food & drink

Learning to Cook

March 15, 2010

I have often described myself as domestically disabled. I have a mug with a 1950s prom queen on it that says so. In the not so distant past, the only two things that I could “cook” were grilled cheese and eggs. I don’t eat meat, so Mastering the Art of French Cooking is out, and I have a tendency to skim directions. Remember that trick test that said in the directions to turn the paper over and put down your pencil without answering any questions? I was the kid who did the entire test. This should give you a good idea about my ability to follow a recipe.

When I lived in New York City, the Indian and Thai restaurants down the street did my cooking for me. Now that I live in Ohio, if I want food that is reasonably tasty and healthful, I need to make it myself. I am baby-stepping. I have the coffee situation worked out. Brian and I have a burr grinder, and there is an awesome coffee shop in town owned by Mitch, who roasts his own beans. Seriously, I will take the Pepsi challenge with NYC coffee shops. Mitch’s coffee is amazing. (And it’s local, which is another thing I’m working on, being a locavore.) Breakfast and lunch is usually eggs, toast, Kashi GOLEAN and Greek yogurt, which is not actually cooking, I know. It’s food preparation. But it’s a start. 

As a mom, I have the unique opportunity to shape the taste preferences of my child. In a world where her generation is the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than the previous generation, I can help her prevent obesity and diabetes and heart disease by providing a nutrient dense diet of vegetables and whole foods rather than what I call the “orange food kid diet”, which is composed of hot dogs, chicken nuggets, french fries, pizza, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and any and all cheesy puffs or cheese crackers. This is not to chastise parents who choose to feed their children these foods. The advertising industry makes it nearly impossible to avoid them. However, my hope is that if I can keep her away from them for as long as possible, maybe she will simply prefer fruits and vegetables. Perhaps this could work with sweets as well. With a hereditary history of sweet tooths (on both sides), curbing a natural inclination for sweets may just be the gift of a lifetime. Really, all I want is a happy and healthy girl. I hope I can help her be just that.

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  • Reply Jenn D. March 16, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Have you read Food Rules by Michael Pollan yet? Or any of the Skinny Bitches books? Both offer sensible guidelines for women like us–we want healthy food but the least amount of prep time. And, you should know, establishing healthy food habits for Scarlett now definitely last a life time–I know because that is what my mom did for me and I very rarely struggle with sweets.

  • Reply A Stay at Home working Mom's Tale March 18, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    I will tell you from experience, My kids think something sweet is a granola bar and on occasion fruit snacks. I have tried so hard not to feed them "kid food" it is a constant battle I honestly think there is something born in them that tells them about chicken nuggets. I do try to make my own but they wont eat them. Luckily they love fruits and Veggies and think bread only comes in "brown". Just do the best you can don't make yourself crazy!

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