Adventures in the freezer aisle

I’m buried in the depths of an enormous food rut.

I’m buying  almost exactly the same items when shopping every week. It’s like a terrible parody of my own life. Eating the same thing for lunch for days in a row. Every meal should be a pleasure, but I can’t remember the last time I had a memorable meal.

My last memory of frozen fish is of a terrible 20-pack of what was billed as lemon pepper fish – mostly crumb with hardly any fish flesh at all, and hardly recognisable as such. But it turns out Sealord does decent crumbed fish fillets. It comes in super plain packaging so you can hardly distinguish it from the budget brand stuff, but it’s affordable and, most importantly, it’s good. You can check this link right here now for more about the packaging. If you’re in NZ, I definitely recommend the kumara crumb fillets (which, incidentally, I’m pretty sure I was part of the market research taste testing group for yonks ago before it came out). It didn’t take long for people to realize that packaging could be a very lucrative practice. Ethics however was not stressed as it is in the present industry. The packaging revolution as we know it came about in the late nineteenth century. This revolution involved these innovations, ideas, and technology which came together to define and sell products in the disreputable world of patent medicine. This packaging revolution was primarily started in the United States during the last quarter of the 19th century. Brands such as Colgate and Pears started in the toiletry business around 1800 so they were almost 200 years ahead of the industry (The Total Package, ??).. Along with the advances in packaging machinery came the invention of the railroads. The railways allowed large goods to be shipped rapidly with little expense. People on the east coast could receive goods produced on the west coast and vice versa. This was extremely good for the economy. The dramatic change underwent by society from subsistence living to wage earning jobs allowed little time for people to make things such as food and clothing for themselves. This move transformed necessities into consumables. These consumables were used at a much faster pace while productive new machinery and systems were constantly being built and improved upon. Not until this time was packaging considered and important industry on its own. For example in 1760 the manufacturers of Singleton’s Eye Ointment a 163 year old brand, sued several parties in London who counterfeited the printed directions and copied the distinctive ceramic container (The Total Package, 50). Protecting trade dress was practiced as early as 1623 however enforcing such patents was another story. By 1857 there were 1500 different patent medicines sold in the United States, however they weren’t true patents. In 1870 the library of congress began trademark registration (The Total Package, 50). Names, logotypes, and distinctive packaging were not protected prior to this date. All these events helped the indirect growth of packaging as an industry.

The only vaguely interesting thing happening in my kitchen at the moment comes from the freezer department. I know – the devil, you say! I’ve more or less stopped buying frozen foods – chips, patties, vile combinations of pre cut veggies. But since getting back from the South Island I’ve wanted to eat more fish, and on a whim the day we got back, I wandered over to the frozen fish department.

I’ve been steering clear of the freezer department for the longest time, but maybe it’s worth a second look every once in a while.

What, if anything, do you buy frozen? How can I get motivated to tackle the recipes I’ve got piled up in my bookmarks folder?

13 thoughts on “Adventures in the freezer aisle

  • Reply Jane October 19, 2012 at 02:56

    I buy frozen fish (mostly salmon and small white fish, unless there is a sale). I feel like it gives me a better opportunity to get responsibly fished, affordable seafood without worrying about spoilage. I also get frozen vegetables and berries, since that’s the only way I can afford organic (and again, the only way I can use the food before it spoils).

  • Reply plantingourpennies October 19, 2012 at 12:17

    Somehow I doubt there is a Trader Joes in NZ, but should you come to the US, take a stroll down their freezer aisle and be amazed at all the wondrous creations made for carnivores, herbivores, and sugar-vores. Amazing.

  • Reply makinthebacon$ October 19, 2012 at 13:33

    The last time I had a memorable meal was when my bf took me out for dinner the beginning of last month for my bday. I, too, have been eating the same thing for days in a row, just because I didn’t want to waste food or buy food all the time. The only thing I tend to buy frozen now is pizza. 🙂 I used to buy frozen dinners ALL the time when I was a student.

  • Reply Amanda Osborn (@aosborn08) October 19, 2012 at 15:39

    I very rarely, if ever, purchase anything from the frozen foods aisle. I’m not really sure why, but I just never have. The one glaring exception is my penchant to buy frozen pierogis. They’re a quick, easy dinner if I cook ’em up with some pasta sauce and cheese, along with a side of greens!

    • Reply Paul November 17, 2012 at 20:50

      Mmm Pierogi, with onions and bacon…

  • Reply Leigh October 19, 2012 at 19:05

    I buy chicken frozen, as well as some frozen Chinese food dishes that I then add to rice.

    I don’t know how to motivate myself to try new recipes, so I have no idea how I would ever motivate someone on the other side of the world to try their recipes!

  • Reply mmarinaa October 19, 2012 at 20:30

    I buy frozen fruits and vegetables. At the moment I am particularly fond of frozen edemame. I especially enjoy the fact that I’ve had them sporadically throughout the month, rather than having to eat them all in one week to prevent spoilage. And frozen berries are a million times cheaper than fresh, so that’s how I get those antioxidants. Frozen berries, yogurt, granola and a splash of honey is a staple breakfast for me.

    My favorite way to get new food ideas is foodgawker.com. I don’t necessarily make the recipes that I see there, but sometimes they remind me of something else that I wanted to try. It’s a gateway to food ideas.

  • Reply TB at BlueCollarWorkman October 20, 2012 at 01:34

    I don’t really do the grocery shopping, my wife does. But I can say this, when you mentioend fish and frozen food, the first thing I thought of was fish sticks. I still dont’ know what kind of fish are in those, or if any fish actually is at all, but my mom woudl get my sister and me fish sticks all the time when we were kids!

  • Reply Revanche October 20, 2012 at 10:34

    I buy chicken, steam frozen veggies and mac and cheese. Brown rice, too, actually, from Trader Joe’s. We love brown rice and it’s a holdover from when we were both working out of the house and wanted to be able to have our rice but not take an hour to cook every night. And the occasional frozen Kashi meal. Meals are for when I’m really deuced to cook.

    I try new recipes when I get that feeling you have that I’ve been eating too many of the same things and I get bored. Then I just pick one or two things to try making that only require one or two new ingredients.

  • Reply Funny about Money October 20, 2012 at 15:16

    My favorite way to jump-start the cooking creativity is to invite friends over for dinner. Otherwise, I tend to follow the path of least resistance.

  • Reply Janine October 22, 2012 at 07:11

    I find making a weekly meal plan helps me stay motivated to cook what I said I was going to. I also make sure that I am trying 1 new recipe every week. I find one new recipe isn’t too over whelming, but it allows me to still try new stuff!

  • Reply The Asian Pear October 24, 2012 at 05:03

    I guess my question to you regarding your food rut is what is stopping you from trying a new recipe or making a recipe you haven’t made in awhile? Are you tired? Busy? Stressed? All the recipes seem too difficult? Do you just DISLIKE cooking but want to try new things? Once you know why you can set up a strategy to get you excited.

    We buy frozen vegetables (like corn, edamame and peas) sometimes. We also buy meat to freeze. Sometimes seafood depending on what it is. Usually, we buy fresh though.

    • Reply eemusings October 24, 2012 at 09:04

      Jeepers, tough questions!

      OK, honesty time. I’ve had a string of cooking and baking fails, which threw me off. And also led to a realisation that as much as I love eating, I actually don’t like cooking all that much and I just am not all that good at it – my 200% efforts still don’t come close to T’s 50 % efforts!

      Busy, yeah. Difficult – some, but there are some easy ones in my folders I just haven’t felt motivated enough to get off my ass and make.

      That said, I managed to make a decent run of shortbread last week and a good dinner last night, so at least the confidence factor is looking up.

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