Please stay... DO NOT leave because you believe today's post will be about fishing... It is not directly about fishing... Well, it is sort of about fishing... WAIT! Stay! Please!
My Northern Cardinal stayed... Right now, he is sitting on the wire declaring himself, rather shamelessly, for no apparent reason. Like most men, he blusters and brags. He is bragging about his beautiful red feathers just for the joy of bragging! How lovely right? Anyway, back to the matter at hand, fishing...
Today I thought I would offer a guide to fishing. WAIT! Come back! NOT "fishing" fishing, but, FISHING! "Fishing" as in when you go to the garden, grocery store or farmer's market and "fish" for excellent produce and other products. Our older daughter, Alyssa, tells me, 'People need help at the store, Mom. So, HELP them!' Or words to that affect. Remember, it's your money so spend it wisely. It's your food and equipment, so choose wisely, Dear Reader. It's your life, so care for the food and equipment in your life. Always purchase the best quality you can afford, that means grown locally and free from antibiotics, steroids, pesticides and herbicides. Of course this is a utopian ideal but aim high and do the best you can. Know the "dirty" foods and at least purchase those locally and/or organically if you can, better yet, grow them yourself if possible. Ok. Here it goes.
Mary's Kitchen's Guide to Fishing:
Apples and Pears: Buy in season if you can and always purchase firm, unbruised and vibrant fruit. The problem with apples especially, is they are the perfect lunch food and since our kids are either in school now (think the Southwest) or starting soon (think most everywhere else) we cannot necessarily wait until Fall, so, buy local and organic if possible.
Asparagus: Firm, thinner in width, tight head (That's what she said... sorry but I had to go there...)
Baking Isle: Read labels for additives, especially with chocolate and extracts. Know your products.
Bread: Read the label because "whole grain" may be telling you something. Check the day old shelf for deals. Why not?
Canned goods: Read the labels for sugar and sodium content.
Celery: Two words, firm and green.
Cereal: Again, read labels!
Citrus: Heavy and vibrant fruit, free from punctures and blemishes if possible.
Dairy: The best you can afford in a container not overly exposed to light. This is tough with milk since gallons are usually in a clear container. Always check the date. Try to purchase from a smaller company.
Eggs: Just like with all poultry, "organic" is broadly used so know what you are paying for and read the label. Remember, hormones are illegal so look for no antibiotic or steroids and buy from a smaller farm.
Equipment: Purchase the best you can afford and keep an eye skinned at yard sales to score some fun accessories and gadgets. A yard sale is the perfect place to purchase the odd cake pan from someone who paid full price, never used the cake pan, specifically because it was, well, "odd." Snap it up, try that recipe and pass it along or keep it for a year before you pass it on, no judging.
Garlic: No sprouts, very firm, dry outer paper and a tight head.
Grapes: Firm (That's what she said... sorry...)
Greens: Vibrant and not yucky. "Yucky" is the technical term for not brown on the stem or leaves.
Meat and Pork: I try to only purchase organic here, which is why our family rarely eats either. We eat a lot of grass fed, organic ground beef and have pork occasionally. Both are expensive... Purchase the best you can afford.
Melons: Look for a heavy for its size, not too big melon with a large yellow spot and webbing on a round watermelon. The spot means the melon sat on the ground and ripened. Round means female. The webbing equals sweet taste. (If you like, play the bongos too and listen for a high, hollow sound but the spot is the real sign of sweetness.) This is especially the case with watermelons. For cantelopes, smell the stem end and give it a firm, yet gentle, press. It should smell like a flowery cantelope and give a bit. Honeydews should be dull-looking and a pale green color.
Onions: No mold or sprouts and firm.
Potatoes: NO eyes or roots, no blemishes or green spots and firm.
Poultry: Organic verses Natural or Free Range. Broad terms is all I have to say about that...
I search for "antibiotic-free" because hormones are illegal. (It's like buying potato chips that are labeled "gluten-free. Really? Show me the gluten in potato! Just sayin.) Farm-raised is silly too. What, are the chickens raised in a high-rise? Just purchase the best you can afford.
Salt: Know what you are paying for and why. Read about salts, you might be surprised. You know, Dear Reader, I have a mild obsession with and collect salt, but, I am smart and read.
Stocks: Read the labels!
Stone fruits: Smell is key here. If it doesn't smell like a peach, nectarine or plum it will not taste like a peach, nectarine or plum. Give the fruit a gentle squeeze, it should has a bit of give.
Ok, this above list should give you a good start. Please add to it in the comments section.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor