Peter Crosta| Features Editor
Welcome to Boxed Red Wine, the column for students who want to eat healthy, but think they can’t afford the time and money that it requires.
I was not raised to be a health nut. Beef in all its forms, mayonnaise-based dressings for my broccoli, and a sense of entitlement toward dessert took their toll on my self-esteem, productivity and figure.
Luckily, media-induced body-hate and Type 1 diabetes inspired me to begin experimenting with a healthier diet. Now I can pass on my cooking tips to you, the destitute students of City College.
This is not a column of recipes, so much as it is meant to guide you with tips on health, bargains and preparation.
The first trick to saving money is to treat grocery shopping like a treasure hunt. Look for what’s on sale, and figure out how you can use it. If you go to the store with a list of items you need for a recipe, you’ll inevitably find yourself turning tricks outside the store to buy saffron at $30 a gram.
I bought four limes for a dollar the other day, and immediately took off every bit of zest I could. The tangy, floral aroma of the rind serves infinite purposes: in a marinade, in spaghetti sauce or a little extra flavor in a gin rickey.
Better than a bargain though is what you can find for free. I use rosemary in everything I can because there are bushes of it growing wild in a park near my house. So keep an eye out for wild rosemary and sage and fruit and vegetable gardens in people’s front yards. You can find lots of edible, flavorful ingredients on a walk around the block.
Finally, read ingredients: Avoid recipes with ingredients your great-grandmother wouldn’t know how to use. I can’t tell you with much credibility that high-fructose corn syrup really is as bad as its reputation, but according to my diabetitian, synthetic insulin struggles to process it, and you will not find it in anyone’s cupboard. Avoid it and all other modern day frankenfoods (ultra-processed foods). I may not have ever seen empirical data proving it’s bad for us, but if the Inuit people can survive on whale blubber without obesity running wild, what modern change in diet is doing it to us?
Next time I’ll address what is usually considered the main course of a meal: protein.
Until then remember, I don’t actually endorse drinking boxed red wine.