Modern Meals Made Easy

Dinner in a can

Dinner in a can

Growing up, my mother made the choice to be a single parent when she and my father separated. As a career woman, she was often too busy to make home-cooked meals from scratch and we often had to settle with canned goods or other processed meat. Also, needless to say, we did not have a lot of money to have hired help to go to the market on a daily basis and procure ingredients. Well, not having a lot of money severely limited our choices and so we subsisted on food that were cheap and easy to make.

Growing up, I never really understood how sad it was. Canned or processed meat are delicious–you can’t deny that! But the taste of these meats are specifically designed to agree with your palette and they often use artificial enhancers to disguise the fact that it is not nutritious. Sources would even assert that what are inside the cans are not the meat they claim to be. (To cite a few examples: Ma Ling as cat or baby meat instead of pork; any corned beef as horse meat; hot dogs as made from actual dogs instead of beef.) As a result, my sense of taste was numbed and deadened. My palette was trained to love the taste of processed meat. Having greater opportunities to expand my palette, I envy friends who grew up tasting fresh vegetables, meat, or fish on a daily basis because they are sensitive to sensations I cannot lay claim to. Although I have acquired sensitivity growing up, but the almost instinctive knowledge to distinguish good food is something that I am afraid is beyond my capabilities.

Growing up with the limited choices that I have, I try to be adventurous. I have eaten snakes and dog and even frogs! I have tasted fruits of various shapes and appearance. I have unlocked the secrets of eating exotic vegetables (e.g. fruit of the malunggay) and various parts of the plant or tree. The food industry has made modern meals easy with technology, but why make it easy? Challenge, variety, and the element of surprise give the food a fine sauce. Why miss out on that?

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