I like real food

Periodically I like to step back a bit and take a look at why this site exists, and what it's about. The current masthead says it's about Japanese cooking (especially for people who do not live in Japan or a region with easy access to Japanese ingredients), expat food issues in general, and healthy cooking.

But what I'm really about when it comes to food is real food, and that's what this site is about. I don't claim to be a purist who never lets an artificial food pass my lips - I do live in the real world. But in general, fake food just does not taste right to me.

I like real fruits and vegetables. I like meat from animals or birds who lived a happy life when they were alive, and eggs that come from contented hens. I like cheese that has been produced in time tested, traditional ways rather than the kind that differs little from the plastic that's wrapped around them. I prefer fish that swam around freely.

Not just because they are 'healthier' or 'good for the environment' or 'better for trade' or whatever, though these can be - and often are - side benefits. I like real food because it tastes better. I'm selfish that way.

Now I realize that 'real food' does not taste better to everyone. Our tastebuds are conditioned by habits and environment, and a lot of people eat tons of fake food all the time. I used to do that too, especially in my teens and 20s . As I've gotten older though, I've grown away from that. Given a choice between a fresh, ripe peach and peach flavored candy, I'll take the real peach every time.

Real food takes a commitment in terms of priorities. Time is one thing you have to allocate in many cases. Money is too, unfortunately. To me and to my family, these commitments are worthwhile.

Welcome to Just Hungry, where we prefer real food.

(Foodnote: This page has a great essay on 'non-food'. The writer is talking about food in the fitness world, but I think it has wider implications too.)

Filed under:  essays

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This is just about my attitude toward such things. I work under the theory that if I am going to buy something prepackaged, it should because it is impractical or difficult to do myself, not because it's impossible. So I am willing to purchase such things as cheese (the real kind you mentioned, rather than processed; I think anyone who has taste buds and compares something like Roquefort cheese to supposed cheese singles will be converted) and yogurt, soy sauce, certain types of crackers, vegetable broth, and the like. But high protein, low charbohydrate bread? No thank you.

Food shouldn't need to be enhanced with colors and flavors. It should be just fine on its own, like it has been for years.

Here here...sometimes age has nothing to do with it.Am in my 20's and I choose real food over man made junk.Why cause damage to oneself?

In the long run you save meds money and moving about doing things I love like traveling takes precedence over hot pockets.

Amen to that!

That's one thing that attracted me to your blog, Maki, the realness of everything. I did find it through searching for onigiri, true, but the "salty bread, salty tears" entry hooked me for sure - because I totally, totally understood what you were saying.

Denny you are way ahead of the game...I sure did some damage to my body in my 20s :P

Thanks.....self-realization like what Maki had/has is the best motivator. For health ...do or don't...there is no try but at the same time if you don't try....ya never know.

And am sure you have reversed whatever damage done:)

Good day to everyone:)

I agree with everything you've said here and would add "locally sourced" as another of my food priorities. With two small children, I admit to occasionally dining in chain restaurants because it's easier. But it never tastes better than pure, simple, local food prepared by someone who shares my food priorities.

In my ideal world, I'd have this same opinion, but I know I don't always. If you asked me the same question: would I like a peach or peach candy? I would definitely say the peach BUT I know that sometimes I would prefer McDonalds to certain homecooked meals. So what does that say? :) Real food is healthier though of course and I try my best to eat real food more often than not for the sake of health.

My grandfather used to say that food is less expensive then medicines. He and my grandmother lived a long and very healthy life to confirm this idea, Denny, so I think you're on the right track. I believe that following a japanese diet, although in a farm in Brazil, might have contributed to that too. My challenge is to try to do the same for myself, but living in a big city, with a busy schedule.

Thank you for this wonderful blog, Maki. It's truly delightful to read and very much inspiring!

I agree totally with your feelings towards real food.

But it's interesting to think for a moment about those times when we are invited to share in others' appreciation of 'real food' but reject their taste - like roasted dog meat in Vietnam, or lovingly cultivated horse meat in Northern Italy.

In other words, real is one thing. Morality and animal association is another.

I think we'd be foolish to believe that our ideas of 'real' are somehow pure and untouched by the cultural association we attach to animals, our upbringing, country of origin and the prejudices that flow from this.

I've touched on this at http://tinyurl.com/33vfz5