The Hidden Prices We Pay For Cheap and Delicious Foods

Getting a quick bite in Asia is never this convenient; 24 hours eating places are not uncommon nowadays, not to mention the evening vibrant night market full of cooked foods stalls, providing full range of variety of cheap and delicious foods and drinks,  parading themselves in-front of you to feast like there is no tomorrow. Juicy chicken chops, crispy sausage stick, appealing shiny looking fried noodles, colorful and tasty drinks, the list goes on forever for local delicacies.

We are in an era of eating out almost everyday due to our long working hours and commuting times and as a result most of the culinary skills  had been lost or simply forgotten. Packing your own simple lunch to work or school is no longer in style as it isn’t as economical and convenient as compare to eating out at one of those eatery outlets all within 1km radius. Find the place, Fill your stomach and Forget about it become a standard process. There are couple of reasons why our lifestyle had changed without we actually noticing it and its potential complication to our quality of life should be explored as well to evaluate are we paying beyond the actual price tags in other forms.

First key reason is outsourcing, we get others to prepare the foods as its more economical and hassles free due to the demanding career workloads of both the husband and wife. Remembered the gourmet home cooked foods your mother serve when you’re back from school and the heart warming lunch she carefully prepared and pack for you in the morning? those days are long gone. We tend to classify certain traditional household chores as lower grade and increasing number of household works had to be aided with family helpers especially for the younger parents who themselves was brought up by the helpful household maids and in doing so we voluntary giving up the primary care taking roles such as preserving reasonable culinary skills by preparing high quality meals for the family members.

The next reason is the cost, we expect foods to behave like consumer electronics, higher performance with lower price going forward. Foods and drinks need inflationary raw materials, like rice, flour, meat, oils and seasoning, they cant be mass produced in a controlled environment like electronics. The main reasons cooked food retails price remains low was mainly due to innovative cost cutting measures. Minority resorted to heavy MSG addictive and some even resorted to low grade cooking oils, it was reported in China 10% of the food operators used cancerous causing drainage recycled cooking oils to reduce cost. Food safety issue was escalated to the peak when harmful industrial plastic processing chemical was used replacing the higher cost palm oil based products in drinks and even coughing syrup in Taiwan. The bottom line is quality, delicious and healthy food actually carries higher price tag with genuine raw materials and uncompromising ways of preparing them.

The last but not least culprit was consumer behavior modeling in our eating habits by the big profit driven fast food processing companies, appealing, colorful and low price meals are advertised through the traditional and new media channels for decades. A new army of parents themselves were brought up on these fast foods and integrate into their default eating culture, influencing the same lifestyle to their children. Most had no clues how to prepare a healthy decent meals for themselves and their love one. The push and pull factors working with each others so effectively we willingly gave up one of the most important line of defense of the household: genuine delicious healthy home cooked foods.

The price we are paying are a lot higher than the seemingly affordable price for the daily cheap and delicious foods in the forms of health, family unity and effective culinary skills. We took too much additives, oils and carbohydrate compromising our overall health well being with expanding waist lines on the rise. We lost the opportunity to dine with every family members on the dining table, sharing stories and thoughts and in the progress strengthening the bonds that will held for many years to come.  I remembered my mother magical hands in producing a simple, delicious and satisfying meal within 10 minutes in her jealously guarded fully functional kitchen when I came back from school hungry and tired. There are always something tasty left over in the fridge when hunger strikes in the middle of the night. These culinary and creative skills are hard to come by for modern young hardworking working mother nowadays not entirely the faults of their own as they didn’t had the opportunities to pick up the skill-sets from their mothers as hardly any cooking was done at home during their upbringing years.

In summary, we must make the decision to regain our positions, insist on high quality outside foods even if it cost more, pick up some cooking tricks and use it (practice do make perfect), insist of proper meals time for family, banned the electronic gadgets on the dining table, pack lunch or breakfast for the school going children, patronizing  fast food outlets only when it’s really needed. Our child rearing-pattern had shifted over times sometimes not necessary for the better and its our responsibility to safeguard the right way as the cheapest and cost economical  way isn’t always the best way and the price we pay may be a lots more than we ever realized.

Uncle Garfield Enjoys His Coffee At Charlie Brown Cafe Singapore


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