Fresh Is Out: Canned Is In

June 17, 2007 in Food Porn, fruit, ingredient, issues


Because this is my own little nano-bully pulpit, I have to relate something I overheard at the grocery store the other day. I have been trying to come to terms with what was said and how I have been reacting to it, over time. This post is part of that process. Your comments will be an important further step.

I was dithering over some apples when I heard this 16 oldish guy (taller than me for sure) talking to his mom. He was trying to persuade her to let him buy a pineapple. She said that she didn’t want him to buy it and to buy the canned pineapple instead. He persisted, saying he wanted to try it fresh. She said, in an off hand and rather annoyed manner, that it is less expensive canned. He replied that it isn’t really and that the pineapple cost less. She said that it was just too much trouble, he replied it couldn’t be that hard to carve up and then he goes on to talk about how you should cut this and that part.

Finally, she literally pulled him away from the fresh fruit display into the canned and boxed budget isle.

I was struck dumb and felt so bad for that kid. Here he is, a guy who is a teen who actually WANTS to eat fresh food and who wants to actually get his hands dirty with the pineapple and his mother is telling him that canned is BETTER. Sure, the mom must have been in a hurry, didn’t want to clean up a mess, preferred canned ancient pineapple, whatever; she missed out BIG time on a [tag]teachable moment[/tag] (hers and his).

She wasn’t listening to her child, in the least.

They could have bought that pineapple, just a few dollars. He would have had the opportunity to use a knife, in the kitchen, and learn a bit about the way of the pineapple – the spiky bits, the woody bits, the green top, the smell and flavor that does NOT exist with canned fruit. She could then have drilled home for him how to clean up afterwards (an extremely important skill that has to be taught). None of those lessons and experiences happened.

He learned one huge lesson: its OK to be virulently anti-fresh pineapple (fruit, food, what have you).

I hope that his personal lesson is to buy it later and do it for himself.

How many of us do not “like to cook” because there was some sort of gatekeeper who made the kitchen out of bounds or unpleasant? Eating is about as basic as you can get, to feel like cooking and creating in the kitchen is the domain of “others” is unfortunate.

I feel very strongly that we are all born with artistic talent as well as a proclivity towards cooking. Both of these interests are discouraged in so many of us. It is hard to overcome that.

It was just a shock to see this dynamic overtly displayed on an ordinary day in an ordinary grocery store.