Some people have Disneyland. My “Mecca” besides the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, is Whole Foods on North Avenue. More expensive than it should be, people go there to eat with their eyes more than with their mouths, unless you wish to spend at least $50 on groceries for just a few items. Its location in River North in the middle of a hip, trendy neighborhood, directly off the Red Line, is safely situated for beautiful commerce near the Chicago River. This Whole Foods is more of a destination than it is a grocery store.
Some people use IKEA in similar ways: a destination shop for ideas and thoughts rather than a place where a person buys that much that often. Luckily, a little further down North Avenue is Stan’s market. I have never been inside that place, but it looks of the same feel and caliber as Family Fresh Market in Jefferson Park. Both of them are local markets with less-expensive produce of good quality.
Bring a foodie in Chicago is less about actually going out for food and seems more about knowing the addictive experiences for groceries. An apple is an apple is an apple. But a Granny Smith from a local producer in Wisconsin or Michigan versus California or Chile could be different based upon soil, rain, and distance. The longer I live in this town, the more concerned I become with what goes into my body.
Out in the suburbs, there are less expensive chain markets like Butera. Within the city are markets that in some cases have been around since the 50’s, and others that grew with expanding populations. The Edgewater Historical Society put on a small exhibit about grocery stores in Edgewater back in its heyday.
Food is big business overall. Overuse of corn and GMO wheat makes Jetsons food for Flintstone bodies, (got that line from a friend) and I prefer Flintstone foods. I want to rediscover what my great grandparents ate. Their generation did not get sick as fast or had as many allergies as we do. I will admit that my great-grandmother was sick more often than not, but her health problems do not appear problematic for me or my generation within the family.
I do better following the Word of Wisdom, which is the LDS health code. My family adopted and adapted various recipes for use over years, and due to addictive behaviors in previous generations, I believe that wine was not a part of our cooking regime anyway. My grandmother did not cook with it, my mother did not cook with it, and I do not cook with it. I started The Mormon Gourmet with my sister dealing with the phenom of wine-less cooking.
Because of the natural understanding that most of the world has when it comes to food, it is a great simile-and-metaphor allegorical apparatus for teaching principles, and deals more-closely with religious teaching. Anyone who controls the food supply controls the world. Control water, salt, sugar, and food fat, and you control how the world thinks, literally influencing molecular-level thought processes.
I care about GMO in that I have too many friends who are sicker than they should be because of what big businesses do. Grow food the old-fashioned way, and let it take effort. Bigger is not always better. Training food to grow faster than needed is not right. Allow the time needed for food to produce the minerals and vitamins otherwise deficient in fast-growing bumper crops.
It’s not a case of exercising ourselves to death. It is a case of being able to afford properly produced food for less than the prices that Whole Foods charges for the Disneyland atmosphere. Branding is a huge incentive, and I can see how people may shop here simply for the appeal of the social climate.
Instead of the Obama’s making PSA’s about exercise, help smaller farmers bring products to market on a local basis. Allow anyone to develop their own seeds. Be proactive about lessening hybridization, and continuing heirloom quality items with low-end antique-shop prices. Junk costs less, and that is why people eat it. America’s economy is in a horribly bad state and health care costs would decrease if there was less controlling and more promoting tax cuts for better quality and better-run food product producers. Want to put America back to work? Give incentives for micro-farms, and you will see more people learning agriculture and less worries about Wall Street issues. We worry when we cannot feed our families nutritious food due to the costs associated. Keep America healthier by giving tax breaks for buying ground and farming it- by normal people with other day jobs. Instead of micro-parks, make parts of parks accessible for farming. Small, community-run places where people can have soil and ground. One person can be the main groundskeeper with care for tools and upkeep on water lines, but otherwise, people can do their thing with limited restrictions. Producing produce and making seeds and productive farming should be rewarded, not mandated against!
There’s my soap-box without extreme passion or activism. I’m just trying to stay away from HFCS while being uncertain about conversion factors in recipes for sugars I haven’t tried yet (agave or maple syrup) and attempting better sugar intake while increasing water. Heaven help us as we re-learn the ancient art of true self-reliance: not asking everyone else to grow things for us, but figuring out how to do it ourselves again. I am not advocating a removal of grocery stores, but instead, tax incentives for installing communal green houses and making that a standard part of apartment living unless a doctor authorizes otherwise due to pollen and similar issues.
I don’t want a Jetson’s lifestyle. I like technology, but prefer to keep my food old-fashioned. If it worked for the Flintstones, it should work for me, too. Here are the thoughts of a 21st century Renaissance girl and urban farmer. Make any Metropolis a greener city by creating roof top gardens and see how they do!