Monday, March 16, 2015
I was raised by a mother and grandmother who made everything from scratch. Aside from dried pasta and bisquick (which they thought of as cheating) everything was homemade.
I think this is why I have always been so reluctant to eat any frozen foods, except raviolis, which for some reason were okay in their book.
For the first few years of my kids lives everything was homemade. Then they started going to friends houses and telling me how cool tater tots and chicken nuggets were. This only got worse as they got older. Then they refused to eat homemade mac and cheese, eschewing it for the boxed versions that are bright orange. So I went in search of an alternative that was not in a box.
For some reason I believe, and I don't think I am alone in this belief, that everything I buy at Trader Joe's is somehow better and healthier. I certainly don't feel guilt serving their meatballs to my kids. They are great and much more convenient than making my own. This belief is not based on fact. I have not read all their labels and compared what I buy to other products or homemade. In fact mac and cheese is not healthy no matter if it is homemade or not. That being said their Joe's Diner frozen Mac and cheese is delicious and my kids favorite. I feel a lot better about serving that than the orange powdered boxed mac and cheese.
In fact many of my go to lunch options for my husband and I come from Trader Joe's freezer section. We also have found some convenient weekday dinner options that everyone loves.
Trader Joe's has done a great job marketing themselves and I don't question anything I buy there. I have not tried a product that wasn't great quality even if I didn't love it. As I am writing this I can only think of one thing I bought that I didn't love out of a hundred different items; that is pretty amazing.
As a reluctant convert I am happy that I have been able to find somethings that I am comfortable serving my family that we can prepare quickly as there are many times when we are so rushed I couldn't make dinner from scratch. Since I am not good at preparing ahead having some options that allow me to still get kids to sports, homework done and food on the table is a sanity saver.
I hope my grandmother would understand and even endorse some of my choices. Although, I am sure she would be disappointed that I have jarred sauce for the days I can't make my own. She always made huge batches and froze servings for just such occasions. I did mention that I am not good at planning ahead, right?
In case you are thinking that my grandmother was a homemaker and my comparison is unfair; my grandmother worked at a shoe factory and was a great homemaker who did all the cooking and cleaning so it is not like she wasn't as busy as I am. She was an amazing woman.