Compromises


A couple of weeks ago one of my friends gave me a lesson in pressure canning. A different friend taught me how to water bath can a couple of years ago but pressure canning is totally new to me. My pressure canning lesson was on meat. Using this post with instructions we canned 7 quarts of a mix of antelope and venison. The end results look beautiful and I’m anxious to taste it. My plan is to use it for the base of stews, chili, stroganoff and things like that. The process was easy but did take quite some time to complete. I’m hoping that maybe I can get another lesson from her before investing in my own equipment.

While we were waiting for the canner to do it’s thing we had plenty of time for chatting. My friend has been doing traditional foods for several years and is alot further along in this journey than I am. Even so, the conversation of compromise came up (home canning is considered by most to be a ‘compromise’ but I’m okay with the thought of home canned goods especially since it helps me meet my food storage goals). We both have several things that we purchase that are not ‘ideal’ but we consider compromise items that help our budget.

Last month I mentioned one of my compromises on a shopping trip was to buy regular grocery store beef. We had been doing GAPS and eating alot more meat than normal. I’m okay with buying grocery store beef but have to admit that the flavor (or lack of flavor) is rather disappointing. Even so, if grocery store beef was the only option that I had to feed my family, I’d buy it.

Our conversation started when my friend asked me if I’d read a post that Kerry Ann from Cooking Traditional Foods recently put up. Kerry Ann posts about buying white rice in a store that is rather controversial. Yep, you guessed it. The store is Wal*mart.

I have to admit, that I shop at ‘that’ store also. I used to take pictures of my shopping trips and post them on here. Looking at those, one can see a fair amount of ‘that’ store brand labels in my pictures.

Why do I shop at Wal*mart? Number one reason is that there are many things that I can buy there for a substantially lower amount than any other store in town. Spending less money on some items allows me to ‘splurge’ on other items that are high quality nutrient dense items.

What do I regularly buy at ‘that’ store?

Frozen wild caught salmon, cod and flounder
Canned wild caught salmon
Canned tuna
Daisy Sour Cream
Produce on the Clean 15 list and sometimes other produce that is not part of the Dirty Dozen
Coffee and tea
White rice, mustard, vinegar and other miscellaneous pantry items
Non Food items such as cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc.

I totally get the reasons that people have issues with Wal*mart and other stores like them. And I do have some of the same issues. But knowing a few people that work at my local Wal*mart I feel okay supporting ‘that’ store knowing that my friends continue to have employment (and truth be told at least two of those friends think it is a fine place to work).

Now I have to say, that I do not think that Wild Caught Salmon, Cod or Flounder is a compromise food. But I do wonder if perhaps I could get a better quality fish if I ordered it online. However, for the cost difference we stick with the Wal*mart fish and to be quite honest we have been pleased with the flavor of all of the fish we have purchased there except for Whiting but I wonder if that might not just be the type of fish.
Canned wild caught salmon is something I purchase but not a regular addition to my menus. I keep it on hand to use for ’emergency’ meals and will sometimes (rarely) plan on salmon patties or a salad topped with salmon. I do try to limit the usage mainly because of BPA and the fact that we prefer frozen.
Canned tuna is really, really a compromise food. Especially since I buy the dirt cheap Wal*mart brand of canned tuna. I have tried to find a different ‘healthier’ brand that has the flavor of the cheap one but I haven’t found it. Other than this incredibly delicious can of tuna that we had on vacation last summer the dirt cheap kind is our favorite. So I buy it. And we eat around 4 cans a month. Am I happy about it? Not really but I’m okay with it for now.
White rice vs brown rice. We use and buy both. I buy the white rice at Wal*mart because it is the cheapest and I can buy big bags to keep on hand (I like to buy in bulk to help with the food storage goals I mentioned above). I buy brown rice from Azure Standard (also in bulk) for substantially more $$$. Joe and I prefer the flavor of brown rice. The girls prefer white rice. I usually alternate cooking them. But sometimes white rice makes more appearances to our table than brown because I forget to start my brown rice soaking. I figure white rice being what it is, probably doesn’t matter as much for soaking.
If you find yourself struggling with real food vs compromise food, I really encourage you to read Kerry Ann’s rice post. In fact, read her entire blog. She is an amazingly real, real food blogger sharing her tips and ideas for real food on a real budget.

I’d love to know your thoughts on where you compromise.

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