We are far from health food fanatics. We are not averse to using heavy creams and cheeses in our dishes, as you will see with many of our recipes. That being said, there are certain things we stay away from, but more so because we don't enjoy them. As an example, we don't eat at McDonalds, Wendy's, Taco Bell or any of the other fast food places and we seldom eat at the family restaurants such as; Outback, Chilies, Olive Garden or LongHorn, although we will admit that breakfast at a Cracker Barrel or a bowl of the clam chowder at Red Lobster are very hard to beat!
We don't eat any of the prepackaged frozen entrées, side dishes or complete dinners that fill the freezers at every grocery store. They may be convenient but we can cook better, tastier and healthier, than any of them. We try not to purchase any products that contain MSG (monosodium glutamate), Earl has a bad reaction to it and we try to stay away from products with high levels of corn fructose.
We buy our groceries at a major chain grocery store, they also have an excellent in-store bakery as well as an in-depth selection of locally manufactured specialty breads. We do our best to purchase breads that are made from whole of sprouted grain, and we definitely stay away from any GMO products. We buy our meat from a local butcher, our fish from a fish monger, cheeses from a cheese shop and fresh produce from the farmers markets during spring, summer and fall. When they are closed for the winter we frequent a specialty indoor produce market.
We don't buy organic produce or other products unless they actually look and/or smell better than the nonorganic. Earl is very skeptical about foreign and even local produce that claims to be
We frequent a local butcher. We found out that meat, be it chicken, pork, beef or lamb, that is raised on small farms, where the animals are allowed to free range and eat naturally, not force fed and are not pumped full of antibiotics, tastes and smells far better than the meat products sold in grocery stores.
Our fish monger, because we shop there weekly, tells us what fish is fresh and what fish is wild. We do not knowingly buy or eat GM or farmed fish.
And while Wisconsin has a great cheese industry, nothing compares to a French Gruyere, an Italian Parmesan Romano or a Canadian or British Cheddar. We also get our butter, sour cream and crème fraîche, all produced at a small local farm, from a local family owned cheese shop. Since we have been doing business with this cheese shop we have never purchased a cheese without being offered a small sample to taste.