Weekend reading

1 September 2017
We have wood sorrel growing in the dappled shade under our outdoor table in the vegetable garden. The leaves add a citric taste to salads.

I have a bee in my bonnet this week. I acknowledge that I'm far removed from today's advertising and I have no clue about many of the new products that are being wheeled out (and don't want to know). Most of the time I just roll my eyes and move on. But I saw an advertisement for roast chicken on TV yesterday and I was stunned.

More than I usually am.

The ad was for chicken that you roast in a PLASTIC bag. And yes, that shocked me and I thought Oh boy, cooking in plastic now. I'm sure someone will tell me it's "special plastic" that won't adulterate the food, I don't believe it. I just know cancer rates are rising and hope that people won't be lured by the convenience of this. But as disturbing as that is, that wasn't my main problem. The selling points of the plastic bag chicken were: No touch, no prep, no mess. You all know that I cook from scratch but I do understand the need for taking shortcuts. Working people need them and cooking food at home with a few shortcuts is much better than buying takeaway. Not everything can be slow and take its own time.

No prep - tick, no mess - tick, but no touch!  Why don't you touch the food you're about to eat? What's the problem with touching food when you cook it? We are already far removed from the origins of a lot of our food, please don't think that you shouldn't touch the food you eat when it's in a raw state. You need to touch food to feel the freshness of it, to make sure the food is safe to eat, to gauge how long to cook it, to add flavour to it and prepare it in the best way possible. The main problem with this product is that it is cooked in a sealed plastic bag so you can't check the chicken or add your own touches before it cooks.

This is an expensive way to buy a chicken for roasting. If I had to buy this chicken because there was nothing else, I would open the bag and check the chicken, possibly add fresh herbs and an onion to the cavity and I would cook it on the tray it's presented on. I would not cook it in the plastic bag.

End of rant.  😐

These are the final three blogs from my blogging workshops. Please visit the ladies and see what they have waiting for you. I'm sure they'd appreciate your support.

The toxic antidote to goodwill
Your online identity is precious. Here’s how to protect it
What to plant in September - in Australia
Spring has arrived — so why do we have seasons?

34 comments

  1. My reaction to the roast chicken commercial was a little different than yours-I burst out laughing!
    I estimate that 95% of the items offered in my local grocery store will never find their way into my shopping cart. About 25 years ago there was a wonderful co-op grocery in my neighborhood that carried only the basic necessities including fresh organic produce. It was bought out by a large chain and now carries a huge number of convenience items. I miss the old store.

    Mimi

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    1. I hear you. I look through the newspaper advertisement at work now/then. And I think "who on earth needs and buys all this crap?" I shop 1) my garden, 2) my CSA and Farmers' Market, 3) the periphery of the store 4) on occasion walk the aisles for ingredients I can't grow/get from CSA.

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  2. Hi Rhonda: It seems that two of the links are the same: they both lead to the Hundreds of Tiny Threads blog. Good articles, though.

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  3. That chicken in a plastic sounds awful! For people in a hurry, you can roast a bird at a much higher temperature pretty fast, relatively. I prefer a lower temp, slower roast, but it can be done. There's always a (better) way!

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  4. Rhonda, I love it when you have a rant :-) I have never seen that ad to be honest. Thanks for the weekend reading and the link to the blogs. I will check them out. Have a lovely 'rant free' weekend with Hanno and Gracie.

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  5. Glad I missed that commercial...I don't understand this disconnect from our food either, Rhonda, perhaps there's an element of wanting to distance consumers so they don't question things, don't get "hands-on" with their food. Heavens above! Thank you for all the lovely links...I can't wait to see these lovely blogs. Have a good weekend. Meg:)

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  6. Wow, I don't think I could bring myself to cook the chicken in the plastic. Aside from all the concerns about chemicals leaching into your food (which I think are valid), I'd need to smell the chicken to make sure it's fresh before we all ate it (I've had it happen before, getting within-date meat home, opening it up, and finding it's spoiled--so disgusting). Touching raw meat, especially chicken, is my least favorite part of cooking, but I just pull up my big-girl pants and do it. And wash my hands and scrub the kitchen afterward. :)

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  7. I haven't seen this ad before either. I don't even buy the hot roasted chickens from the deli and have absolutely no interest in this product either. I feel it is taking that cooking experience away once again too.
    I'm off to enjoy some of your links now.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  8. Thank you Rhonda, I haven't seen the commercial yet, but I can't think of a worse way to cook chicken. Enjoy your weekend.

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  9. It have been quite populair in Holland, a chicken in plastic, I don't need to see that ad. You see them ready " lying" in the shop, with chemical herbs and all
    I absolutely agree, it is awfull

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  10. Yep, I have seen that ad. I have also had friends suggest that the best way of cooking corned silver-side is to cook it in the bag that it comes in. I just nod politely.

    With my last roast chicken I sliced up some cumquats and slipped the slices up under the skin and also added some small pats of butter. Can't do that with a chicken in a bag.

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  11. We have this plastic bag chicken in England too and I think its because people are worried about salmonella. All they need to do is observe good kitchen hygiene and wash their hands etc! No need for plastic bags.

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  12. I absolutely HATE this total disconnect from our food. As things are now so many children don't know where their food comes from, now it's starting to look as though they won't know what food feels like either.

    Only the other day I was talking to someone who knew a person that thought potatoes grew on trees ... she was an adult with children of her own!!

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  13. I remember when I was growing up there was a trend to cook Thanksgiving turkeys in a bag. My aunt was raving about it. She thought is was such a great idea. I think the gravy was in the bag, too. She was from an era that loved the sauce mixes that you bought in envelopes. My mom had four kids, and she was so excited to find canned white sauce. She usually made her own, but sometimes if she was in a hurry, we'd substitute "Aunt Penny's White Sauce". I still remember it. I opened the can for her.

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  14. In a plastic bag because we've all been frightened to death of being poisoned by factory-processed poultry and the need to practically sterilize our homes after bringing that "toxic waste" into our kitchens. Heaven forbid we actually Touch that hazard before cooking it to death. One more reason to find a local, organic or free-range poultry dealer. I had to make do with commercial chicken this year due to finances and I HATE it!! Scrimping and saving to save up the $$ so next year I can order my lovely organic chickens. blessings--

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  15. Just wanted to add I've thoroughly read each of the three new blogs from the ladies who completed your course Rhonda and love each one.
    Kylie

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  16. I haven't seen those yet. I do remember awhile ago when one company began making plastic liners for the crockpot. My friend got so excited...."No mess!!"...and then proceeded to dump the entire crockpot contents onto the counter & floor trying to get the soup out of that bag and into a bowl!! I think she used the rest of those liners to pick up dog poop!!!

    I consider a plain, whole chicken one of the easiest meals to prepare. I wash it, put it in a pan, season it, & into the oven it goes. Voila! Several meals for less than 3 minutes of work. 8 if you count washing the pan. :::shrugs shoulders:::

    I don't get it either.

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  17. I would say this is unbelievable, but I saw an advertisement here in the states a couple of months ago for a pediatric protein shake. The ad was voiced over by a woman, claiming her pediatrician recommended the drink when her son scored a low percentile growth rate compared to other children according to his charts. I could not believe my ears- how irresponsible, not just for the company with the advertising, but for the parents who believe that! It is amazing how little people see the manipulation in the advertising around them. Don't touch the chicken- you might get germs! Feed your child a shake so they will grow! This is why I don't watch television.

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  18. Rhonda, you are out of touch! I can remember plastic bags for roasts from 45 years ago. I was shocked then. Admittedly you had to put the meat in yourself. I wrote a letter of protest to the manufacturer and see it did work if they are just re-appearing now. Like you I am a bit more basic in my food habits. DIY. Cheers

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  19. I buy all my chickens at a market stall in a nearby town - without plastic! And the nice lady there told me not to wash the chicken before cooking it. She said all germs will be killed during the cooking process. But when you wash the chicken, you will spread the germs not only in the sink, but also in the surroundings - much farther than you will be cleaning.
    Btw, plasic bags for cooking have been around here (Germany) for at least 20 years, they are supposed not only to spare you the mess, but also to cook the meat in its own juices. At least you have to put meat and seasoning in yourself.

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    1. Hallo Hilde, I'm from Germany too but live in Australia now. Interesting what you said about not washing the chicken before cooking as I never do that. It always seemed wrong to me to do it but I didn't know why until I read you comment. Now it makes sense! Thank you!

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  20. Oh yes I've seen that ad too and couldn't quite believe it! It is so confusing for consumers these days and we have to fight against the "norm" to eat in a healthy way. That's what makes me angry! Good on you for having a rant, I'm with you!

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  21. There is a brand of bread here in Western Australia that has 'untouched by human hand' in large letters on the packaging- so baffling that they are advertising that fact as if its a positive thing!

    (Long time reader, first time commenter)

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  22. It is the same here in America. Convenience foods that are doubtless convenient, but marginal for health. I was shocked at bagged lettuces and such; already chopped and with the addition of carrot and radish for salads. Sometimes there is even a packet of dressing thrown in! There has been a rash of salmonella, e coli, and shigella outbreaks the last few years. Are people too lazy now to wash a head of lettuce, peel a carrot; etc? It boggles the mind. And we cannot get a decent tomato here in California. How times and changed, and not for the better. What is wrong with touching your own food?

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  23. Hi Rhonda, Thanks for the links to the blogs I will check them out and also for your tips on blogging and the weekend reading links. I haven't seen that ad but it would have horrified me as well. Best wishes, Pauline

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  24. I was glad to "meet" you, Rhonda, and also many of your readers, thanks to the nice mention. How kind. I promise that I am bagging no chickens over here (!!!) but instead consumed at the moment -- this being our almost-fall and peak harvest before cold winter shuts things down outside -- by stocking my three freezers with the year ahead's tomato sauce, vegetable soup, pesto "cubes" and so on, leaving lots of room for 45 quarts of applesauce to come from my big old trees that are almost ready to deliver. Suffice it to say I feel right at home here on your website. M.

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    1. Hello Margaret, welcome. I love your website and I'm really pleased you came over and said hello.

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  25. While on one end lots of people are trying hard to reduce plastic ... on the other end plastic seems to multiply and multiply .... so sad.

    Poor chickens, too. To end up .... wrapped in plastic. Probably never touched by a human hand.

    Good for you to stand up against it!

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  26. :-D I had to laugh about your post Rhonda! I haven't seen the ad as I don't watch TV and no way I would cook anything wrapped in plastic!
    I have to tell you another funny/sad story: Until recently I was member of an off the grid FB group and one of the members started a thread saying she doesn't eat chicken anymore because they're filthy animals after she seen her chicken eat maggots. It thought she was just a stupid single case but heaps of people commented that they can't get themselves to eat chicken after they observed what they eat. But they do eat eggs because "they're protected by she shell". WT*?! I left this group immediately feeling really disgusted. And these are people 'living off the land'.... :-(

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  27. Hi Rhonda,
    I saw the add this week-end and had to laugh,thinking of you ! I knew about plastic bags to cook chicken in, but not the ones where the chicken is already in when buying them.
    First I was speechless, but then 2 thoughts came to my mind.
    1. poor chicken, that are so disrespected to the point of being put into plastic bag to be eaten after a whole life of suffering, and
    2. some people cannot bear to touch chicken to prepare it, but in the end they are ready to SWALLOW such food, put it INTO their bodies! It boggles my mind that we are so manipulated as to think that it is ok to eat something without even knowing if it's fresh or not. Because, let's be honest, who knows how long the chicken have been in the bag, and what chemicals have been sprayed on them to keep them *fresh* longer on the supermarket shelves ?
    Also, I'm with one of the commenters above, when I'm in the shops and thinking "there is absolutely nothing in here for me to buy". It's a bit sad really...

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  28. I too remember chicken cooked in a bag when I was young (50 odd years ago). It was a 'cellophane' type of plastic bag and my mum put the chicken in the bag to keep the oven clean. We all protested as the skin of the chicken did not go brown and crispy. I think she tried the bag thing twice and gave up.
    You can also get fish in a bag and choose the sauce you want and have it put in and the bag sealed at one of the major supermarkets
    Claire in Melbourne

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  29. I find the slow cooker a bonus for chicken. Four hours and its done. Sometimes I put seasoning on it...either way it produces a tender,pull it off the bone meal.

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