Saturday, June 18, 2011

What side are you on?

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you have already discovered the latest blow in my culinary world.

Kraft owns the patent to Provel cheese. I realize that none of you, except maybe Bradshaw, know what this is. It is a blend of white cheddar, swiss, and provolone cheese. It is found on the St. Louis Bread Company (now known as Panera, I refuse to give in) menu as well as my all time favorite pizza ever...Imo's. It has the melting capability of Velveeta (gag, gross) and the tangy flavor of cheddar. I often bring it home from St. Louis, because you can buy it at the grocery store there. Or order it online for the same price as, oh, buying a car. 

I hate Kraft as a corporation for many reasons which I am sure I have spouted off here about. If not, well, be glad I just saved that as a draft and didn't share. Because the hatred runs deep, my friends. I stopped eating my favorite pickles (I miss you!) because they were a Kraft product. Not to mention how much the boy misses their boxed mac and cheese. 

I also feel this way about most mainstream chicken and pork manufacturers. But, this post is about cheese. My favorite cheese. A cheese I am not willing to give up, but that Kraft has bought the patent to. So, buying and eating said cheese is supporting a corporation that stands for everything that I believe to be wrong with the food system in this country. It's not like I can buy it everyday, it is not sold in Ohio. But, isn't just one purchase, one dollar towards that company going against everything I stand for? Isn't it the same thing when I get McDonalds on a road trip or pick up Smithyfield bacon because it is the only thick cut brand the grocery store has left?

I spend 40 plus hours a week supporting locally sourced, organic farmers. I cook with their products and I do my very very best to buy local meats and produce at home. But, it's hard. And it's expensive. And sometimes, the results are sub par. Let's be honest, Velveeta makes a good cheese dip and it is easy as shit to melt. The alternative is a Bechamel sauce, turned into a cheese sauce to the tune of an hour or so of your time. Most people are going to buy a can of rotel and a block of Velveeta and call it a day. 

It's more cost effective to buy the bacon that is on sale. Or the chicken or the pork chops or whatever it is you are buying. It is so much easier to support the huge corporations with livestock farms and genetically modified vegetables. It is so much cheaper too.

Where do you draw the line? Where do you say, I won't eat this? I won't support this company? I won't be a part of this?

Where do you draw the moral line and how often do you cross it for convenience and/or love of food?

I cross it more than I wish. I eat veal (I AM A TERRIBLE PERSON, I KNOW) and not just free range veal. Put you in a box and torture you veal. I buy produce from Mexico and Chile and Argentina and other countries that make my carbon foot print five gazillion. I forget my cloth bags at the grocery store all the time and opt for plastic. Which we reuse to pick up dog, you know, that is better for the landfill. I eat fast food late at night when I am on my way home from work and so hungry I am contemplating eating the passenger seat in my car. I eat at restaurants that are not locally sourced, that are not organic, that could give two shits about any of that. I drink domestic beer and wine, not all craft beers and local wines. 

But, I also shop at a local butcher with local meat. In the summer, I drive the 5 miles from my house to the weird barn farmers stand to buy produce. Often, having to go to the grocery store to supplement, but still. I use environmentally and pet friendly cleaning products. I feed my fucking animals holistic food, you guys. I support Local Eats, an organization that supports sourcing food locally. I support Dine Originals, an organization that supports locally owned restaurants.

I just always feel like there is one more thing I could be doing, one more way I could be supportive. Because, you guys, I am going to eat Provel cheese. It's going to happen. And I am going to feel ashamed until that delicious cheese hits my mouth and then...heaven.

There is a local blogger who lives the life that I want to live. She is a stay at home mom, sort of. More like a stay at home local food advocate. She teaches courses on charcuterie and slaughters her own pigs. She has chickens! In the city! 

I hope to be there one day, to be able to live this lifestyle completely. Until then, convenience and money and selfish love for ingredients seems to keep getting in the way.


Josey said...

I've thought about this often. A married set of our closest friends own a ranch outside of town and do free range chickens, grass finished beef, etc ( we try to get most of our meat from them, but honestly, I'm so awful about sticking to Farmer's Market produce, etc. It's just so damn expensive, and we do NOT have the money.

What a sad day for provel. My mother-in-law seriously brings back 25# minimum when she drives to STL. :)

Bradshaw said...

Omg, you are going to hate me for what I am about to say to you.

I don't like Provel. Or Imo's.

Can we still be friends?

Also, your indignant facebook post made me laugh out loud.

Erratic said...

Josey - I know! It is so frustrating. I am good with meat, but everything else...not so much.

Bradshaw - I already knew about Imo's and have found it in my heart to forgive you...but if you tell me you don't like toasted ravioli, it's over. :)