You know that old saying, the only two certainties in life are death and taxes? With the growing popularity of food blogging and tweeting, I think we can add one item further – come spring, food bloggers will start rhapsodizing rhapsodically about ramps, rhubarb and asparugus. It’s another sign of spring, like robins and extreme weather events. I have mixed reaction to all this early-spring food bloggage – on the one hand, I love ramps! and asparagus! and rhubarb! but on the other I find it oddly humorous as bloggers who I normally enjoy tremendously look for new ways to prepare the same spring food. Year after year. Until finally morel mushroom time comes along to distract them.
This strikes me, I think, because I am amazed at the level of sustained passion these bloggers and writers are able to commit to the subject of local and seasonal food, year after year after year. Certainly I care, more than ever, about the food my family eats. I buy organic, hormone-free meat and milk and *mostly* organic produce and our bread and pasta is home-made – not by me but by the local groceria. As a general rule S. and I don’t keep soda or chips or desserts in the house, more because we don’t want Evangeline to grow up thinking treats are anything but just that – treats- but also because it’s just good common sense.
Generally, I think this is doing pretty well on the whole food front but then I read food bloggers who are doing things like making their own cheese (seriously? making your own cheese????) and food writers for magazines and newspapers who talk about bechamel sauce like it’s no big thing and I yearn for the days before I knew better and could enjoy a Subway sandwich, baked chips and diet coke ( a lunch I had just last week) without knowing that the bread alone probably has five chemicals I can’t pronounce and diet coke should be banned entirely because it probably causes cancer.
I know I am supposed to abhor ingredients I can’t pronounce and worship at the alter urban chicken farming – spurn strawberries until June and order whole hogs from nearby butchers but I am kicking and screaming while doing so. I was raised in the nineteen eighties and nineties during the height of the instant, low-fat food popularity and no matter how hard I try, those years formed many of my preferences. I prefer instant, already-flavored oatmeal to those steel-cut oats everyone eats now – those make me want to gag. I hate plain yogurt and these days, I always get a chuckle out of how the fridges at work are full of non-fat Greek yogurt brought in by health-conscious brown baggers when a decade ago they were full of different Yoplait flavors. I have managed to replace my beloved fat-free Yoplait Boston Cream Pie yogurt with this Greek nonsense but I confess, once a month, I buy two containers of the Yoplait stuff and am so happy. I think nuts make the worst snack IN THE WORLD and should basically be used on salads or in desserts and never anywhere else, ever and I hate drinking water and would rather drink diet coke which, I’m sorry, is delicious.
Even weight watchers, the plan I follow to work on my weight, has moved toward a more healthful, organic approach and it is so annoying. Long gone are the days of a lean cuisine pizza and some baked chips considered a healthy lunch – the emphasis is now on fresh fruit and vegetables (which, to be fair to me, I have always loved and eaten plenty of) and plain fat-free yogurt and lots of water.
Ultimately, I know the recent food movement is better for me, better for the environment and, the most motivating factor, better for Evangeline. While at this point she has had some exposure to items like graham crackers and vanilla wafers, those have been solely at daycare. At home she eats a wide and wonderful variety of foods, including grapefruit, polenta, couscous, tofu, black bean soup, broccoli and snap peas (and yes, I know this will end suddenly and she’ll only want to eat orange foods for a year). I realized…if I am willing to give this mug the very best nutrition possible, since I am blessed enough to be able, financially, to do so, I should probably do the same for myself.
I had a similar realization, spending so much time taking care of her skin, making sure I always dry her properly and lotion her up really well – if I’m willing to do that for her, I should make sure to take similar care of my own skin.
So, I’m working on this. A couple of months ago I started by tackling our “white, processed” consumption, more because I think S. and I let it get a little out of control over the winter but also because I know ultimately the processed white stuff offers us nothing in terms of nutrition. I am also trying to get completely rid of diet soda – I’ve never been a huge consumer of it but I do like a diet coke once in a while. In May I am going to have to turn my attention toward added sugar and eventually I am probably going to have to give S. a hand in the kitchen during dinnertime but, baby steps people, baby steps. For now I’ll leave you with a picture of some snacks I currently have on my desk – a diet coke ( the last of a case – I hope to never purchase it again), an instant oatmeal, white tea, one piece of milk chocolate and one piece of dark chocolate. Baby steps…baby steps.