I was at the farmers market this weekend and was walking through all the stands and looking for something for the kids. We ended up buying some bread from the cute little Iranian lady who has some awesome and exotic offerings. If you like garlic, stop by her little table. Anyway, there was man in his fifties selling some little apple turnovers. I took a look at the label and saw the first ingredient listed as "pie crust" so I asked about it.
"What fat do you use in your pie crust?" I asked.
He looked shocked and took a minute and said, "I don't think I know what you mean."
Hmmm, I tried to think about the way that I should ask, "Well, do you use oil, butter, or shortening in your crust?"
He looked at me said, "I just use commercial pie crust, store bought. I always keep some in the fridge. You know, the "Our Family" brand. It is pretty handy. It probably has lard in it. That's what my grandmother used."
"Well, in that case, I am not interested. It is probably soybean oil. Thanks anyway," I smiled and walked away.
He took a little step away from his table and followed me saying, "Why would it be oil? That's not what my grandmother put in it."
I kept walking but I answered over my shoulder, "When you go home, check the label. I bet it's soy bean oil and we don't eat soy. Have a good day!"
He wasn't having any of it, "Then what do you use?"
I was not in the mood to argue but I answered anyway, "I make my own from scratch and use either butter, palm shortening, or real lard."
He finally stopped following me, "Well, that would be a lot of work, too much work, it would not worth all that effort to sell here at the farmers market."
I just kept walking, I smiled, but I kept walking. I was really, deeply bothered by that statement. I will never understand things like that. He was trying to sell his food, why would I want to buy the same generic crap I could buy at the store? People know that their grandmother, if they are old enough, or their great-grandmother, used to do things differently. They know it was more work but for some reason that is all they can see. They think it is just as good as the unfold and bake refrigerated pie crust. You can tell yourself that it is just as good except that is total nonsense. I am calling you on your crap.
You want to know why my food tastes better than yours? It is because it is food. You can tell yourself that it is pride that makes it possible for people to fill the seats in the expensive restaurants when your canned cream o'barf chicken breast recipe is just as good, but deep down you know that is a bald face lie. It might not be easier but it better. When people east something I have made and they tell me how much they enjoy it, they always ask, "Is it easy?" No. But that is what makes it special.
Don't tell me that it takes too much time. That is another line. Let me tell you. We have a farm with mowing and an apple orchard to care for and a cow to milk twice a day and I have eleven kids and a book contract and I homeschool and my husband works 35 miles away from here and has to commute. I still cook. You know what else? Your great grandmother had more kids, more chores, fewer resources, no appliances to speak of, and put more meals on the table than you do. Don't tell me that it was easier for her. I process four gallons of milk into cheese a day in addition to all the cooking for a dozen people three times a day. I feel for your grandmother because she did not have the tools I have, the least of which is a dishwasher.
If I am going to eat food, it has better be worth it because I think I deserve it after a long day. I think my kids and my husband deserve it. I don't eat out unless it is as good (or better) as something that I make at home and I don't by processed food at the store because I know it is not. Food does not have to be expensive or fancy it just needs to be food. I mean real food, not refrigerated pie crust. Maybe you will have pie less often, maybe you will have to practice to learn how to make it, but I promise you that will only make it more special and it will be worth the effort.
Food is worth the effort because people are worth the effort, most definitely worth the effort.