Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Desperate Housewives.... Whats for Dinner????

I count myself among the many desperate housewives who echo the
daily question...

What's for dinner? This all-encompassing question won't go away
despite my desire that with a snap of my fingers a fully prepared
nutritious meal is ready for consumption and on the table. Yet,
thanks to the packaging industry and its proliferation of new
product ideas, I'm less frenzied about this question than I used
to be. Yes, believe me things have changed from my mother’s day
when cooking healthful meals was a time consuming chore. Food
marketers finally understand that good food need not equate to
long hours in the kitchen.

I love to cook; however, it seems there are not enough hours in
the day to make the home cooked meals I grew up on. Real food
prep used to be a lot of work. Now with many new packaging
innovations the hard work is actually done for me. I use many of
these new packaging innovations in an effort to save time and
because they are good. Every week I scour the supermarket shelves
for new offerings that make my life a little easier. I regularly
try different products to see just how time saving they really
are -- even if the price might be at a premium. Remember, time is

This Thanksgiving I was happy to pick up the bags of prewashed,
precut turnip greens.

Ever spend a couple of hours stripping and washing greens? Not a
pretty sight. How many of you know what turnip lice looks like?
Believe me if you have them you will know. But thanks to
packaging technology, this horror is now avoided with packaged
prewashed greens.

As I search the isles looking for the latest and greatest food
product, I'm pleased to discover that the packaging companies are
really thinking about me. There are now prechopped goodies of all
kinds: carrots, peppers, onions (no crying please), washed and
ready to eat salads -- which I use despite the claims of no
nutritious value. (I recently read an article about how the
greens were washed in a chlorine bath, which washed out all the
nutrients. I admit it made me fell a little squirrelly, but I
have been to the "Fresh Express" lettuce factory and I didn't see
anything untoward happening.)

My newest favorite is the Jimmy Deans breakfast skillets that are
ready to go after only about ten minutes in the pan. After all
breakfast is the most important meal of the day so who cares
about the calories? Speaking of calories, how many of you saw Mr.
Potato Head in the Macy's Day parade? (I'm dating myself here.)
Mr. Potato Head was one of my favorite childhood games. Yes, the
misunderstood potato is making a comeback despite carb counters
and all that stuff about them being bad for you. I love the
premashed potatoes that come packaged in a tub ready to heat and
eat. They are as good as homemade, so my husband says, and let’s
face it. A tub of premashed spuds is certainly are a whole lot
less hassle.

Publix, where I shop most of the time, has dozens of ready-to-eat
in 30 minutes or less meals. All of them use prepackaged,
prewashed, prechopped or preprepared ingredients that could not
exist without the package. So, the next time you get a little
frenzied about what's for dinner, thank the innovations of
packaging because you’d be desperate without them.


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