April 9, 2010

    Food Revolution Friday

    I don't think there are many in the United States who have not heard of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution program on ABC at this point.  The issue at hand?  How we as a society are killing our children with what we are feeding them.  It's a cause that hits me particularly close to home as a mother of a toddler, and as a foodie.

    I'll be the first to admit, we ate a great deal of processed, boxed and frozen foods in my house when I was growing up.  It wasn't that my mother couldn't cook, (on the contrary!) but that she was a single parent working long hours to keep a roof over our heads and didn't have hours to slave over pans in the kitchen.  I was never big on fruit, and to this day I struggle to include enough vegetables in my family's diet.

    While interviewing the head chef at my chosen culinary school about job prospects upon graduation, he mentioned the possibility of a corporate chef at a large food manufacturer. I tried not to let the despair the idea of working for a place like that caused me cross my face. I was once a truck driver, and I've been to these food manufacturers and been appalled.  Many times the smells emanating from outside were not even close to delicious...especially once you look at the nutrition facts on the side of a box. 

    Food should be about whole ingredients whenever possible, love, sharing and great flavor.  My 16 month old daughter already has a wider palate than many adults I know.  I do not always spend hours in the kitchen - on the contrary for with a toddler demanding most of my time meals have to be thought out and made in the minimum time possible.  It's not more expensive to eat well, I promise.  I buy whole ingredients, capitalizing on coupons and sales as well as the bulk section of my local health store grocers and ethnic markets.  I eat in season when possible - sure, sometimes you crave strawberries in February, but I try to keep to the growing season as much as possible - and shop my local farmer's markets to minimize transit time on vegetables and fruits.  (I also hauled produce, and the severe under-ripe nature of how things are picked to survive transit and a wait period in the stores would amaze most people).  I've eliminated most products in my house that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup - and that includes the bread we buy!  My $20 used bread machine takes all the labor out of making a lovely whole wheat bread.

    I challenge you on this Food Revolution Friday to examine what you eat and feed your families.  Really take a look at it.  I challenge you to make one small change in your habits.  Maybe it's eating one vegetarian meal a week.  Maybe it's cooking one meal, no matter how simple, in your home instead of eating out.  Maybe it's replacing one boxed item with something made from scratch (for example, I make bechamel sauces for casseroles rather than using condensed "cream of..." soups).

    Please, go visit Jamie Oliver's website and join in the Revolution.  The link is in my sidebar....go on, it's ok.  You can come back to me when you're done!


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