Monday, March 30, 2009

On Eating Food

I just finished pureeing and straining the prunes that I rehydrated for Lucy and I have yeast activating in some water on the counter that will soon become pizza dough and pita bread for meals this week.

I’ve been thinking a whole lot about food lately. I like food. I like planning meals, I like making things, and I really like eating food. And now I want to know where it comes from, how it fuels our bodies and whether or not it’s good enough to serve my family. I am now on the job as Family Nutritionist.

This whole thing started with reading books about the first foods to give baby and their nutritional needs, and I’ve also been consuming (HA!) the Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

I’ve (almost) always made Lucy’s food for her. Some of the baby food books and websites tell me that a vegetarian diet is the healthiest thing. I can’t really bring myself to agree. You can be vegetarian and live on HoHos and Doritos. I think a good diet is about eating good things. And I’ve decided that good things constitute the least amount of processing possible.

SO, I’ve made a decision to be more conscientious about making everything we eat from scratch. It certainly is a commitment. I mean, I have to plan my day/week around making bread during this nap or cutting all the veggies for quick salad preparation when Lucy will happily play in her highchair.

Dinner is the only meal that really matters to me. Well, it’s the only time that I actually get to sit and enjoy eating since it’s usually after the 7pm bedtime of a certain little Meal Interrupter. I can’t even finish half a cup of coffee during the day without having to warm it up in the microwave it three times. Making sure dinner is prepped ahead of time has made it to the top of the Family Nutritionist’s job functions list so it can come together quickly after Lucy goes down and the Bubba and I are both weary from the day.

Grocery shopping has become more interesting too. I find myself looking at labels and learning about where certain fruits and veggies are grown and where animals are raised and slaughtered. Not only that, but with the goal of cutting out many processed foods, I’ve been saving about $20-$40 per week on groceries! Someone needs to give that rock star Budget Manager a pat on the back!

It’s really hard, though, on the days I can barely make it through because I’m dealing with a needy infant, not to feel like a failure when dinner isn’t made. I’m still sorting out all the jobs involved in SAHMing (yes, it is now a verb!) and putting them in order of Priority. I mean, meeting Lucy’s needs is Number One, obviously. But meeting her needs as Comforter or as Playmate or as Nutritionist or as Teacher or as Official Book Reader? And then what about the jobs of Finding the Bubba’s Jeans He Wants to Wear Tomorrow or Keeping the Place Tidy or Making Sure There are Clean Undies in Our Drawers?

But I digress.  This isn’t a big stretch for us. We like being in the kitchen, and we like eating delicious food. It’s just a matter of using my time during the day to its maximum efficiency.  Everything in moderation, right?  So this is not to say that Lays potato chips don’t make their way into the cart (it’s been known to happen on occasion, perhaps as recently as yesterday). But I’m making an effort. I want my family to have healthy life habits and that includes food.

Anyway, wanna know this week’s menu? I know you do!!

Monday: Veggie Pizza (dough and sauce from scratch!)
Tuesday: Whatever the Bubba finds in the fridge ‘cause Lizzie’s going OUT! (Oh, come on, Mom, there's leftover shrimp tacos or quesadilla and salad in there!)
Wednesday: Kofte with homemade pita (recipe from Smitten Kitchen) and couscous salad
Thursday: Chicken enchiladas and Spanish rice
Friday: Quiche Florentine and salad
Saturday: Make your own sushi roll



Carrie said...

You wouldn't notice if 3 additional people started showing up at your house every day around dinner time, right :) I'm impressed with your cooking and it sounds like you're enjoying it too, which is important. I lack the "enjoying being in the kitchen" gene, so feeding the family is the source of much angst for me.

I almost feel guilty about being the reason for you to eat cake tomorrow night, when you've been eating such healthy things! Just almost though. And I'll get over that by then too.

Emily said...

I recommend "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver, too. It was informative and so well-written and I just loved it. Made me think a heck of a lot about food. (If you're not familiar with the book, it's about the decision her family made to eat only what they could grow themselves or buy locally for an entire year.)