When I was a kid, I remember that I enjoyed breakfast sausages.. you know, the kind that took only a few minutes to fry up in a frying pan and that you'd have along side your eggs and toast.
However, something seemed to change as I got older. I didn't like sausage as much any more. I found that more time pass between the mornings that I had it as part of my breakfast. I thought it was me and changes in my tastes. But, I've recently discovered that it wasn't me at all.
For the past six months, or so, my wife and I have been buying all of our meats, vegetables, and preservatives from our local farmers market. We've made a conscious effort to avoid settling for these things found at the grocery and only buy fresh from our local farmers.
Last month we decided to buy breakfast sausage from the beef farmer, from whom we've been buying all of beef. This is meat that is packaged in waxed brown paper... not foam board and plastic wrap. Remember when meat in the grocery store was packed like this all those years ago? I have to tell you, THAT was the kind of breakfast sausage I knew and enjoyed as a kid. It was wonderful! The stuff they call sausage at the grocery store is NOT sausage... at least, not the kind anyone should be eating. "Real" sausage doesn't have little hard bits of white things in it! You know the hard bits I'm talking about. What are those things, anyway? Makes me wonder what else these mass market producers throw into their sausage casings.
It wasn't my tastes that had been changing all of these years, it was the mass marketed garbage that those big chain grocery stores had been selling me that turned me off this food I liked as a kid.
You know, it's not just breakfast sausage that's changed over the years, either. Everything thing that we buy from the farmers market tastes different - tastes better - than what you can find at the grocery store these days. Fish; steak; ground beef; chicken; eggs; they all taste different than what the grocery store equivalents taste like.
Another big difference we've noticed is with chicken. We can tell the difference between grocery store chicken and "real" farm fresh chicken simply by it's density when you bite into it (aside from the taste). Grocery store chicken meat is watery and bland, "real" chicken is dense and full of flavour.
Also, remember when egg yokes were a very deep yellow, and not pale yellow like they are today? Well, guess what? Eggs are still that colour... just not the ones you get at the grocery store. Those grocery store "sweat-shop" eggs also only have as much flavour as the butter or margarine you fry them in.
Now don't those farm-fresh, free run eggs look yummy?
Ever crack open an egg and discover a strange "fishy" smell coming from it? I have, too... with grocery store eggs. Never had that smell coming from the eggs we buy at the farmers market.
Anyway, the point I'd like to make out of all of this is, if you have the opportunity to avoid buying the food you're eating from the local grocery store and actually have local farmers and producers to buy from, I say go for it. You may find that some of the foods you liked as a kid, but can no longer stand, are still out there for you to enjoy. And that's worth getting up for extra early on a Saturday morning. You'll probably live longer, too.