Townie guide to... going green at the grocer

TOWNIE GUIDE TO... going green at the grocer

Chavis A. Lickvar, student, puppies-in-costume fetishist, eco-foodie

My diet consists of frozen pizzas, refried Hot Pockets, and gobs of heavily processed animal flesh--you think you're better than me or something?

"Wait-'refried' Hot Pockets? I'll have to try those. I don't have any beef with frozen pizzas and refried Hot Pockets, but let's face it-it's much more satisfying to take raw, fresh ingredients and create something out of them with your own two hands. I do have a few thoughts when it comes to the meat industry. There was a time-that time is now for many people on the globe, but let's talk about the good ol' U.S. of A.-when meat was a luxury item, and it was priced accordingly. Everyone is aware of the havoc that confined animal feed lots wreak on the animals themselves and the environment. This is all in the name of cheap meat. I'm thinking that the only solution to this problem is social change. I feel like we-myself included-take meat for granted, but how can we not when hamburgers and chicken sandwiches cost only 99 cents? Like I said, I think the only solution is through social change, and that starts with individuals putting more thought into what food they buy. On the flip side, and there's always a flip side, I feel really uncomfortable telling someone who is struggling financially not to buy cheap meat. These discussions are what make food policy and its relationship with environmental policy so interesting."

I burn down local, family owned farms for sport and think the environment was too big for its britches and had it coming...what incentive, then, do I have to shop local and organic?

"I value the opinions of all people and their freedom to express those opinions.

That being said, here's why you are an asshole-arson endangers lives and is just kind of a shitty thing to do. I feel like talking about the benefits of buying local and organic is just preaching to the choir at this point. The people who have the money to shop at The Merc probably already do. Let's put local food up against organic food and see what happens. With Wal-Mart switching to all organic produce and what not, this spawns a real debate. The people who have fought hard for rigorous organic standards are concerned that if a corporation like Wal-Mart starts investing heavily in organic foods, this will give them too much clout in the decision-making process and soon we'll start seeing those standards loosening. I think that's a strong possibility. If I had to pledge my allegiance to one food source it would be local food. This is because locally grown food tends to be organic or close to organic, because the need for industrial-strength fertilizers and pesticides just isn't there. When it comes to the local food movement, however, I think people feel they either need to commit to all or nothing, and in my opinion, this is not the case. When it comes to things that are Kansas grown, like wheat, corn, meat, and seasonal produce, why not buy local? As an avid cook, however, I fully take advantage of foods and seasoning from around the world. This might make me a hypocrite, but nobody's perfect."

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What's your favorite thing to go grocery shopping for? Which foods do you get off on? And I don't mean that in a weird, Japanese porn sort of way...

"Produce, bread, meats and seafood are my favorite things to shop for. I love to shop seasonally because it forces me to be creative and vary my diet. I think I love shopping for breads and produce because there are just so many possibilities, and if done correctly, you can get a lot for your money. Meat and seafood is an investment, so if I'm buying it, it's usually because I already have a meal in mind, and what's not exciting about that?"

Where are the best places to go grocery shopping in Lawrence?

"I'm not a one-stop shopper, so here we go-I go to The Merc to buy things that only they offer and that I love, like peanut butter and bulk goods, and I love Checkers because they have a phenomenal produce and ethnic selection. The Oriental Market is good when they have a shipment come in, and Dirty Dillons never lets me down in those, 'Oh shit, I need...' moments."

Any tricks for finding the best food, like shaking melons or sniffing tuna? Again, not in a Japanese porn kind of way...

"The best advice I can give someone-whether they're broke, trying to lose weight or experiencing grocery shopping anxiety-is to always make a list and stick to it, and while in the store follow the perimeters. All of your necessities are pushed up against the walls, so just stay the hell away from the aisles! That way you avoid unnecessary processing and packaging which save a surprising amount of money, and this is where your freshest foods are, which are always the best foods."

What's your favorite dish to cook, and what's the best way to prepare ingredients for it?

"Anything that involves peeling tomatoes and squeezing out the seeds. I'm a peeler and a picker. If you relish getting a sunburn and ripping off flaking skin, you know exactly what I mean-too personal? Anyway, peeling tomatoes allows me to exploit this quirk without causing bodily harm. I did recently buy an immersion blender, so right now I think the best way to assemble tomatoes is to puree the hell out of them."

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