As I mentioned in my Paleo Pets post, I’m currently house sitting and looking after someone’s dogs
I always look in peoples shopping trolleys with interest, but living in someone else’s house offers such a unique insight into what people really eat. The pantry in the house I'm staying in could not be any further from mine. And I find it really sad.
Obviously fresh food was used up before they left, but even so, it appears that almost all of the families meals come from tins, packets and jars, with expiry dates far into the future and lists of ingredients I don’t recognise.
The kitchen counters are full of gadgets like toasters, popcorn makers and microwaves – all absent from my kitchen. Meanwhile gadgets that I rely on in my kitchen are no where to be seen – a blender for soup and sauces; weighing scales for trying out new recipes; a big stockpot for broths and a slow cooker are very evidently missing. Instead of measuring cups and a julienne peeler I've found a pizza cutting wheel and an ice cream scoop.
The pantry is filled with a fat fearing agenda. There are all sorts of fat-free, reduced fat and low-fat instant options. Even the olive oil is “light” – but of course the fat of choice appears to be canola oil. The spread options (for bread, I presume) are low fat margarines. There is a shelf full of cereals, all boasting some amazing health benefits (and lots of mention of wholegrains) on their packaging.
I've been really surprised to find the herbs and spices (of which I have a rather large, regularly refilled collection in my own kitchen) consists of just a packet of cooking salt and an unopened jar of black peppercorns. I suppose when you reheat and eat out of packets and jars, all the taste you need is provided for, by the unrecognisable ingredients listed on the packet. With some good meat or fish, vegetables and a handful of the Paleo ingredients I can use my herbs and spices to make literally hundreds of completely different meals, with far superior tastes to anything the packets could provide.
Water doesn't appear to be the drink of choice, judging by the collection of shockingly coloured cordial bottles and shelf of soft drinks bottles.
The other interesting comparison is in the cooking materials themselves. Plastic (for use in the microwave and for storing food) is in almost exclusive use, and most of the cookware is non-stick. I used to use this type of cookware too – until I started to replace my pots and pans with safer options.
Tellingly the kitchen also houses two medicine cupboards full of all sorts of medications. My medical supplies are housed in a small container and consist of paracetamol (not used this year as I just don’t get headaches any more), some old forgotten about inhalers (my asthma disappeared without trace a couple of years ago), some out of date antihistamines (my allergies have also disappeared) and some plasters (bandaids for any Americans in the house).
I can’t accept it takes too long to bother to prepare proper food, it definitely isn't more expensive than buying everything in packet form. I think for some people opening and reheating from a packet has just become a sad habit, that is hard to break.
The effort to buy low-fat and “healthy” cereals clearly indicates an desire to be healthy – it’s just sad that the intention has failed so strongly in execution.
Have you seen such a SAD kitchen recently? Do you think this is typical?