Back in the day (one of our favorite expressions), my friends and I all carried the same foods in our brown bags. We had pb&j or bologna, an apple and maybe some chips. We didn’t spend time contemplating this offering, we just ate it!
But school is fast approaching and this issue has raised its ugly little head again. Has it already been a year since I last addressed this question? Have we not learned anything in twelve months?
I guess not, so here we go… This time I actually had an answer for the dreaded question; go on-line, see what the experts suggest, read your magazines and look through your cookbooks. Or better yet, visit Kids’ State Dinner to check out what the 52 award winners have created. Sandwiches/wraps, tacos, salads, soups, rice and vegetable concoctions, pasta…the possibilities are limited only to one’s imagination (and schedule). Bon Appetite!
Having spent all summer looking at college campus’ with my daughter, I have begun to evaluate all aspects of college life. For this instance I will focus on the big question, is “college nutrition” an oxymoron?
Thinking back to my college days (yes, I can remember that far back) dorm food was just that – dorm food. It was full of carbohydrates, processed everything, and designed to feed the masses. There were not a lot of options available so you either ate Ramen Noodles in your room from a hot pot, consumed cafeteria delights, or hoped someone on the floor had a mother who recently sent a “care package” that you could pilfer. Now days, things are a bit different. Colleges have many more options available to students. From regular dining halls with dietary demands being met, salad bars available with meal plans, to coffee houses on campus, or restaurant style grilles to accommodate late night eating and their own imitations of food courts. My how times have changed!
So, can I assume my child will eat healthy when she goes to college? Will she choose that salad bar over the burger and fries on a daily basis? Will she drink a smoothie instead of a milk shake when given the choice? I just hope higher education institutions continue to evolve when it comes to supplying healthy food options to these young minds. Then the onus is on us parents to make eating healthy instinctual. It’s important for the mind and the body; now more than ever. Forget the Ramen Noodles and bring on the salad bars! Let’s hope they make those good choices.
When asked the difference between his mother’s cooking and that of his grandmother, my nephew stated that his grandmother’s food was made with love. We all thought that his observation was hysterical, and that it contained a kernel of truth. My sister readily agreed. Her goal was to “slap” food on the plate as quickly as possible and with little fanfare.
As much as I love cooking, there are times I simply do not want to be in the kitchen. I can go all out for dinner parties, spending days planning, prepping and cooking. But when it comes to the simple family meal, I don’t always have the same level of commitment or inspiration.
When I am feeling unmotivated, a new cookbook or the latest Bon Appétit helps get me excited to be back in the kitchen. Other than that, my family just has to settle for the same 10-12 seasonal standbys. That reminds me, I think I will go to the bookstore today.
What gets you inspired to be in the kitchen?
I’m back reminiscing of those summer days when as a young girl I’d be sitting around the house bored and my mother would say those dreaded words, “I have a job for you today.”
Growing up in Illinois, surrounded by cornfields and large backyard gardens, summer crops were generally bountiful and full of “opportunities”. Several of my friends would de-tassle corn or walk beans for summer employment. Hot, tough work for kids. But the one job my mom saved for her three daughters was the joy (are you sensing my sarcasm?) of picking cherries from the backyard cherry tree and then pitting the little buggers until our fingers were discolored and we never wanted to see or eat another cherry again. I remember what seemed like millions of cherries on that little tree and being the youngest sister, I usually got stuck picking the cherries from the lower branches while my sisters got to stand on a ladder and pick from above. Somehow that sounded like more fun! But pitting cherries was the job we would all try to avoid. A tedious job, pitting was just the pits and any excuse to get out of it was welcomed. Bathroom Break? Hungry? Phone call? Uh, don’t know how to do this? ANYTHING to get out of pitting cherries!
Now, those days are long gone, and yes, I think fondly of that cherry tree and the times we sat at that kitchen table, pits and all, whining, complaining and maybe a little laughter too. Or could it be I really miss is my mom’s homemade cherry pie! Best cherry pie ever!