Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daily Bread

Confession time: I hate it when something's been on my radar for a long time, but by the time I get around to posting about it, everyone else already has. (Is this because I'd like to think of myself above the pack mentality? Because surely I'm not.) Even through I'm a joiner...the type of person who easily gets excited about causes, foundations, programs, and new flavors of Ben and Jerry's, I almost didn't post today--or ever--about Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.

But it deserves all the attention it's getting, so I'll just swallow my unfounded pride and say baa baa and join the herd. As we've been watching his series on ABC as a family, I've been systematically clearing out all the processed food from the cupboards. But as I do so, I've been noticing something: most of it's already gone.

I've sung the praises of Once a Month Mom on this blog before, and I now have yet another reason to love that site: as I've been cooking large numbers of homemade meals for my family, I've also been baking more breads and muffins, burritos and egg sandwiches, my own pancakes and waffles, and even my own nutrigrain bars and freezing them individually, eliminating much of our 'need' of processed after-school snacks. (If you want a few recipes, I wrote about it last month.) I guess once you get into the habit of reaching into the pantry for ingredients to make things from scratch, you naturally stop reaching for those boxes of frozen foods in the grocery store.

But lest you think this is a preachy post, let me assure you it's taken me entirely too long to realize this very simple truth: I need to feed my family well.

Not just adequately.

Not just regularly.

Not even just in a way that monitors sweets and cuts back on fast food.

There's more to it than that. There's a certain grace to the preparing and the consuming, the offering and the taking, hands passing bowls of steaming goodness across a table. I (or my husband, or my live-in chef...my point being, whomever) need to not just make dinner, but make dinner a priority. An event. An act of offering. I need to assign it value by giving it significant space on my calendar, in my checkbook, and my day.

Every day.

It needs to be a tangible, aromatic, ritualistic thing I do.

And this 'thing' doesn't have to be a burden. It can fold seamlessly into the daily grind, the coming and the going, the waxing and waning of the sun, the kids, the car pool. If you don't believe me, read this blog, after which I dare you to question the central place food can have when weaved seamlessly into a family and home.

And so I'm learning. I'm learning to look at the ingredients in the frozen foods I used to buy and do the appropriate double-take. I'm learning to think of myself as competent in the kitchen instead of hopeless. I'm learning that the smell of a meal baking in the oven is to be cherished. It's a cliche, sure, but it's a cliche for a reason: homemade food is nurishment. It's my kids walking in the door from practice to breathe deeply with a satisfied, "Mmm!"

It's comfort. It's love.

And I'm dedicated to serving generous portions of all of this to my family at least five days a week, three meals a day.

Now, as Jamie would say:

Who's with me?!
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