I was astonished when I learnt that in the US there was a new product being marketed, something that sounds like having come out of Dr. Frankenstein’s kitchen: The Lipton Instant Mashed Potatoes with Knorr Beef Gravy Mix Kit®. My goodness!
We have gone from fast food to instant meal. What’s next? Do not mistake me, I have nothing against convenience and I like working hard as little as the next one, but I think we will have to draw the line somewhere.
In this time and age we are facing a dilemma never seen before. On one hand, we do not have to make a lot of effort to get our food anymore. We do not have to hunt our food, decapitate chickens or grow our produce; furthermore, cooking has been made easier and faster by a myriad of gadgets and products. On the other hand the western society is fighting a battle against obesity and weight-related illnesses. I am not a MD, I am not a mental-health professional nor am I an anthropologist, but it seems to me that these phenomena are two sides of the same coin.
I am very glad that the majority of the population in our country still doesn’t have access to most of these so called “convenience products”. We still cook the old-fashioned way, that is in a way that involves more than opening cans or re-heating fake food in the microwave. We still utilize fresh herbs, and vegetables to cook our food. In most Dominican households people still boil beans, as opposed to buying them canned (as Aunt Clara regrettably did for the longest time). As a result of this I would venture that in average our arteries are in better condition than that of the inhabitants of the so-called “developed countries”. I knew there must have been some advantage in living in a third- world country.
It will not be long, unfortunately, until we catch up with “civilization”. I dread that moment. Sadly the better sides of development, you know, things like reliable electric service, seems to be slower in finding their way into our country. But make no mistake about it, I will rant incessantly when that happens, some things are better the “old way”.
Call me old-fashioned if you must, I just like being able to spell and pronounce the ingredients in my food. And I like most of the ingredients in my meals to come straight from a plant. The green kind of plant.
Some sort of green salad is a typical component of the Dominican lunch, which makes our lunch a very healthy one when prepared right.
- 2 tomatoes, diced or sliced
- 1/2 lettuce (or 1/4 cabbage chopped finely)
- 1 cucumber, sliced or diced
- 1 bell pepper cut into thin strips
- 1 small onion, cut into thin slices (optional)
- 1 beetroot, boiled and sliced (optional)
- 3 tablespoons of fruit vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Arrange the vegetables on a platter.
- Mix the salt, vinegar and oil in a bottle and shake.
- Serve salad alongside the dressing.
There are few ingredients in our salad that are vital. You are likely to find cabbage, or lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber. Least likely it is to find onions and peppers. And some people serve beets boiled soft and sprinkled with sugar alongside the main salad.
Try this salad with the ingredients you like the most.