Thursday, July 18, 2013
Dining in the Zone
Nutrition tends to be an all or nothing affair. Sometimes you have nothing but vegetables, and others you eat the fattiest parts of poorly butchered animals because that is all you caught.
Fried foods are common at times because the thermal retention makes it easy to cook a lot of food at once (hence why most fast food restaurants served potato fries) provided you can get the oil. Of course, how many of us know about pressing oil? I know virgin olive oil is more expensive than the kind that slept around, but I don't know how much pressure you'd use, and since the bottle said "cold pressed" I presume there is a hot process. Also, apparently canola oil comes from rape-seed. Bottles of "Rape Oil" were apparently very difficult to market and need some explaining on the grocer's shelves. Oh yeah, you can't forget making the stuff into bio-diesel when you're done with it.
Baking is popular since "put it into the oven and walk away for three hours" lets you spend time doing things other than cooking. Going in the opposite direction - quick cooking via stir-fry is another way to minimize time invested. Low simmering soup is good, but you generally want a bit more calorie density - and less reliance on water is better since you can't always be too sure about quality. Boiling removes living things well enough - but industrial run off from no longer maintained factories and buildings is a bit more problematic.
There are fairly few microwaves in the zone, and we miss them. Mind you, actual ovens are stupidly common - they survived The Event's EMP with great frequency. No surprise really - they're literally built as Faraday cages to maintain the radio-waves from the magnetron so that it doesn't microwave the user or interfere with other consumer products in the kitchen. The horridly rare ubiquitous technology is cell-phones, because no one thought to store them in the microwave for some silly reason. Microwaves are to rare because they have no trade value and are too difficult to carry. It is hard to pack them around, since they have a large minimum size and cant be stacked like pans. We must also consider that it takes a pretty large amount of electricity to run an oven, which in turn has generator, battery, and fuel costs.
Its kind of a 50-50 shot as to if you eat alone or with others. Meal times have always been a social occasion and a lot of cooking is done communally to conserve fuel and limit the number of things to be washed (water clean enough to wash in being somewhat rare). Conversely, its one of the few times you're not at work, and thus not required to be around people, so declining community is not uncommon either.