When I left Africa after acquiring a couple of years worth of knowledge about how to cook almost anything I wanted from scratch and not from a box or a can, I planned on implementing those skills to some degree in America. Now, I haven’t gone straight granola or anything (although I did turn a few shades more hippie while I was overseas) but I did like the idea of knowing what was in my food and that I put it there. Let’s be serious, there were too many occasions in Africa where I didn’t know what was in my food, nor how the person prepared that food. It’s a control thing and I liked exercising that control when I could. Now, anyone who has spent more than 10 minutes with me can attest to the fact that I love processed, pre-packaged food (Oreos anyone? McDonald’s anyone?) as much as the next person, but I also enjoy knowing that I am putting something healthy in my body (on ocassion) and I don’t depend on pre-packaged foods to do that for me. So, I came back with all these good intentions to implement at least a couple of the things that I had learned overseas about making my food from scratch or at least eating it more closely to its original form. It’s a sweet sentiment in theory, but one that is far from reality these days.
I am here to tell you that ain’t nobody in America got time for that. I was cooking lunch for a friend the other day and I was going to make some biscuits to go with it. About the time I thought about making biscuits, I saw some packaged, ready-to-eat English muffins sitting on the counter. Making biscuits was a no brainer in Africa, something we whipped up without hardly thinking twice about it. But in America, my first thought was why would I spend 10-20 minutes of my busy life making biscuits when a similar product is already made for me? I dropped the biscuit idea and went straight for the English muffins. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Another prime example is that I keep wanting to make my own yogurt, so I can strain off the whey and use it in the biscuits in place of buttermilk – we did this all the time in Africa and loved the way the biscuits tasted. Puh-lease. When I am strolling down the aisle at Wal-Mart, I can pick up a quart container of already made yogurt for something like $1.29 and go on about my life, so tell me why I would spend precious minutes of my life ultra heat treating the milk for the yogurt, sitting the yogurt mixture in a warm bath (for 7 hours!) to let the bacteria grow, then chilling it and straining it, which is a very messy project….for me at least. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
One of the reasons we don’t have time for that is there are so many durn events going on around here all of the time. Back in Hyena town, the only events we had to attend were the ones we created ourselves. Our typical Saturday included doing whatever little tasks needed to be done, cooking, hiking, reading, and maybe paying a visit to some friends. I literally have to schedule my social life here (and I honestly don’t have that much of one!) There is an event for college students one night, all the people who just returned from overseas getting together another night, a church gathering the next day, a party here, a party there, small group, Bible study, prayer group, etc. I am drowning in social events, not to mention school and an attempt at a thing called a job. The ironic thing is that all these social events usually involve food, but ain’t nobody got time to prepare anything. I run by the grocery store and grab the first thing I see so I can say I brought something or if I am feeling real domestic-like, I whip up a box or a can of something from my house.
Oh, how two months changes things. Happy Superbowl Sunday! Hope everyone ate lots of processed, pre-packaged, bad for you, not made from scratch food tonight. I know I did.