How Do We Measure Quality?

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How do we measure quality? Is it by price? Company prestige? Availability? Experience? Durability? Or a mixture of many comprised together? Some things are just difficult to grasp due to its significant varieties and choices while other things are simply easier to formulate. For cars, high quality is measured for its luxurious smooth ride supplemented by its array of advanced technological features or a simple durable car that’s long lasting, great mileage and solid resale value. For clothes we could consider fabrics or where it’s made. Polyester or cashmere? Commando or hand knitted? And as for food, well they’re simply isn’t a way to label quality like in cars or clothes.

With food, there are multitude of varieties from all over the world.  One simple apple could be worth a penny where in another world could cost 10x that amount.  The difference in how we see quality makes what we call quality.  Despite the cost of transportation and federal administrative jargon, the more we like of a few well rounded rare items, the more we begin to perceive an item as quality than the rest.

Japan is infamously known for their incredibly jaw aching price for fruits, or food for that matter.  But unlike the processing, harvesting, and distributing system we have in the US, Japan is highly concerned of being nit picky.  A great well known example are melons and fruit box (yes box, not basket).  A superior fruit only due to the specific inspections they undergo, the shape, size, taste, how it’s grown, how much on each vine, are meticulously calculated from growth to harvest.  The end product is nothing less than perfect.  Moreover, this procedure is manipulated amongst a whole range of fruits to accommodate the fruit box.  And like inspecting a newborn Spartan, each deformed byproducts are discarded once again reinforcing only perfection.

The way they recognize perfection ends up becoming their quality reassurance.  Price is definitely mind boggling, but it sure does taste great!

Grocery Olive Oil Hardly Extra Virgin

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More like lite! Am I right?  We could hardly tell the age of an evoo at a grocery these days, especially the national brands. Generally the USDA standard to qualify the status of “extra-virgin” is having a value of less than zero.eighty% oleic acidity, which means a zero.seven-nine% still qualifies. This is hardly quality enough to be used raw, which is why it’s exclusively for heating.

When it began

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It was at nice, quiet, serene, home on a 14th floor of a 25 floor apartment building, on the outskirts of a big city, not so much suburbia, but not pollutant enough either. Hear yelling across the room and I must have thought I have done something terrible. Next thing I know, my face was flooded in my own tears, stuck on a seat looking down and ahead reaching over with my mini-fork aimed at ¼ of a tomato. Still in tears, with an ugly face forced out of me, I take a bite out of the tomato chewing deliciously making sure I get every single juice out of the bite size fruit. Savoring the sweetness of the juicy tomato, I almost forgot the reality of my salted face pruning. Then I noticed I just experienced two worlds simultaneously; eating and sadness (also known as reality). But it wasn’t hardly until I decided to study abroad in Italy with the goal to stuff myself with good eats. For obvious reasons eating a certain cuisine from it’s origin is the best place to grasp the authenticity of its flavor[Authenticity, Just a Myth?]. However, on occasion we are ever more surprised by an unexpected dish; a dish we thought we knew.

But back to the story in Italy, one of the foods that surprised me the most was the taste of olive oil. I had the opportunity to take an Italian cuisine class during my term and was even more fortunate to have my instructor growing and harvesting her very own olives. It was first through helping out at her cottage (where the olives were located) did I get a chance at tasting the raw form of such a perfectly harvested young extra virgin olive oil.

Timing my visit perfectly, lunch was near and immediate (tip: always bring a big appetite to an invited eat-in). Everything on the table had had some form of olive oil mixed into it. Not only was the taste very structured and distinct, but as conversation grew I was ever more fascinated by how frequent it was used. [In Italy there’s about 12.35kg per capita in annual consumption in comparison to 0.56kg in the US]

Anything you can think of that uses cooking oil or butter, is stunningly interchangeable with olive oil. Oh yes, cakes, brownies, cookies, muffins, ANYTHING. Well maybe not butter itself (maybe?), but you get the idea.

The raw taste of recent harvest olive oils are undying. Like a taste of raw milk just milked seconds from a cow, it’s incomparable to the watered down products available at your local grocery stores. Initially I thought my host had added some sort of spices to the oil to give off the aromatic and subtlety smoothness that went unbelievably well with just a piece of lightly toasted bruschetta which was further glorified with a dash of salt. Oregano, rosemary, dill, paprika, lemon juice, anything? Nothing. Garlic? Nahda, it was just the plain yet intricate taste derived solely by the oil itself. Still in awe I didn’t let the conversation evolve away from olive oil. Locked on and bombarding with questions after curiosity, a “simple” eat in turned out to be another extra credit brownie points ;D As others’ jaws were gnawing on the food set in front of them, I kept mine closed so I could concentrate all my focus on catching every little bits of details and wavelengths. This was the very first time I gained interest in hopes of bringing a simple product back to the states; better known for its utter excess of choice…..

Authenticity…Just a Myth?

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Although I am attempting to expose the nature of how the term “authenticity” has eluded its meaning, as I am not an anthropologist or a historian nor would I want to give the wrong impression to restauranteurs and self proclaimed foodies, however the word seem to be used very frequently without true recognition.

Many restaurants and cook books can manipulate authenticity, but some products and palates are never the same than its origin. [Maine Lobsters, NE Clam Chowdah, Colorado Rocky Mt. Oysters, Florida Key Lime pie, Chicago Deep Dish (not the frozen crap they recook from that card game), Philly Cheese Steaks, etc]. Five star, four star, $one-hundo plates, yelp fave, magazine raved, they’re all reputable to its own degree. Of course dishing out enough of your hard earned income would result in getting the best product on your plate, but when did eating authentic food become so expensive? Oh that’s right, economy and capitalism. We live in a country of dreams, freedom, and the ability to basically get anything done with the right price or superior creativity (underground scavenging restaurant?). [“Why So #@$&’n Expensive?”].

Why So #@%!’n Expensive?!

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With what happened back in late 2008 this doesn’t seem to be something new. But even to this day after almost 3 years, billions of tax-payers dollars pumped into the economy, buying out companies, merging power houses, and government take overs, we still haven’t been able to live off the good ol’ days prior to ’08. I’m not an economist or a financial forecaster of any kind so I may be a bit rash to assume 3 years is enough. Five, maybe ten years at best.

But you start to wonder, has the economy really effected why we end up paying more and why there’s been multiple price changes each year? I can not and will not answer that. However I have noticed that somethings haven’t changed. Slightly in the circle of business, I wouldn’t dare criticize my competitors or buyers or anyone else that are (potentially) related to my entrepreneurship.

With that said, I’m starting to sense that many outlets have started to use that event as a means to increase prices, under observation of course. Speaking for myself, having to have worked under a salary since right before the economy stepped in a pile of poop, there was nothing noticeably different in the way I spent my money or the products I usually bought. Gradually the prices started to sneak up from behind us…then BAM $four for a tiny “gourmet” burger, smaller in size than In & Out burger and not quite sure what was gourmet about it besides its size, $three drinks (non-alcoholic) and that was excluding the truffle fries for just as much as the burger. This was no hotel restaurant or a 5-star luncheon, it was just another establishment claiming its originality via price (and yelp).