The Cost of Convenience

Janice Mansfield

As someone who works with food everyday, I am always intrigued to see what new food products emerge on the market. Recently there seems to be a spate of foods in various states of preparation. The commercials for each (in true infomercial fashion), show a harried working mother, worrying endlessly through her day about how she will endure the terrifying ordeal of peeling/chopping/cooking a nutritious serving of mashed potatoes/broccoli/lasagne for her poor family. And thus, convenience food is borne.

By no means is convenience food a brand new product on the horizon, but it does seem to have exploded in terms of shelf-space at the same rate as our lives become more complicated. As a former recovering economist, and now as someone who works with food daily, I have many questions about the opportunity costs associated with such products, not the least of which is the self-doubt about our own instincts around feeding ourselves that many of these products help perpetuate.

This discussion originally began on social media, prompted by a passing comment about one of these commercials. I think its worth more than an exchange of comments and has multiple repercussions, how about you?

About Janice Mansfield:

Janice Mansfield is the personal chef behind Real Food Made Easy, providing catering services and meal planning and preparation for people with restricted diets, after working 18 years in government as an economist. She also enjoys classic cocktails, and began incorporating cocktails into catered dinners and special events.

In 2009, she began experimenting with bitters, in order to create products she was unable to find in Canada, and found demand from others experiencing the same frustration. Those first bitters experiments have evolved into “House Made” bitters, a line of micro-batch, artisinal bitters, with a distinct culinary edge. “House Made” now produces 8 standard flavours of bitters, with a changing selection of one-time, seasonal flavours, and produces a line of cocktail syrups.

Janice enjoys a well crafted cocktail from time to time, and while not a full-blown barfly, is certainly working hard on being a bon vivant!

2010 IdeaWave