Iced tea is one of the simplest and least expensive beverages to make. I’m getting ready to make some because it is a scorcher outside and I want something different than water which makes up about 70% of my liquid refreshment.
Although I could purchase prepared tea – some brand named Turkey Hill has been running a lot of commescials recently about how good and convenient their bottled tea is – I’ll be making my own. To make ice tea I brew a few tea bags in boiling water, add sugar (no Splenda or other sugar substitutes for me), add cold water, stir, chill or pour over ice cubes. (I dig the sound of the ice crackling as hot liquid and cold cube meet.) It costs pennies to make per serving. Why buy bottled?
Now, you can fancy tea up with mint or garnish with lemon or mix in fruit juice or berries or whatever your pleasure. Some people make solar tea by leaving water and tea bags in a special jar in the sun thereby using no-cost energy. Again, whatever your pleasure, go for it.
This whole tea thing got me to thinking about convenience foods. I mean how lazy can we be? One of my biggest pet-peeves in the “convenience” foods category is the pre-packaged, prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I just don’t believe they taste as good as a freshly-prepared sandwich and I further don’t believe that anyone is that busy that they can’t prepare this simplest of sandwiches themselves…or, better yet, teach their children to prepare it. PB&J is one of the first sandwiches children learn to make on their own giving them an incredible feeling of independence.
That brings me to “luncheables.” What-ables? Why? They are much more expensive than packing, or, once again, having your children pack some crackers, some cheese and some lunch meat in a container and take to school. What about the additional packaging wasted on such single-serve products?
I was buying feta cheese to have on hand for the numerous salads we eat in the summer when I saw pre-crumbled feta cheese packages. I read the ingredient list on the side of the package and saw that there was something (I don’t remember what) added to keep the cheese crumbles separate. The crumbles didn’t look like the crumbles I create when I break off a hunk of feta and crumble over my salad or other dish.
I could go on and on about these types of conveniences and their costs. Another that doesn’t make sense to me is shredded carrots. It takes but a few seconds to shred a carrot or peel lacy strips of it with a peeler.
A few years back, I saw a woman who’d lost a lot of weight. She said that she realized she’d become too lazy to peel an orange or grapefruit; that it was easier to rip open a package of chips. Hearing her say that was like a slap in my face, for I, too, would pass on fruit sometimes because of the perceived effort involved to prepare some to eat.
Many of the things we’ve come to rely on as short-cuts in fact have long-term impact in terms of money, environmental impact, usurping of independence, energy costs, etc. On my short walk this morning (1 hour versus the 2 hour walk yesterday), I realized that unlike exercise machines there is no way to cheat when walking. Your feet will walk every step on however many miles/minutes you walk. The hills do not recede and you cannot lessen the effort. Nor do you have to pay anyone else for the privilege.
So many food commercials keep blasting the message “too busy to cook” and “easy convienience.” We have been sold this concept relentlessly. I don’t think I’m being curmudgeonly with these comments. I just think we have to get a grip and learn/return to doing certain things from beginning to end. Who deserves a special glass of iced tea prepared lovingly by you for you more than…You!?