the good stuff


(*originally posted on 4/15)

I am a foodie.  I love to eat, really eat.  Real food.

I believe in variety; good bread, fresh veggies, fruit (preferably served in a glass with an alcohol content), chocolate.

So, it doesn’t surprise me in the least when my kids ask to make cookies (homemade), or when they run to the olive bar at the grocery store or when they make smoothies on their own with crazy ingredients and they ended up tasting divine.  It doesn’t phase me when they wipe out a container of hummus in twenty minutes or pull the sun-dried tomatoes out of the fridge to eat with their feta cheese.  I stand right there with them and dive in.  It seems normal that they should request salmon and broccoli for dinner.  It embarrasses but doesn’t shock me when they correct an adult’s pronunciation of tapenade. They are into it.  They love good food.

Lately, I have put the “good” food thing aside.  It exhausts me to cook.  It pains me to clean up until ten o’clock at night.  I have avoided big trips to the grocery and haven’t opened a cookbook or perused a cooking magazine for months.  I don’t know why; it isn’t all about Trevor not being here to eat it.  I think I just needed a break and his absence allowed me a tangible excuse to walk away from the good stuff.  We’ve survived on shortcuts, meals out, our neighbors’ fabulous cooking and Papa John’s.  And, because someone is going to correct me here, yes, I have cooked a few yummy meals here and there – but I always end up pissed off at what I am left with: a floor to mop and dishes to wash.

But, Fia, and her insatiable appetite, have done a bit of a number on me over the past week.  To begin with, she sobbed at the sorry state of the pantry.  She opened it up for a snack and just stood there, staring.  I was at the fridge, standing there, staring.  Both of us had gravitated into the room where we find so much pleasure and peace and there was nothing.  NOTHING.

“Aren’t you ever going to get food? Real food?  I’m hungry,” she cried.  She fell to the ground, wrapped her arms around her knees and stared at me.

She pulled a bit of the same this afternoon.  She wanted to cook something homemade.  “And, I want to cook with you alone,” she added authoritatively, arms crossed, blue- eyes challenging me.

Abbey was dancing (or running, or ripsticking, or at Brownies, or reading, or playing – I really can’t keep up with her).  Evie was taking a late nap and there was a lot of butter in the freezer and two dozen fresh eggs in the fridge. The house was in decent shape and her homework was done.  There were no excuses to be found; we cooked.

We pulled out a Williams-Sonoma cookie cookbook and found a recipe for brownies.  Fia was delighted.  We melted chocolate and created some version of ecstasy that I had nearly forgotten existed.  We doubled the recipe and left enough in the bowl for both of us to dip into while leaving remnants all over our faces.  Neither Fia nor I can eat chocolate without wearing it so we spent five minutes giggling at one another while continuing to lick the bowl ravenously.

We washed dishes together and planned our dinner.  We prepared baked eggplant with an organic tomato sauce served over rice pilaf with a french baguette.  Abigail arrived home just in time to pour the olive oil and grate the cheese for dipping.  We all sat down and shared in a dinner that also promised dessert.  I was happy and feeling like a very accomplished mama.

I am inspired.  I have felt like shit this week: worn down, tired, cranky.  I am certain that the copious amounts caffeine and sugar combined with a lack of protein and vegetables didn’t help.  I want to rekindle the time-consuming task of food preparation in this house.  I feel better when I fill up on quality.  I want to take the time to find, buy and prepare wholesome, real food.  I don’t want the girls to be nourished up with artificial sweetener, food coloring and empty, nutritionless crap that we now consider “snacks”.  I want them to continue to love the good stuff, to seek out the good stuff and to feel like everything else is a treat.  KoolAid at your friend’s house?  Your lucky day.  Character chews for a snack?  The sitter spoils you.  Oreo crumbles in your bubblegum ice-cream?  That Mr. Chris rocks.  That’s as it should be – adulterated food is out of the ordinary, eating it should be reserved for the out of the ordinary too.  Everyday, real life should be filled with everyday, REAL food.

Maybe it’s the weather or the promise of abundant summertime produce.  Maybe it’s the organic meat that is soon to be delivered to my door.  Maybe it’s my pleading kids.

I don’t know.

But, I bought a magazine to breathe some life back into my cooking regime.

I’m taking back the kitchen, the pantry, the fridge.

Dinner anyone?


6 Responses to “the good stuff”

  1. 1 Jennifer Mihaly

    Oops I forgot thank you for the nod about the meats, they are coming soon!

  2. 2 Jennifer Mihaly

    So glad you had a chance to write twice this week!
    I love that my boys are not the only food “weirdos” I am also a fellow foodie & am just starting to not worry about what the kiddos may be eating when they are not with me…letting them enjoy the contraband! I am always available for dinner (& wine, lots and lots of wine)

  3. 3 Michelle

    Those brownies were amazing…..put Duncan Hines to shame.

  4. 4 Erika

    I love it! Take that food magazine by the horns! 🙂 Speaking of your good food – was that cream cheese you put in the eggs this morning? Divine… 🙂

  5. 5 Lauri

    As a beneficiary of your good – real – cooking, I am glad it is back. I am a believer in good – real – vegetably balanced dinners, but you can count on me for some fake soy-infused snack for your girls as a treat. One step at a time.

  6. 6 Jennifer

    How could an adult not know how to pronounce tapenade??? 😉

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