well, let me revise that.
food is my favorite. the planning of it, the shopping for ingredients, and actual making of food? not so much.
for me, cooking and meal planning have historically been pretty stressful things. and that is something that needs to change. i just don't have room in my life for unnecessary stress. (does anybody?) i need a new approach to food, and that brings me to the topic of food culture, which is something i've been thinking a lot about lately.
american food culture--it's pretty much a mess. now don't get me wrong, i love my country. but, let's be honest, as a nation we eat like crap. diabetes, heart disease, overweight--they're all big problems here in the US, and the more i think about it, it's not so much because of what we eat--though that is a major contributor to our national health crisis (hello, processed foods, i'm looking at you)--but it's also very much about how we eat. and in a word, that's mindlessly.
the american approach to food is this: food should be convenient. it should require very little thought. and it should be prepared and consumed quickly, ideally while thinking about and/or doing something else (working at your desk, picking up carpool, running errands, watching tv).
we are world-class snackers, americans. we've been called a fast food nation, which is actually just code for thoughtless food nation. and you know what? that doesn't sit right with me. and maybe all of that is the reason why food and healthful eating and family mealtime have become so synonymous with stress for me. as an american, i've been conditioned to think of food as something i'm too busy for, something i don't really want to be bothered much by, something that should be squeezed in around all the other more important things i have to do--when really, it should be more of a priority than that.
and so i'm making it a priority. i'm changing the way i look at food, the way my family looks at food. i'm giving real thought to our family's food culture, and how i would like that to look.
now, before i get ahead of myself, let's be clear about one thing: my time and energy and brainpower are all very limited resources, which means there will have to be sacrifices. prioritizing our family's food culture and teaching myself and my children to have a healthier relationship with food (and with each other?) may mean things like later bedtimes (nooooo!) so we can eat together as a family more often and/or letting go of some of the afternoon activities we're used to so we have time to prepare a real midday meal (and actually enjoy it) instead of rushing on to the next thing.
sigh. it won't be easy. change never is. but i just keep coming back to this:
how much time and energy and thoughtful consideration does cultivating a healthy, rich, joyful family food culture (particularly where a larger societal food culture is found lacking) deserve?
answer: more than I have been giving it.
okay, more soon. in the meantime, here are a few links to some resources that i've found helpful/inspiring of late:
- Word of Wisdom Living blog
- French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon
- City Market (my friend just convinced me to make the drive downtown one day soon, and take the kids)
what do you think? i'd love to hear what you have to say on the subject of food culture, the slow food movement, healthy eating habits, or anything else related to food. and if you have any recommendations for additional reading i'd love to hear those too!
[food-related instagram photos by me: @cee_dee_oh]