Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Food For Thought

I've been thinking a lot about food these days. The safety of it. The shopping for it. The growing and harvesting of it. And mostly about the making and eating of it. For years now I think I have put way too much thought into it, to the detriment of my enjoyment of it. (or not)
Is it healthy? Is it local? Is it organic? Is the fish farmed or wild? Do the farmers practice sustainable agriculture?

More recently I have been thinking just how dependant we actually are with regard to the safety of our food. Was it handled correctly? Did some other shopper pick up these frozen chicken breasts and later decide she didn't want them and leave them on a shelf only to be put back by a teenage store employee? Does this restaurant handle food properly? Does the supplier? As you can see, my train of thought is a little crazy. Or is it?
I have been talking with people about it too. And reading blogs as well. I was talking with my elderly neighbor across the street when they came for dinner. She makes bread. I make bread. She wanted to try a piece of it. I told her it is 25% whole wheat and that I added a cup of whole wheat flour to assuage my guilt about making white bread. She went on to tell me that she makes 8 loaves of white bread every other week. Has for nearly 50 years. (her bread is wonderful too I must add.) A few weeks back she decided to make whole wheat bread. Her husband tried it and said, and I quote: "Wasted your time on that one didn't you?" True story.

Then she in all her years' wisdom told me "Make white bread and just throw some flax on your cereal instead." As a side note, the woman is healthy and as fit as can be and is only on one medication for blood pressure. Pretty good for 71.

Then I was talking with my sister Lyse about how I am so tired of all of the food rules we are supposed to follow these days. I just want to cook what I want, including some of my late Grandmothers old recipes. (Apple fritters to be specific) I told her I would feel guilty giving that to Athena. She, in her wisdom, (she reads like mad and knows quite a bit of stuff) said to me " First they tell you coffee is no good, and now it is. Same with eggs. EAT WHAT YOU WANT." Yes, good advice. Another side note: some of the recipes in my Grandma's box contain ridiculous amounts of fat. Not butter but margarine which I would never use.

Then I was talking with my oldest daughter Jen. She is in the opposite boat at the moment. She wants to get back to eating healthier foods, both for her sake and her family's. I couldn't believe this because she seems to always eat healthy food. Except for ice cream. Oh and you have never in your life seen anyone polish off a large bag of potato chips like her husband can!

She, in her wisdom, said she is going to go back to eating REAL food. Full fat food. Just make healthy meals and eat until she is satisfied and not more. Good advice.

(Jen, I know you wouldn't make a meal like this and that you would prefer to be a full time vegetarian. I just added the picture because this is what I am talking about. ;) )

So I have decided to take all of the advice that these women have given. I will make white bread. I will eat what I want. I will eat whole food. Real food. After all, the planning, preparing and eating of food is an important part of family life. Of any life. And we only get one go round so we might as well enjoy it. White bread and all!

PS(One cookbook that I have been enjoying and planning to use some recipes from is The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond. That's the kind of food I am talking about!)
PSS Paul cares not about any of the above things. All he cares about that it he has good food, served hot, and lots of it!


Lyse, Ebony, and Olivia said...

Since I have the market I have been feeling better about what we are eating -- especially fresh fruit and vegetables.
But tonight we are having bolognese with WHITE rigatoni and garlic bread.


PS I can't wait for the cold weather for brisket, stews and a roast like you pictured -- with gravy.

Sarah said...

GREAT post, Michelle!

Andy (just like Paul) cares only for one thing: that his food is yummy-- and hearty-- and hot. :) So I, just like you, am cooking and serving REAL food, GOOD food, that we can enjoy and that will remind all of us at home, whenever a waft of someone's good home cookin' comes our way. :)

And then we exercise and drink lots of water and... I'm not losing any sleep at night. :) (Like I used to if I happened to serve eggs too many times in one week, or if I used vegetable oil instead of olive oil, or if I served red meat more often than I thought prudent.... you get the idea).

I just ordered The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Can't wait till it drops in my mailbox!!!

(psst... email me anytime) :)

Tara said...

The "food rules" can really get you down and I think you're on the right track when you mention eating more real food, prepared at home using real ingredients.

We stick to strictly organic where milk and some fruit is concerned but that is all the budget allows.
We raise our own chickens for fresh eggs and this year we will be buying 100 lbs. of grass fed beef from a friend. Still I do buy and use food from cans and jars and we enjoy the odd bag of chips/cookies.

I think people can put themselves under too much stress trying to fall into line with someone else's expectations. Do what you can and let the rest go and don't forget to enjoy what you eat!!!

Good post Michelle :0)

Dawn said...

Well said! I don't worry much about calories or fat, particularly if it's so good that it's worth it. ;) I liked the advice that I got from a fitness instructor once about sweets. She said, "if you're going to eat sweets, just be sure you bake them yourself". I think that's a good way to ensure moderation and to stick to real food.

Mon said...

hi there.

yes, i think we're way too obsessed these days. i started to get that way some years back. but in all our focus on healthy, i believe that the over thinking of it is unhealthy!

the 'food rules' are really there because so many people eat terribly unhealthy, fake foods.

but for the average mindful person, wecan eat ice cream, chocolate, white bread, because we also eat fresh fruit and veg.

we need to stop making food an enemy to conquer i think.