instant.