Arts and Entertainment

In Good Taste: In food, fast doesn't always mean healthy

Fast food is quick, easy and tastes really good to many people, however I was shocked to read this: According to the 2006 film “Fast Food Nation,” “Americans now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos and recorded music — combined.”

Have you seen the price of tuition lately?

Fast food, per Merriam Webster, refers to food “designed for ready ... consumption and with little consideration given to quality or significance.” There are many fast options that are certainly better choices for us, that offer healthier food prepared with more care and consideration, which almost always tastes better.

With so many options available most of the time, what drives us to the low-quality options more often? I believe perceived convenience, price and familiarity steer us to the low-end choices that are hurting our local economy, small farmers and small businesses. I don’t believe it’s more convenient to eat less than delicious food. The price is high when one considers the health problems that many fast food consumers are suffering and the damage that the giant chains are doing to our communities and small agriculture. It’s easy to become familiar with different things and forming a new habit can be really fun.

Recently a woman said she visited farmers markets and local food stores “once in a while to check things out” and did not consider buying food there, because she is more familiar with the large grocery store options. To those like her I say: The farmers at the market and the grocer at the local farm store are happy to talk to you about the foods they offer. They have easy, tasty ways to prepare the food and will refer you to places around town that use their foods so you can see the potential you have to work with. It can be easy to prepare a delicious dish or meal with fresh food, or to patronize a restaurant that values local food sources. If we all make the conscious choice to do this even just one time a week, we are choosing to improve our health, eat delicious food, and help our neighbors succeed.

Last week’s wonderful stretch of sunshine had me wishing for a farmers market. The markets will open in April, but I was missing the lanes of farm stands. I consoled myself by visiting some local farm Web sites and found the Rodstol Lane Farm at Cynthia & Anthony Mora, along with their son Andre, are restoring and improving their 10-acre Port Orchard property with a wonderful vision for their community. I was immediately smitten with their mission, which is expressed on the site: “(They) hope that in time Rodstol Lane Farm will become a destination for blueberry pickers and local producers selling their wares, a gathering place for community members and green-thumbed enthusiasts, and a venue for local musicians and artists. There is a wealth of history here — and more to come. Don’t just think local, celebrate local.”

Monica Downen, along with her husband Mark, owns Monica’s Waterfront Bakery & Cafe in Old Town Silverdale. Reach her at and find her on the Web at

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