With a Microwave and a Knife

America, I am impressed. I’m doing research in Simi Valley, California this week, which is a good place to be impressed by America it turns out, and not just because of landscapes like this:

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Also because of Target. There is not a lot to do or eat in Simi Valley. This isn’t the worst thing since I spent last week gorging myself on Mexican food, ice blendeds, and over-priced salads (OK Los Angeles, you do have your charms).

My hotel room here came fully equipped with a refrigerator and a microwave. So, my first night here, envisioning a week of getting things done while holed up in my hotel room with some vegetables, I headed out to try and get some food and maybe a knife. First, stop Target, where I thought I would get the knife, and then move on to a grocery store to pick up food. Then, I got lost in Target’s grocery aisle and never made it to another store.

Here’s the thing. I left the store with: two bowls of microwavable brown rice, a bag of microwavable beluga lentils, self-steaming microwavable bags of sugar snap peas and broccoli, 4 avocados, 2 tiny packets of nut butter (one peanut, one almond), and a $1 bottle of rice vinegar. I also grabbed some salt and pepper packets from the hotel cafe. Now, I know the amount of packaging involved in all of these purchases is outrageous. And, I’m sure that microwaving everything in plastic on a regular basis is a good way to get some horrible disease. I’m usually a bulk bin shopper; I usually cook my own food because I enjoy the process and have time to do it. All of those disclaimers aside, it is crazy how well you can eat with a microwave and a knife these days.

For dinner last night I had a bowl of brown rice and lentils topped with barely steamed broccoli, fresh avocado (again, fine California, you win), and an “almond dressing” I made by pouring some rice vinegar into a packet of almond butter and shaking. All of it was from Target. P1020479

I don’t know what this says about food politics and the best ways to improve our diets and our waist lines. It still takes time and energy to figure out how to put this stuff together. Microwavable broccoli might be easy to make well, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier to convince a kid to eat. So, fine, food politics not solved. But, people, microwavable beluga lentils! I am impressed.

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