Top Ten inconvenience foods

A chicken roasting in the oven. A pot of stock simmering for hours. A brioche dough beaten so long that the sturdiest KitchenAid threatens to melt.

Slow food is a beautiful thing.


But some foods are especially challenging, even for people who pride themselves on snubbing convenience foods, because they are difficult to find, prepare or eat.

Some of these foods are still worth the effort. Others, not so much.

Which brings us to this week's list: Top Ten inconvenience foods

No. 1: Lunch Punch sandwich cutters

These little sandwich cutters are cute as a kindergartener, but can you make and assemble an edible puzzle before the school bus arrives?

No. 2: Crab, lobster, black walnuts and other delicacies that have to be pried out of small crevices

Worth the effort for the crustaceans, but I'm not working that hard for nuts.

No. 3: Grapefruit

Ruby Reds would be the perfect workplace snack if my keyboard didn't get so sticky.

No. 4: Pomegranates

Another fruit I eat only at home.

No. 5: Pick-your-own anything

Charming family outing or biggest free-labor scam since Tom Sawyer had that fence to whitewash? I'm still not sure.


No question: Waste of a weekend. Several weekends. Don't try this at home.

I haven't attempted this yet. I just want to. And yes, I pretend to learn from other overly ambitious kitchen projects. (See: Homemade mozzarella.) But i never do. Besides, I know I can do this one. I'm sure of it.

No. 8: Natural food

I'm not even talking organic or local food. I'm talking about what really should just be called "food": edible items free of fake colorings, fake flavorings, trans fats or high-fructose corn syrup. Even with store-brand organics and "natural food" aisles in conventional supermarkets, you still have to whip out the bifocals and read the list of ingredients to make sure that stuff doesn't sneak into your cart. The big "no trans fats" on the front of the package? Doesn't really mean no trans fats. It means no trans fats per puny serving.  And "whole wheat" doesn't mean 100 percent whole wheat. It means some whole wheat -- even in Whole Foods.

No. 9: Backyard eggs

I love the idea of having my own flock. I also love not having to tend chickens as I'm racing out the door with two kids in the morning.

No. 10: Local grass-fed beef

I've driven all the way to Buckeystown from Southwest Baltimore for hamburger meat. I'm not sure that did much for my carbon footprint. And as much as I hate to admit it, I'm not sure I liked the flavor. Having read lots of scary stuff about factory-farmed ground beef, I want to enjoy the grass-fed stuff. Sometimes I do. And sometimes I think it tastes like liver. Is it just me?

Photo by Lunch Punch